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Green Products Put Clorox in the Black

Clorox's first quarter profit and sales exceeded expectations, a boost attributed partially to its Green Works and Burt's Bees lines.

Clorox's Green Works cleaners, Burt's Bees products and Brita water filters were some of the major drivers pushing the company's first quarter profit and sales above expectations.

In the company's first quarter, ending Sept. 30, net income rose 15 percent to $128 million and revenue climbed 12 percent to $1.38 billion.

Clorox saw growth in its Green Works, Burt's Bees and Brita lines, as well as in Glad ForceFlex trash bags, Fresh Step scoopable cat litter and Kingsford charcoal. The company also saw lower shipments of Pine-Sol and Clorox liquid bleach, toilet bowl cleaner and disinfecting cleaner. Last November, Clorox purchased Burt's Bees, and the company has been pushing filtered water as an alternative to bottled water (though the company hasn't addressed recycling those filtering cartridges in North America).

The company's Green Works line, launched in January, now includes a dishwashing liquid, all-purpose cleaner, glass and surface cleaner, glass cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, dilutable cleaner and bathroom cleaner. Clorox plans to unveil Green Works cleaning wipes next year.

When it launched, the Green Works brand gained a big boost with an endorsement from the Sierra Club - the group's logo appears on Green Works products - and all but the bathroom cleaner have been recognized by the EPA's Design for the Environment program.

Within its first eight months of existence, the Green Works brand was on track to generate over $40 million in sales, the San Francisco Chronicle reported last month. Although Green Works took the lead in most areas of green cleaning, other green cleaning companies like Seventh Generation and Method did not see drops in sales - they actually increased their shares of the cleaning market - meaning that Green Works was primarily being bought by people new to green cleaners.

The Green Works line has, though, hit a few snags, as various Sierra Club chapters opposed the group's involvement in the products, and Clorox had to modify some marketing claims after competitor S.C. Johnson & Son filed a complaint with the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

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