Skip to main content

Procter & Gamble Packages Up a New Green Vision

Procter & Gamble today laid out a plan to bring the company over the long term to a near-textbook definition of sustainability.

In its new "sustainability vision," P&G will set a series of 10-year goals that will, over the course of the coming decades, result in a global company that:

• Uses renewable energy for 100 percent of its factories,
• Uses 100 percent renewable or recycled materials for all products and packages, and
• Sends zero consumer or manufacturing waste to landfills.

P&G announced the new goals in a webcast this morning that included the CEO of P&G, Bob McDonald; the company's VP of global sustainability, Len Sauers; and Carter Roberts, the president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund.

"What's important is that we don't treat environmental sustainability as something separate from our base business," McDonald said during the webcast. "When we operate sustainably, we earn gratitude, admiration and trust that lead to opportunity, partnerships and growth ... which, in turn, helps us touch and improve even more lives. That's why we are accelerating our commitment to environmental sustainability."

Although the goals that will move P&G toward proceed on ten-year increments, the company will report on its progress in its yearly sustainability reports.

"It won't be achieved in 10 years or perhaps 30 or 40 years, but we will hold ourselves accountable for continually moving toward it," McDonald said.

The first set of 10-year goals, to be achieved by 2020, include:

• Replacing 25 percent of petroleum-derived raw materials with sustainably sourced, renewable materials;
• Reducing packaging by 20 percent per consumer use;
• Powering company operations with 30 percent renewable energy; and
• Reducing waste from manufacturing to less than 0.5 percent

"We developed this vision over the course of a year, partnering with external experts and soliciting input from literally hundreds of P&G employees at all levels and functions," McDonald said during the webcast. "We know we can't singlehandedly solve all the issues on our own. We will need to continue collaborating with our suppliers, with consumers, with retailers and our industry. No one company can have all the answers, but we need to be part of the solution."

Sauers mentioned some of the work P&G has done that links with the goals, such as installing solar panels at manufacturing sites in California and Italy, nearly eliminating PVC from packaging, and redesigning products like Ariel laundry gel, which has been compacted and works in cold water.

Among the partnerships that P&G will leverage to help reach its goals is the one showcased during today's webcast: Its partnership with the World Wildlife Fund will focus on renewable materials and sourcing, paper and packaging, energy and water, and on-the-ground conservation efforts.

"As the largest consumer products company in the world, P&G has a special responsibility to take a hard look at its unique footprint and take steps to mitigate the associated impact on the health of the planet," WWF CEO Carter Roberts said during the webcast. "But of course what's good for the planet must also be good for the bottom line -- and as WWF's successful history of corporate engagement clearly demonstrates, it is."

More on this topic