Skip to main content

Reckitt Benckiser achieves 2020 carbon goal eight years early

Consumer goods maker Reckitt Benckiser says it has achieved a 21% improvement in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions per dose since 2007, beating its 20% target eight years ahead of schedule. Its performance is based on emissions throughout an RB product's lifecycle, from raw material sourcing to disposal, and is equivalent to taking 3 million cars off the road, the company says.

This Carbon20 performance is revealed in RB's 2011 Sustainability Report, published today. The Carbon20 methodology, and selected data, have been independently assured by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The report also details RB's sustainability record:

  • 16% reduction in fresh water usage (per unit of production) versus 2000
  • 5.4 million trees planted since 2006 as part of Trees For Change®, effectively making RB's manufacturing sites carbon neutral
  • 23% reduction in accident rate versus 2010 (92% reduction versus 2001)
  • 775,000 children reached with Save The Children since 2003 (175,000 in 2011)

The report outlines some of the strategies the company used to cut carbon emissions, along with material waste, energy use, and other resources. For example, in 2008, RB redesigned the cap on all French's Mustard containers to be 1 gram lighter, resulting in a savings of 275,000 pounds of plastic packaging annually. This change alone avoided more than 1,650 tons of carbon emissions.

In another example, its Air Wick brand launched an innovation in 2011, using compressed air instead of butane, avoiding 20,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year. Air Wick Flip & Fresh saves more than 10,000 tons of carbon, compared to traditional packaging. The product contains only fragrance oil and provides many doses per consumer unit with no propellant, heavy gadgets or batteries, further minimizing the carbon footprint per dose.

RB says it was able to achieve its Carbon20 goal eight years in advance by evaluating the entire lifecycle of each product through sourcing, manufacturing, distribution, use and disposal. The biggest impacts have been in consumer use (68.5% of the total footprint) and raw materials and packaging (23%). Over 5,750 tons of carbon emissions were avoided in 2011 due to various process improvements across RB's US-based manufacturing facilities.

More on this topic