Bleaching Its Old Image: Clorox Gets a New Logo

The Clorox Company underwent a face lift, unveiling a new corporate logo emphasizing a focus on sustainability. The new logo is a modification of its prior logo.

The name went from being displayed as just Clorox to The Clorox Company, hinting at a diversified product range.  The diamond went from a solid blue line, to a combination of solid blue and striped green, hinting at an eco-friendly image. However, is this make over mere green washing?  Or is it reflective of a truly sustainable company?

Two years ago, The Clorox Company released an eco-friendly cleaning line branded Green Works.  This was met with both embrace and ridicule.  The Sierra Club touted the innovation.  Yet critics prodded as to why the company could not make all their products eco-friendly.

Furthermore, there is still the question of whether or not the companies flagship product, Clorox bleach is eco-friendly itself.  On the one side, chlorine, a main ingredient in bleach, is said to create toxic dioxins when used to make plastics, paper, pesticides, and many industrial chemicals.  On the flip side, household bleach does not contain free chlorine, and degrades to just salt and water once used.  There is said to be no harm to the environment.

Yes, The Clorox Company buzzes with products that appear eco-friendly, such as, Brita filters, Burt’s Bees, and Green Works.  And there are products that put a stinger on sustainability efforts, such as PineSol, Tilex, and Formula 409.  However, systems thinking suggests sustainability goes beyond just the end user product.

We must take the whole system of The Clorox Company into account.  When it comes to reducing the impact of GHG, energy, water, and waste, it appears the company is within reach of its target reductions by 2017.  Also, packaging impacts include 100% recycled content in 90% of its packaging, reducing 45% packaging material from Glad trash bags, and removing PVC from Burt’s Bees products.

Is the company green washing?  No, it appears The Clorox Company is making a genuine effort towards sustainability.  Is it a truly sustainable company?  While the company has made great strides in cleaning up its act, it has the challenge of pollinating its eco-friendly successes across 100% of its product line.

However, we must distinguish between a company that had sustainability in mind from the start, like Seventh Generation, and a century old company that is transitioning towards sustainability, like The Clorox Company.  Change is not going to happen over night, especially for an established company.  But the Clorox Company is flying in the right direction, the sustainable direction.

Jonathan Mariano is an MBA candidate with the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, CA. His interests include the convergence between lean & green and pursuing free-market based sustainable solutions.