This week, Clorox released its 2012 annual report online. Not only are Clorox’s disclosures a refreshing step away from those stale PDF reports, but the company’s latest report is a great step forward for integrated reporting. With its combination of corporate governance, environmental, financial and social performance, the cleaning supplies and consumer packaged goods giant has joined the slow but growing “one report” movement. For stakeholders who seek transparency and easy-to-find data about the company’s challenges and success, Clorox has set the bar high for other companies.
Some of the company’s recent highlights include:
Environmental goals: Clorox has already exceeded its 2013 goals for reducing its overall greenhouse gas emissions and waste. And for a company that consumes vast amounts of water to make its products–which themselves are, of course, mostly water–Clorox has exceeded its goals for decreased water consumption, too. The company is falling short on its goals to decrease its energy usage based on 2007 figures: as it stands that metric is at 6 percent with a 10 percent overall goal set for next year.
Community work: Over the years, Clorox often rates highly on “best places to work” lists, and that consistency shows in the resulting time and money the company’s employees have contributed to local causes over the years. Last year the company collectively donated $20 million to various causes, and employees logged over 78,000 volunteer hours. The causes vary: health, veterans, education and disaster aid. The company’s foundation has awarded more than $87 million to various nonprofits since 1980.
Sustainable products: No matter how much a company achieves on the waste reduction or water stewardship fronts, more and more stakeholders and consumers will judge that same business based on the products that roll out of the company’s factories. According to Clorox, the company is improving in this area with 21 percent of the company’s product portfolio benefiting from sustainability improvements. Much of that is thanks to Clorox’s purchase of Burt’s Bees–but improvements to products including Glad trash bags are also behind the company’s revamp of its product lines.
With its most recent uptick in annual sales, which totaled almost $5.5 billion last fiscal year, Clorox shows that a company can continue to grow and provide solid returns for its investors while improving the overall sustainable performance of its products. Add a strong corporate governance structure and a work culture that encourages inclusion, and Clorox stands out as a corporate citizen that more companies within and outside of its space would be wise to emulate.
Leon Kaye, based in Fresno, California, is a sustainability consultant and the editor of GreenGoPost.com. He also contributes to Guardian Sustainable Business, Inhabitat and Earth911. You can follow Leon and ask him questions on Twitter.
Image courtesy Clorox.