P&G Sets Lofty Long-Term Environmental Goals

P&G productsProcter & Gamble (P&G) has lofty long-term environmental goals, as its recently released 15th annual Sustainability Report reveals. They include using 100 percent sustainably sourced renewable or recycled materials in all products and packaging, powering its plants with 100 percent renewable energy, and having zero consumer and manufacturing waste end up in landfills. Since P&G is the largest consumer packaged goods company on the planet, just setting those kind of goals is a big deal and could influence other companies.

In order to measure progress toward its long-term goals, P&G set the following concrete short-term goals:

  • Powering its plants from 30 percent renewable sources by 2020
  • Using only third party certified virgin wood fiber in its tissue/towel and absorbent hygiene products by 2015
  • Sourcing palm oil only from responsible and sustainable sources by 2015
  • Using only third party certified virgin content for its paper packaging by 2020
  • Make manufacturing waste to landfill less than 0.5 percent of input materials

P&G promotes cold water clothes washing

P&G believes so strongly in cold water clothes washing that it has been actively promoting it. Cold water clothes washing reduces energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. P&G has reached over 50 million consumers with information on the importance of cold water washing through channels such as television ads and Facebook. The company’s goal is that by 2020, 70 percent of all machine wash loads globally will use cold water. Since fiscal year 2010/2011, global washing machine loads washed in cold water increased from 38 to 50 percent, according to the company’s data. P&G attributes this increase to an increase of cold water washing in Western Europe.

Reducing packaging, carbon emissions and energy and water use

P&G has goals to reduce packaging, energy, carbon emissions and water reduction, including reducing packaging per consumer use by 20 percent by 2020. The company is on track to meet its goal and has achieved about a 4.5 percent per consumer use reduction since 2010. Reducing energy and total carbon emissions per unit of production by 20 percent by 2020 is another goal. P&G has achieved an eight percent energy reduction and 11 percent carbon reduction since 2010 and is on track to meet its goal.

The report mentions two sites where P&G has achieved major reductions in the four areas. P&G’s Nenagh, Ireland plant is one of the two, and has reduced energy use by 12 percent, carbon emissions by 16 percent, waste disposal by 97 percent and water consumption by 27 percent at the site since 2010. The other site is P&G Gillette’s World Shaving Headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts which is one of the world’s largest blades and razor manufacturing facilities. The site has completed over 60 conservation projects since 2010, including reducing over 27 million liters of water use a year, which is enough electricity to power over 1,700 average U.S. homes for a year.

Transportation is a key area of environmental responsibility

Transportation is another key area of environmental responsibility. P&G aims to reduce truck transportation kilometers by 20 percent per unit of production by 2020. Since 2010, the company has reduced truck transportation kilometers by approximately 12 percent. Another transportation goal is to convert up to 20 percent of its North American truck loads to natural gas vehicles. The first stage of a seven percent conversion is under way for the company’s for-hire transportation network. This first stage will represent over five million diesel gallon equivalents being converted to natural gas a year.

Photo: equanimal

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

2 responses

  1. The P&G sustainability report, though is an interesting reading with some impressive goals, but fails to generate the confidence in the reader. For most of the part, it seems pretty generic and fails to provide information on specific issues and how it has responded to them in specific countries. Overall, an interesting reading, but very generic!

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