Procter & Gamble Reports Big Moves in 16th Annual Sustainability Report

PG_brands_new_homefabricThe Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G) is serious about environmental stewardship, as its 16th annual sustainability report reveals. The multinational consumer goods company met several environmental goals ahead of schedule: P&G met its waste reduction goal for 2020 six years early and its pulp certification goal a year early.

P&G only disposed of 0.40 percent of input materials as manufacturing waste to landfill across its facilities. That means 99.6 percent of all input materials are either recycled, reused or used for energy conversion. The 2020 goal called for less than 0.50 percent. The goal for pulp certification called for 40 percent of the virgin wood fibers used in tissue and towel products to come from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sources by 2015. P&G now sources 54 percent from FSC certified sources.

Reducing waste to landfill is not enough, and that’s why P&G is busy creating and shipping packaging that is more efficient. The company achieved a total reduction of about seven percent per consumer use since 2010. However, it is not content to stay there as it announced two new packaging goals in October 2014: doubling the use of recycled resin in its plastic packaging by 2020, and ensuring that 90 percent of its packaging is either recyclable or has programs in place to develop the ability to recycle it.

Reducing energy use and carbon emissions while increasing renewable energy

P&G is concerned with reducing its energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. The goal is to reduce total energy use and total carbon dioxide emissions at P&G facilities by 20 percent per unit of production by 2020. P&G is on track to meet its carbon emissions reduction goal as it has achieved a 14 percent reduction. P&G has achieved a seven percent reduction in energy use per unit of production. The company credits the reduction in energy use to the startup of its new cogeneration systems in Mehoopany, Pennsylvania, and Pescara, Italy.

P&G has an ambitious vision to one day power all of its plants with 100 percent renewable energy. The short term goal is to achieve a 30 percent renewable energy rate by 2020. At the end of fiscal year 2013/2014 its renewable energy use was approximately eight percent. That is below it terms its glidepath target of 12 percent or three percent a year. It cites several factors as contributing to its slower than anticipated progress including long lead times for key projects. Another factor is historically low natural gas prices which impacted the economic feasibility of advancing some renewable energy projects.

A more sustainable palm oil supply chain

Palm oil is linked to deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia, the two countries that supply most of the world’s palm oil supply. Although P&G doesn’t use a significant amount of palm oil in its products, it does use palm kernel oil, a palm oil production byproduct.

In April, the company announced steps it would take beyond Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification to ensure it does not contribute to deforestation. The steps include developing a traceable supply chain, no development of  high conservation value (HCV) areas and high carbon stock (HCS) forests, no development of peat lands, no burning to clear land for new development or replanting and complying with P&G’s Sustainability Guidelines for External Business Partners.

Image credit: P&G

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.

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