Colgate-Palmolive is Giving the World Reasons to Smile, with the release of their sustainability objectives for 2015. The reported areas of focus are: promoting health, contributing to communities, saving water, and reducing climate and environmental impact.
As a corporation which does business in over 200 countries, is worth $15.6 billion and is the maker of numerous household name products in oral, home, personal and pet care, these benchmarks are likely to set some CSR standards the industry. In fact, on environmental and social impact performance, GoodGuide gives the company a scientific rating of 6.3, a score 33.3 percent higher than the average rating for all companies.
The company also plans to “increase the sustainability profile in Colgate products.” What that means in green-speak is a pledge to decrease water consumption by 40 percent and energy consumption by 20 percent in the manufacturing process. From 2002 to 2010, Colgate managed to lower water usage by 44 percent, greenhouse gas emissions by 21 percent, and wastewater loading by 31 percent.
Colgate President and CEO Ian Cook comments on their history of sustainability efforts, "Long before many businesses began talking about sustainability and social responsibility, Colgate recognized that how we do business is just as important as what we do. At Colgate, sustainability is not just a project or initiative - it's built into and about business decisions every day."
Specific social goals are touted as lowering employee health risks by 15 percent as well as impacting one billion children by 2020 with their oral health education program Bright Smiles, Bright Futures. Since 1991, 650 million kids in 80 countries have already participated in this program. On the employee side, a 95 percent improvement in the total recordable accident rate has been achieved.
Philanthropic promises involve committing $300 million to raising their impact in the community as well as $100 million worth of pet food donations to shelters working in conjunction with 250,000 veterinarians across the globe to educate pet owners.
By 2015, the company will request that all major suppliers use metrics to quantify their climate change impact and report that data. Already they have encouraged 60 suppliers to set energy reduction targets and disclose their greenhouse gas emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project Supply Chain Project.
The report showcases their CSR track record thus far, with the company being lauded in 2011 as a U.S. EPA Energy Star Partner of the Year and listed on the Carbon Disclosure Project Leadership Index in 2010. Colgate is recognized as a top corporate citizen which supports diversity in the work-force, provides quality work-life balance, and is one of the best 100 companies for working mothers. Read on about their sustainability efforts.
Lesley Lammers is a freelance sustainability consultant and journalist, focused on the intersection between the environment, food, social impact, human rights, health and entrepreneurship.