Employees and customers increasingly expect companies to take the lead in solving today’s most pressing environmental and social problems. David Taylor, CEO of Procter & Gamble, is one U.S. corporate leader who is far ahead of the curve.
During his 30-plus years at P&G, colleagues have described Taylor as a man with a reputation for always doing the right thing. His leadership style has made him known as a chief executive with whom people want to work, and he has cemented his legacy with an excellent track record of bringing together the right mix of people, ideas and solutions that, in the end, can make the difficult actually possible.
Let’s start with Taylor’s role in developing circular-economy solutions, a task not easy for someone leading a company that uses many forms of plastic to store and preserve almost all of its products. He stepped up to this challenge with his current chairmanship of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a group that includes almost 30 major global and regional companies that work together to develop and scale up answers that can help curb the use of single-use plastics.
Taylor agreed to chair this group as he realized companies across the entire plastic value chain must come together in order to coordinate efforts and investments in plastic recycling. Now, the group strives to integrate modern recycling technologies with the necessary strategic investments in collection and sorting practices, which often vary from region to region. His priority on leading reflects his belief that it will require more than one person, one company, or one idea to solve the massive challenge of plastic accumulating on our land and in our oceans.
Advances in technology can not only make the circular economy possible, but from Taylor’s perspective, it can also help people reach their potential. “I believe we will use technology more and more to execute repetitive tasks, which will unleash the creative capabilities of people,” he told CR Magazine.
Another challenge Taylor has not been shy about addressing is diversity and inclusion. He was one of the early signatories of the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion pledge, which now includes 600 CEOs committed to ensuring diverse teams and inclusive workspaces.
From Taylor’s perspective, diversity and inclusion is not simply a checkbox that must be marked off to satisfy compliance—it can create a competitive advantage. “I am most proud of the many high-achieving, diverse teams I have had the privilege to lead over my 39 years with P&G,” Taylor told us.
Under his leadership, P&G is fostering workplace conversations that can lead to greater empathy and a more trusting environment in which all employees feel not just welcomed, but also empowered to discuss some of the most emotionally charged topics that center around diversity and inclusion.
Previously published in CR Magazine - you can read more about the other 2019 Responsible CEO Award winners here.
Image credit: P&G
Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.