Colgate-Palmolive smashes reduction targets

Personal hygiene manufacturing giant Colgate-Palmolive has exceeded ambitious targets of cutting water use and greenhouse gases (GHG) - slashing them by nearly 50% and 25% respectively.

In the 2011 ‘Giving the World Reasons to Smile’ online report, figures show that, from a 2002 baseline, per-tonne manufacturing-related GHG emissions fell by 21%, water-use by 44% and wastewater loading by 31% in 2010.

These figures show it beat its goals of cutting GHG and water use by 5% and 25% from 2002 to 2010 as it achieved overall reductions of 7.8% and 34.6%.

Colgate-Palmolive has attributed the decrease in GHG to a reduction in energy use, which was shown to have fallen by 8.6% over the eight-year period. This was achieved it said through energy-efficiency initiatives, such as introducing new tools and technologies in its facilities and employee engagement.

It also engaged its 60-strong supply chain, encouraging them to set energy and water reduction targets and disclose their GHG through the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Supply Chain Project.

The report emphasised the importance of water reduction, explaining “water is an ingredient in many Colgate products, and is required in almost every phase of the product life cycle: from sourcing raw materials to producing products to consumer use of products”.

It also acknowledged the issue of water scarcity, adding that its goal is “to reduce water use wherever possible and increase the efficiency of its manufacturing processes”. Figures show approximately 2.8bn fewer litres of water were used in manufacturing in 2010, against the 2002 baseline.

More wastewater was recycled between 2002 and 2010 with 52% of Colgate’s site recycling or reusing water is someway. Meanwhile, figures also show an 18.8% reduction in wastewater loading – beating a 15% target.

The CDP Water Disclosure 2010 Global Report stated: “Colgate-Palmolive… and many others, have recognised the critical nature of water to their business and are taking steps on the journey towards sustainable water management.”

Consumer and stakeholder engagement also forms part of its water management strategy as it looks to educate on potential water risks and encourage water saving while using its products.

Colgate-Palmolive president and chief executive Ian Cook, said: “We believe that our sustainability strategy will continue to increase consumer loyalty, provide a competitive advantage and help ensure long-term shareholder value.”

It has now launched its 2011 to 2015 sustainability strategy, which sets fresh targets and aims to build on achievements to date.

At a glance, it shows a goal of reducing water consumed in manufacturing by 40% against a 2005 baseline. It also aims to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions in manufacturing and distribution by 20% against the same baseline.

Further analysis on Colgate-Palmolive’s targets coming soon on edie. The 2011 report can be downloaded here.

Carys Matthews

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie