Employee engagement helps P&G hit energy reduction goal four years early

Consumer goods firm Procter & Gamble (P&G) has revealed that a new energy engagement initiative at manufacturing sites has improved energy efficiency by 5% in the last 12 months, which has seen the company hit a 2020 goal for energy reduction four years early.

Outlined in the company’s first-ever Citizenship Report, P&G highlighted how its Power of 5 Energy campaign had acted as a catalyst for hitting a energy reduction goal of 20% against a 2010 baseline. The campaign, which sets the conservation team a target of saving $100m in energy costs over year years, has seen employees utilise workshops and “value stream mapping” to analyse and create frameworks for the reductions.

“We are, and want to be known as, a company that is governed responsibly and behaves ethically, that is open and transparent in its business dealings, that supports good causes and protects the environment, and that provides an appealing place to work where our employees are treated well and are given the opportunity to be all they can be,” P&G’s president David Taylor said.

The 2020 energy target is not the only goal that P&G has met early. The report highlights that a 20% reduction in truck transportation kilometres has been surpassed by an extra 5%. Goals to map supply chain engagement and traceability, third-part certification of all virgin wood fibre and a 20% reduction in water use have all been reached or exceeded.

In 2015, P&G adopted a new science-based goal for emissions, with the target now sitting at a 30% reduction compared to 2010. So far, P&G has achieved a 10% reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions and will hope that joining the RE100, which calls on the company to commit to using 100% renewable energy, will accelerate this reduction. Subsequently a goal to ensure that plants are powered by 30% renewable energy by 2020 currently sits a 9.6%.

While the company has achieved a 24% reduction in water use across manufacturing sites, it is less than half-way to a goal of providing one billion people with access to “water-efficient” products. As of 2016, these products have reached 450 million people, although P&G has delivered its 10 billionth litre of clean drinking water to communities recovering from natural disasters across the globe.

Packaging and waste

With a zero-deforestation commitment targeted for 2020, all Charmin products are now FSC and Rain Forest Alliance certified. The company has also made steps to improve the recyclability of its packaging.

In 2016, 100% of P&G’s paper packaging contained either recycled or third-party certified materials, while 86% of all product packaging – including plastic which has seen 30% extra recycled resin introduced – is either recyclable or placed into programmes to create the ability to recycle it.

An example of this is P&G’s Oral-B waste stream, which is finding a second life in construction bricks, while Head and Shoulders packaging is converted to compost in China; the Always brand packaging can also be found in low-cost soles for Indian shoes.

The diversion of waste into new innovations has saved the company around $1.6bn over nine years and currently, 55% of P&G’s manufacturing sites have reached zero manufacturing waste to landfill. The company may need to increase efforts to reduce packaging outright, with a 2020 target to reduce packaging per person by 20% currently sitting at 12.5%.

Earlier this year, P&G announced a new innovation which will end phosphate use from all retail and professional Fairy dishwasher tablets by 2017, significantly reducing the environmental footprint of its products in addition to improving cleaning performance.

According to the company, more than 4,500 tonnes of phosphates will be saved in the UK alone, while Fairy users choosing not to pre-rinse dishes could make total water savings of 820m litres.

Speaking exclusively to edie earlier this year, P&G’s global sustainability director Virginie Helias – who has also spoken on edie’s Sustainable Business Covered podcast – claimed that integrating sustainability as a business strategy required “courageous leadership” in a world with limited resources and environmental challenges.

Matt Mace

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