Gillette to halve virgin plastic use and emissions by 2030

The new strategy is the second long-term sustainability vision for Gillette

The commitments form part of a broader sustainability strategy through to 2030, published late last week.

On plastics, the company has pledged to use 50% less virgin, fossil-based plastics in packaging and products than it did in 2018. It worked with research firm Lucid to poll 5,500 men across its 11 main markets and found that more than half (58%) view plastic waste as a very important issue.

To meet the new target, it will work to make its designs more resource-efficient and increase its sourcing of plastic-free materials, bio-based plastics and recycled plastics. On the latter, Gillette runs a recycling scheme for razor blades and for the plastic components of its razors and packaging with TerraCycle in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand. It will promote this scheme further to source more recycled content. To date, more than 21,000 recycling locations have been set up.

“This is a program that we felt was very important and necessary to give consumers that option, should they wish, to recycle the product,” Gillette’s chief executive Gary Coombe said.

“That’s a partnership that continues to grow. And we’re going to leverage it further, as we launch new products and products that are even more specifically designed to improve the environmental profile of the razor.”

The strategy also includes new ambitions to achieve zero-waste-to-landfill status at all sites and to reduce water consumption related to production by 35%.

Climate action

Gillette’s overarching new climate target it to halve absolute emissions, again by 2030 and with a 2018 baseline. Gillette has reduced its Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions by more than 26% since 2010, when it published its first long-term sustainability vision, and will apply learnings from this process.

Detailed in the strategy are plans to switch to 100% renewable energy globally, predominantly through tariffs, renewable energy certificates (RECs) and power purchase agreements (PPAs). Gillette will also update the remit of its energy task force teams; there is one team at each major site and they are tasked with identifying areas for improving energy efficiency and driving decarbonisation.

In its landmark report on global warming in 2018, the IPCC warned that net global emissions will need to be halved by 2030 if the world is to have the best chance of capping the temperature increase to 1.5C.

Gillette’s targets have not yet been verified by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as 1.5C-aligned, though. Its parent company, Procter & Gamble (P&G), is working with the SBTi to verify its own ambitions around carbon-neutral operations and low-carbon supply chains.

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Sarah George

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