How P&G Fabric & Home Care make its ingredients work for our planet

For decades, P&G Fabric and Home Care products have been safely used by millions of people in homes across the world to deliver a hygienic clean that you can trust to really work. We also recognise the important role that these products play in reducing our carbon footprint, in the making and in use at home. That’s why we are optimising our ingredients for both.

How P&G Fabric & Home Care make its ingredients work for our planet

Life Cycle Assessment from Ariel on the laundry impact, based on European averages

We recognise that today’s pressing global environmental challenges require all of us to do more. We’re committed to decarbonising our products at every step of their journey, from start to finish. With that in mind, we are innovating to create formulas that use safe and sustainable ingredients to deliver a superior clean, even in colder temperatures, while using low carbon ingredients.

The biggest impact on carbon emissions for laundry and home cleaning products comes from using them at home – 60-70% for heating the water in washing machines when doing laundry (based on European and North American averages respectively) and even 90% when doing the dishes! We know this because we carefully explore the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of every product, to identify where emissions come from. This is key – as the choice of ingredients and packaging makes up around 20% of the total carbon footprint of a product. Our science-based approach helps us develop safe and sustainable formulas that achieve a superior clean with lower emissions.

We are working with partners, such as NASA; Twelve, a start-up at the forefront of carbon transformation; and academic institutions, to find new energy-efficient or potentially carbon-negative ingredients that are sustainable and highly effective. Through the use of these ‘smarter ingredients’, we’ll aim to make our formulas even more efficient while significantly decreasing the carbon footprint. Like a nutritionist selects food for a healthy diet, our scientists carefully assess each ingredient in our formulas to ensure our products deliver a superior clean, whilst being safe for people and planet. To ensure that clean is safe, our scientists use the precise amount of ingredients needed – and nothing more.

To select the right ingredients that achieve more using less, we often look to nature for inspiration. One example here are enzymes, which act as natural catalysts. Enzymes clean corals in the ocean, but can also work on laundry, achieving a hygienic clean in cold cycles. Another ocean-based example comes from enzymes used by tiny microorganisms that live on cold water seaweed. Researchers at Ariel developed these powerful natural cleaners into an innovative biodegradable technology, called Purezyme, that’s highly effective at removing sticky soils from fabrics even in cold water.

With our size and reach, our detergents are used in millions of homes and by advising how to use them most responsibly, driving awareness on sustainability impacts such as the choice of temperature, we know we can really make a difference.

P&G’s commitment to innovating with safe and sustainable ingredients to deliver a superior clean is an ongoing one. Our work is never done. The Fabric & Home Care team’s commitment to decarbonising our impact at every step of our products’ journey will play a key role in leading our P&G’s ambition of net-zero carbon emissions from cradle to shelf by 2040.

Jerry Porter, Senior Vice President of Research & Development Global Fabric Care, Flavours and Fragrance and Fabric & Home Care Sector

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