P&G closes in on zero-waste and renewables targets

The Procter & Gamble (P&G) company has nearly doubled its renewable energy consumption in the past year thanks to a new $200m biomass facility, the consumer goods firm's latest citizenship report has revealed.

The combined heat and power (CHP) facility in Georgia, US produces 100% of the steam and a large portion of total energy used to make Bounty and Charmin at P&G’s Albany manufacturing plant. Alongside a windfarm in Texas, the project is set to take P&G two-thirds of the way to its 2020 goal to ensure 30% of energy is from renewable sources.

The firm has also made great strides in its waste management strategy, the latest report shows, increasing by 17% the number of manufacturing sites that deliver zero-waste-to-landfill.

At the start of the year, P&G aimed to effectively eliminate all manufacturing waste from its global network of more than 100 production sites by 2020. A total of 72% sites in 23 countries have now reportedly achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status, including all locations in China and India. 

“Our citizenship efforts are a win-win opportunity for our business, for our communities, and, more broadly, for our society,” said P&G’s president David Taylor.

“Consumers care about the company behind the brands they purchase and use. They want to know that the products they are buying come from a trusted source, and we’re working to build on that trust every single day.”

According to its report, P&G has already met several of its 2020 goals early, such as reducing energy usage at its facilities by 20%. Meanwhile, targets to slash water use by 20% and achieve third-party certification of all virgin wood fibre in tissues and absorbent hygiene products have both been exceeded.

In 2015, P&G adopted a science-based goal for emissions, with the target now sitting at a 30% reduction compared to 2010. So far, P&G has achieved a 15% reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions.

Circular innovations

The firm remains 4% shy of ensuring nine-tenths of product packaging is either recyclable or placed into programmes to create the ability to recycle it. P&G has also fallen just short of its goal to have 100% of paper packaging contain either recycled or third-party-certified virgin content by 2020.

Concerted efforts will be needed to ensure that targets are met to reduce packaging by 20% in the next three years, with the figure currently at 13%. It is a similar story for the goal to double use of recycled resin in plastic packaging – the firm made it 32% of the way in 2016.

In the past year, P&G has unveiled a series of circular economy innovations to help boost its waste performance.

The Ariel, Gillette and Oral-B brand owner has modified one of its best-performing brands, the Head & Shoulders shampoo. These bottles contain up to 25% post-consumer recycled (PCR) beach plastic and changes have seen the packaging change from white to dark grey to accommodate the new materials.

P&G announced last month that one of its Fairy washing up liquid product would be packaged in bottles made completely from PCR plastic and repurposed ocean plastic. Set to go on sale in 2018, the bottles will consist of 10% ocean plastic, with the rest deriving from post-consumer plastics.

George Ogleby

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