P&G makes bold energy and clean water pledges

Consumer goods firm Procter & Gamble (P&G) has announced two ambitious new sustainability targets for 2020; cutting emissions by 30% and providing 15 billion litres of clean drinking water by 2020.

The American multinational said the new pledges, announced on Thursday, were driven by the threat of climate change which required action from companies, individuals and governments.

P&G said it chose its 30% target after consultation with WWF and based on the science presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“A 30% reduction will ensure that P&G is supporting global efforts to prevent global temperatures from exceeding 2C,” said a statement from the company.

P&G – the company behind Charmin, Crest, Dawn, Febreze and Gillette among others – said it will achieve the goal by increasing its use of renewable energy and focusing on energy conservation.

“We set this goal with the firm belief that it will be good for the environment and good for our business,” said P&G group president Martin Riant. “Energy conservation and increasing renewable energy will not only drive emission reductions, but will decrease costs and help create innovative solutions that will help our brands win with consumers.”

Corporate leader

As part of the pledge, P&G  is also joining the Climate Savers Program, an initiative sponsored by WWF to enable leadership companies to collaborate and accelerate their efforts to address climate change.

“We recognize P&G for its leadership in setting a reduction target that is grounded in climate science,” said Suzanne Apple, senior vice president of private sector engagement at WWF. This is a significant commitment that will lead to measurable reductions in P&G’s greenhouse gas emissions while inspiring other companies to step up and take action. “

Clean water pledge

Also on on Thursday, P&G announced a separate initiative to provide 15 billion litres of clean drinking by 2020, in order to reduce illness caused by contaminated water in developing countries.

The goal was set under the company’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water Programme (CSDW), which claims to have delivered more than nine billion litres of clean drinking water in the last decade.

“Having clean drinking water is something many of us take for granted, but is a daily challenge for many families around the world,” said P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard.

“P&G is proud to use our cleaning technology to help make a difference in people’s lives, and we are looking forward to expanding the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program to have an even greater impact.”

P&G used the research behind laundry detergent to invent Purifier of Water packets more than 15 years ago. The tea-bag-sized technology is simple to use: people can purify 10 litres of dirty water in 30 minutes, enough drinking water for a family of five for one day.

More than 840,000 people die each year from water-related disease, according to Water.org. The universal provision of safe drinking water is one of 17 Sustainable Development Goals to be adopted later this month at the UN General Assembly.

The P&G pledges are the latest examples of corporate leadership on climate change ahead of the Paris talks in December. Already this month, US food giant General Mills has pleded to cut emissions by 28% in the next ten years, while Swiss bank UBS pledged to use 100% renewable energy by 2020.

Brad Allen

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