Reason to smile: Colgate-Palmolive announces new climate change commitment

Multinational consumer-goods firm Colgate-Palmolive is pledging to reduce its carbon footprint by a further 25%, having hit a number of energy, water and waste reduction targets in its latest sustainability report.

The toothpaste manufacturer has today (6 May) announced a new commitment; to reduce carbon emissions on an absolute basis by a quarter compared with 2002, with a longer-term goal of a 50% reduction by 2050.

This comes off the back of Colgate-Palmolive’s 2013 sustainability report, which highlights a 16% reduction in energy use and carbon emissions per ton of production, since 2005.

“We believe businesses have a vital role to play in mitigating climate change, and we are committed to continuously improving our greenhouse gas governance and performance around this challenge,” reads the report.

Renewable solutions

“We are continuing to evaluate alternative energy and renewable energy sources such as solar, fuel cells, green power and cogeneration for feasibility and applicability in various locations worldwide.

“We have installed on-site renewable energy in the form of solar panels in Mexico and Italy, and use solar water heating at many sites.”

Setting its 2015 sustainability targets in 2011, Colgate aims to reduce the energy consumption and carbon emissions per unit of production associated with the manufacture and distribution of its products by 20%. 

In 2014, Colgate plans to join the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership to better understand how verified market-based renewable solutions can complement our main climate change strategy of energy efficiency everywhere.”

Colgate-Palmolive 2013 sustainability report: Energy

Other new sustainability commitments pledged by Colgate in its 2013 report include a concerted effort to mobilise resources to help achieve no deforestation in its supply chain by 2020, as detailed in a new ‘Policy on No Deforestation’. And the company has committed to ramping up the sustainability profile of its packaging; by increasing the recycled content to 50% by 2020 and improving packaging recyclability. 


Earlier this year, edie reported that Colgate had developed a system to help identify and share best practice on water reduction throughout all of its global manufacturing sites.

The firm reported a 32% reduction in water use per ton of product manufactured in 2013, versus 2005. Colgate is therefore on-track to hit its 2015 target of reducing the water consumed per unit of production in the manufacture of its products by 40%.

“Water is one of life’s most basic needs, and it is essential for business growth as well,” reads the report. “Water is an ingredient in many Colgate products and is required in almost every phase of the product life cycle: from sourcing raw materials, to producing products, to consumer use of products.

“Clean water is also vital to the communities we serve and is an increasingly scarce resource in some regions of the world.”


Colgate has a 2015 target to reduce waste sent to landfills by 15% per unit of production. So far, the firm has exceeded this target, reducing waste by 17% over the past three years.

“Our sites have been working on this initiative for many years,” adds the sustainability report. “We have developed standardised Landfill Waste Scorecards for all of our sites to help increase the visibility and understanding of our waste reduction opportunities.

“Additionally, we recently developed and piloted a third-party assurance program where independent auditor Bureau Veritas visited several Colgate manufacturing sites and subsequently validated our “zero” landfill waste definition and management process.”

Colgate’s sustainability report concludes with a look to the future. The company will release a separate 2015 to 2020 Sustainability Strategy later this year, which will include details of the recently announced Policy on No Deforestation along with other climate change initiatives and a number of new sustainability commitments.

Take a look through an excerpt of the sustainability report, which includes a specific look at Colgate’s effect on ‘The Planet’, below.

Luke Nicholls

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