Why P&G is turning down the temperature with brands like Ariel and Tide

We cannot ignore the increasing urgency to tackle climate change, particularly following the latest warnings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report, so P&G explains why lifecycle analysis can help unlock some quick wins on the climate front.

Why P&G is turning down the temperature with brands like Ariel and Tide

At P&G Fabric & Home Care, we’ve made the ambitious commitment to decarbonize our impact at every step. To do so, we’re focusing on innovating to create products that have the lowest possible impact on the environment without compromise on an outstanding clean. Decarbonsing our Fabric & Home Care formulas will be a key contributor to helping P&G achieve its net-zero from cradle to shelf commitment by 2040, with a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030.

To ensure we concentrate our efforts where we can have the biggest impact, we always take a holistic, science-based approach. We look at every step of each product’s journey through life cycle analysis, which allows us to identify where most emissions and other environmental impacts are coming from.

When we’re cleaning our houses, washing dishes, or doing the laundry, our carbon footprint is like an iceberg. Most emissions generated come from what we can’t see and are seemingly invisible below the surface! For instance, when you first think about using a laundry detergent or dish soap, you might assume ingredients, manufacturing and packaging are the biggest carbon culprits. However, it may surprise you to know that the main impact on emissions actually comes from the energy you use to clean your clothes or dishes, in particular from heating the water.

Take laundry for example, from the life cycle analysis for Ariel, we know that 60% of laundry’s carbon footprint comes from when we are washing our clothes at home, mainly because of the temperature of the water. That means every degree can make a real difference – making the small change to wash our laundry just 10 degrees lower can have a big impact. It’s the same story in dishwashing. When you wash your dishes, a huge 90% of the carbon footprint is from heating the water.

That’s why we’ve made the commitment to innovate and constantly improve all our product formulas with cleaning colder in mind. This includes decarbonizing our ingredients to help achieve the best clean in a cold wash.

We believe that turning washing temperatures colder when washing our laundry is a small change that can have a big impact on the environment. That’s why our Ariel and Tide laundry detergents are designed to deliver a superior clean, even in cold wash. As part of our efforts to help prevent further planetary warming, we’re pledging to go colder.

Our mission is to ensure our products consistently provide a superior clean in colder temperatures without any trade-off. By just turning the temperature down from 60 to 30 degrees, consumers in the UK can save up to 60% on their energy bills, too. In the U.S., it’s an impressive $150 annual saving on the energy bill and up to 90% less energy used to wash in cold vs. hot cycles. Washing cold also protects the clothes you love thanks to the smarter ingredients in our formulas.

We want to go further though and lead the wash colder movement. We’re on a mission to help people across North America and Europe reduce their household carbon dioxide emissions by 30MM tons by 2030. This will be done by lowering the average laundry temperature across key European markets 5C by 2025 and moving 3 out of 4 cycles to cold in the U.S. To put that in perspective, this would save more than 10 times P&G’s annual operational emissions. Join our #wash colder challenge, and know that every degree makes a difference.

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

Comments (1)

  1. Robert C Allender says:

    I recall Unilever putting out essentially the same media release about 20 years ago, so it’s good to see the Americans catching up.
    But don’t laugh. Also about 20 years ago I had a slide in my deck showing two research institute media releases. One from California, the other from Florida. Both announced the enormous energy consumption benefits of giving the roofs of shopping malls a simple coat of white paint. One was dated 1989, the other 1998. News travels slowly.

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