Sustainable Innovation

Procter & Gamble

Sustainable Innovation

Procter and Gamble is a classic example of an action-oriented consumer goods company. Not only have they laid down efficient strategic and sustainable long-term goals but also have achieved success in accomplishing their short-term goals. P&G has taken assertive initiative by delivering the best of services and products by incorporating sustainable and environment-friendly methods.

P&G focuses on mainly two strategies:
Products: By using life cycle analysis, they track and target their innovation techniques.
Operations: By focusing on creating efficiencies in energy, water, waste, and emissions.

They have touched varied sectors and have brought significant change in the current environment scenario. They have shown marginal reduction in energy consumption, CO2 emissions, disposed waste, and water consumption.

A snapshot from their Sustainability report (2011) depicts the advances made so far-

Sustainability Report

* These values represent percent reduction per unit of production

This distinctly represents how their green practices are reducing the load on the environment. Their plants across the world have Solar, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal and Co-Generation categories of alternative energy technologies installed.

P&G has taken up Global Asset Recovery Purchases Program (GARP) through which they re-use scrap and waste material. At the same time, they have ensured that from their product aspect, there is a categorical reduction in packaging material. For instance, P&G partnered with Be Green® Packaging, a molded fiber supplier, to develop a breakthrough package for Fusion ProGlide, Gillette’s newest high-performance razor. Moreover, P&G uses renewable and recycled materials, such as plant-based plastic, in their products and packaging.

Products-P&GProcter and Gamble has taken equal efforts in handling external factors along with internal ones (product and operations) which can in turn reduce their contribution towards carbon emission. This involves product compaction and thus reduces waste, transportation costs and pollution. There are retailer benefits also because fewer trucks, fewer pallets, and less inventory space results into a more efficient supply chain.

One commendable step that is taken by the company is to come up with alternative products from wastes and scraps. They have propagated the concept of zero manufacturing waste mechanism where scrap produced is utilized and is converted into useful items. Excess floss is repurposed in Mexico as the filling in pillows that are used to cleanup industrial spills. In Thailand and China, the waste left over from the manufacturing process is combined with clay and coal ash and heated to make bricks. Even in developing nations like India, scrap pads are recycled into plastic soles to make low-cost shoes.

Waste RecycledThis sustainable culture propagated in P&G has made it possible for 16 plants and distribution centers in achieving zero manufacturing  waste sent to landfill. This means that 100% of their manufacturing waste is beneficially re-used and diverted from landfills. One of the biggest challenges for consumer goods company is to influence and inspire their customers to purchase environmental-friendly and sustainable products. This would imply marketing these products in a very intelligent manner. Instead of manipulating the words and selling their products, P&G resorted to changing the concept of the product altogether and aligning its objectives towards sustainability. This can be showcased in their ”Ariel Turn to 30°C” Campaign. This technology reduces household electricity consumption, with no trade-off in performance, as it combats germs and dirt in cold water unlike traditional laundry detergents. Their vision includes powering their plants with 100% renewable energy to reduce their dependence on non-renewable sources of energy and also to reduce their carbon footprint. They also like to keep their customers happy by designing products which delight their customer base and maximize conservation of resources. These distinguishing aspects make P&G one of the leading FMCG companies in the world today. As P&G quotes itself

We innovate to incorporate sustainability criteria into our products in a number of ways, from formulation to packaging. In doing so, we find ways to deliver significant sustainability improvement without asking the consumer to make trade-offs in performance or value.

Undoubtedly, Procter and Gamble has taken over the global market yet again, but this time with a strenuous backbone of sustainability.

Author: Sandhya Mathur
Sandhya is currently pursing her MBA in Industrial Safety and Environment Management (NITIE, Mumbai) but she is an environmentalist at heart. Music, coffee and laptop comprise her workstation exhaustively. She is also an animal lover. When not working, you’d see her hunting for great food places online or working on her karaoke skills !

For any queries, you could drop in a mail at sandhya[dot]mathur[at]

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