Promoting sustainable development
A Procter & Gamble case study

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Page 4: Environmental, social responsibility and economic development issues

By concentrating on ‘How we do it’ as well as ‘What we do’, P&G attempts to address any environmental, social responsibility and economic development issues associated with its products and services. For example, all products have implications for:


  • Resource use (materials and energy)Procter Gamble 7 Image 8
  • Water quality and availability
  • Waste and emissions.

Social responsibility

  • Health
  • Hygiene
  • Education.

Economic development

  • Shareholder value
  • Employment
  • Taxes, fees and contributions.

Resources used in producing goods and services generate wastes and emissions. A simple inputs/outputs diagram illustrates this fact. For example, producing a household product requires raw materials, packaging and energy as inputs. Besides the tangible packed product, other consequential outputs will be materials for recycling, for reuse or for treatment on site, non-hazardous solid waste, hazardous solid waste, air emissions, and water emissions. Each of these has an environmental impact.

P&G’s systematic approach towards reducing environmental impact has improved its manufacturing efficiency. For example, the company’s use of energy is nine times more efficient than in 1985. Today, P&G is able to produce 50% more product output per unit of waste water than in 1990. Moreover, the shift away from coal to cleaner fuel has helped P&G to reduce CO2 production by three and a half fold per tonne of production. The ‘more from less’ principle can be illustrated by looking at the development of Ariel, P&G’s laundry detergent. Innovations in detergents have allowed the wash temperature across Europe to be lowered by around 15°C, leading to a reduction in household energy use. Reducing the average wash temperature has been equivalent to saving 1.5 Megawatt hours of energy per year in the UK alone. That represents enough energy to heat around 200,000 homes by gas central heating for one year.

Procter & Gamble | Promoting sustainable development