Products & Packaging
We aim to continue to delight consumers with meaningful sustainable innovations that reduce the environmental impact of our products across the full product lifecycle.
Our Products Approach
At P&G, every sustainability innovation begins with a deep understanding of consumers. Because we are in touch with consumers’ lives, we can make innovation decisions based on their needs. We know that in an effort to be more sustainable, most consumers are unwilling to make trade-offs on performance or value.
We have found that two relatively small groups exist, one at each end of the decision-making spectrum. On one end, “niche” consumers are willing to sacrifice performance or value for a more sustainable product. On the other, a small segment is focused on providing “basic living” for their families and do not make purchases based on sustainability factors. But the majority of consumers reside in between these two groups as the “sustainable mainstream.”
Encompassing 70% of consumers overall, this sustainable mainstream group wants product choices that have environmental improvements, but they will only change their purchasing decisions when they can get the performance they require and the value they need. They won’t sacrifice performance or price for environmental benefits, especially in these tough economic times.
At P&G, the sustainable mainstream is the focus of our sustainability efforts. This largest consumer segment matters most to us, because meeting their needs lets us provide the greatest positive impact.
In addition to consumer insights, we apply a second key element to making sustainability decisions: a unique, holistic view of technology. We use Life Cycle thinking, a discipline we helped pioneer, to determine a product’s entire environmental footprint; from the procurement of raw materials to the product’s use and ultimate disposal. By examining the many factors in each step, we are able to assess the product’s overall environmental impact.
With this holistic insight, we can identify steps in the cycle where a sustainable improvement can have the most positive impact. In the case of laundry detergent, for instance, our Life-Cycle Assessment revealed that one step of the product’s life cycle consumed far more energy than any other: the heating of wash water during its use in the home. Since this was the biggest opportunity for energy reduction, this is where we focused our sustainability efforts. With Ariel, here in the UK, we introduced a formulation of detergent that is optimized for use in cold water, avoiding the need to heat water for washing altogether.