Materials & Design
Using Resources Responsibly
We take a holistic approach to packaging design and material selection. By conducting science-based Life Cycle Assessments, we examine the environmental impact of our products to make the most meaningful improvements. We are always searching for innovative solutions—whether it’s using modeling and simulation to make a more lightweight bottle, or finding a way to ship product without corrugated cases. By partnering with new firms and working with existing suppliers through our Connect & Develop program, we are uncovering new disruptive innovations.
A renewable resource is simply defined as one that is produced by natural processes at a rate comparable to its rate of consumption. Materials that qualify as renewable resources are usually derived from biomass (e.g., cellulose).
P&G is partnering with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to focus on sustainable sourcing of materials for P&G products, including renewable forest products and palm oil. As we move to using more renewable materials, particularly materials such as pulp and palm oil, we need to ensure that production does not lead to loss of natural ecosystems, with associated loss of biodiversity. Over the last five years, we’ve deepened our partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the WWF-led Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN), and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in order to ensure we support our critical programs that help us, and others, meet the challenges of sustainably using forest resources.
As a member of the Consumer Goods Forum, P&G joined other member companies in a pledge to mobilize resources within their respective businesses to help achieve Zero Net Deforestation by 2020. We have already committed to ensure that by 2015 we will use 100 percent certified sustainable palm oil. We are also establishing two new goals related to our use of wood fiber:
- By 2015, 100 percent of the virgin wood fiber used in our tissue/towel and absorbent hygiene products will be third-party certified; 40 percent of the virgin wood fiber used in our tissue/towel products will be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.
- By 2020, 100% of our paper packaging will contain either recycled or third-party certified virgin content.
Collectively, these three goals help demonstrate our commitment to working towards zero net deforestation by 2020.
We have conducted a detailed analysis of our petroleum-derived raw materials and identified the material classes that best deliver our goal within the framework of the overarching business strategy. For most of these material classes, we’ve established a clear development pipeline, and we are now moving toward pilot scale production of several key materials.
Commitment to Renewable Materials
The Pantene brand has continued to increase its use of renewable materials by further expanding its Nature Fusion bio-resin bottle—constructed of up to 45% plant-based materials, excluding the cap. Having first launched the bio-resin bottle in Western Europe and the United States in 2011, Pantene recently launched it in Russia, Turkey, and Poland. Nature Fusion has grown to be the third largest Pantene collection among these countries. Pantene plans to expand its bottle with bio-resin to the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan in late 2012.
“We felt that a highly productive plant like sugarcane could be a sustainable feedstock for producing next-generation renewable plastic containers. Due diligence dictated that we understand the specific agricultural practices being used and potential environmental impacts associated with the entire life cycle of this new plastic. Given World Wildlife Fund’s expertise in sugarcane and its sourcing, we sought their guidance as we took this first step in a longer journey toward more sustainable packaging materials. Furthermore, we conducted a number of comprehensive studies, including a life cycle assessment and a food impact analysis. Then we went to Brazil, not only to talk to the manufacturer, but to visit fields to see how farmers grow and harvest the crop and to visit the mills to see how it’s processed. In that way, we could observe first-hand how potential environmental impacts were avoided or minimized. As a result of these efforts, we were able to confirm that the sugarcane being used is definitely sustainably sourced and the plastic itself provides tangible sustainability benefits.”
Partnering for Renewable Plastics
P&G is a proud member of the Plant PET Technology Collaborative (PTC). Established in April 2012, the Collaborative is a strategic working group focused on the research and development of plastic polymers made entirely from plant-sourced materials. The five-member Collaborative consisting of The Coca-Cola Company, Ford Motor Company, H.J. Heinz Company, NIKE, Inc., and P&G was created with the intent of increasing sustainable production of plant-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This lightweight and durable plastic is used by all PTC companies in a variety of products and packaging—representing a significant opportunity to reduce environmental impacts by developing PET that is derived from renewable materials
Commonly found in “clamshell” and “blister” packages, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) has been a widely used packaging material across much of the consumer goods industry for many years. PVC has also been the source of recurring controversy regarding its disposal to household solid waste incinerators, and its compatibility with plastics recycling. As a result, P&G began to avoid the use of PVC in its packaging in the early-1990s.
It is a challenge to find technically effective and affordable alternatives to PVC for some applications. However, in partnership with our packaging suppliers, we have overcome many of these barriers. Today, PVC represents less than 1.5% of the Company’s total use of plastic packaging materials. We expect to eliminate all remaining uses of PVC in our packaging within the next few years.