On May 7, I joined a group of folks from Clorox to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange to celebrate Clorox’s centennial anniversary. It was an incredible feeling to see our centennial banners wrap the façade of the stock exchange and even more incredible to “ring” the bell with hundreds of folks on the trading room floor cheering for the company. (Side note: You actually push a button, but the NYSE actually used a Chinese gong when continuous trading was first introduced around 1870.)
Clorox has come a long way since 1913, when five men each invested $100 to start a company based on one product: the iconic Clorox® bleach. A century later, Clorox bleach is still used in millions of homes around the world for whitening laundry and disinfecting hard surfaces, as well as in hospitals, schools and daycare centers, where it’s important to kill germs that make people sick.
And we’re not just a bleach company. I still meet people who are surprised to learn that our portfolio includes Green Works®, Burt’s Bees®, Brita®, Hidden Valley®, Glad®, Kingsford®, Fresh Step®, Pine-Sol®, Tilex®, Liquid Plumr®, Fraganzia®, Poett®, Mistolin® and many other trusted brands around the world.
When we were meeting with a number of analysts and reporters in New York, we were often asked how Clorox managed to be successful for 100 years. There are a number of reasons: we’ve strategically expanded our portfolio, run our operations efficiently, recruited high-caliber people, etc., etc.
Personally, though, I think a big part of our long-term success has been a foundation of strong values — in particular, doing the right thing. It sounds corny, but it really is ingrained in our culture and in the way we operate.
Throughout my six years at the company, a few things stand out as examples of this: when our management team supported formalizing our corporate responsibility (CR) strategy and accelerating our sustainability efforts, when I visited a couple of manufacturing facilities and saw how our folks truly live safety as a core value, when we partnered with Sierra Club on our Green Works brand, and when we decided to voluntarily disclose our ingredients in our U.S. and Canadian cleaning and disinfecting products.
At the end of the day, it’s about doing right by all of our stakeholders, and that means a focus on delivering sustainable, long-term value and doing it responsibly.
Happy birthday, Clorox. Here’s to the next 100 years.