By Benno Dorer, Chair & CEO, The Clorox Company
I wanted to provide an update to the letter I published on March 30.
We are now months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are still awash in unknowns about where this will go. But what we do know is that Clorox will not waver in its response to this crisis and supporting public health. We are in it with you.
Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re privileged to be in a position to serve the public health during this time. We are committed to doing everything we can to support consumers, healthcare facilities and communities.
Our most important value as a company, Do the Right Thing, remains the guiding principle of our response. This core value of our company has served us well since 1913, and it has never been more important. Clorox is a health-and-wellness company at heart, and during these past few months our mission has been clear. We know that the public is counting on us and our products to make a difference in many countries around the world, and I’m proud that our team of 8800 strong is stepping up every day to make a difference, the right way, in this time of need. Our top three priorities are:
- Protecting the health, safety and well-being of our employees
- Maximizing supply to get our products where they are needed
- Supporting caregivers and people most impacted by COVID-19
Our commitment to supporting the safety & well-being of our employees
We care deeply about safety and well-being for our global workforce of 8,800 people and their families.
Our team who makes and ships essential household products is doing an outstanding job in the face of extraordinary circumstances. Their health and well-being and that of their families is top of mind.
To support those who continue to work in our facilities, our exceptional frontline workers, we’ve greatly enhanced our infection-prevention measures and increased their pay and benefits. We’re grateful for their dedication.
For our broader global team, we’ve established an initial $1 million employee relief fund to provide COVID-19-related support to employees and their families.
Maximizing supply as a company with essential products
As a company, we are focused on doing everything feasible to maximize the supply of disinfecting products to serve consumers, healthcare workers and our communities in the face of demand like we have never seen. And we also want to ensure that everyone has access to our disinfecting products at standard prices. We are taking aggressive action to combat third-party price gouging.
To give you an idea of the scale of demand, starting in February, almost overnight, demand surged to 500% for some of our disinfecting products. This is unprecedented for us or any consumer goods company. To increase capacity, we quickly took a number of steps that we knew would require significantly higher costs: running our cleaning and disinfecting products plants 24/7; re-focusing our plants on manufacturing disinfecting products that can be supplied most quickly; and accessing additional 3rd party supply.
Those measures have yielded significant increases in our supply. From January through March, in the U.S. we have increased our supply of disinfectants by 40 million units, an increase of more than 40% versus the same period last year. But in spite of that, we acknowledge our products aren’t consistently in stock, and there’s more to do. We put Clorox® disinfecting wipes on store shelves every day and find that people scoop them up almost as soon as they’re delivered. But we are partnering with our retailers to serve consumers’ needs as best we can and expect continued meaningful movement in our ability to meet demand this summer. We are also making considerable investments to increase capacity for the mid-term, applying what we’ve learned from this crisis to be prepared for a surge in demand in the future.
Along with herculean efforts to meet consumer demand, we understand the even more critical need to serve the healthcare community — the people on the frontlines keeping us safe. Starting in April, we prioritized increasing our hospital-grade bleach supply by 4X for healthcare facilities.
And sometimes, the resolve to do even more in desperate times leads to inspiration — and fast. Within a few weeks of COVID-19 spreading in the U.S., we created a new 55-gallon bleach-drum innovation, which we have delivered to some of the largest healthcare facilities in the U.S. Each 55-gallon drum cleans up to 14,000 hospital rooms.
$14 million donated in relief efforts fighting coronavirus
Overall, The Clorox Company Foundation and our brands have committed $14 million globally in product and monetary donations to relief efforts in the fight against COVID-19.
In the U.S., we’ve donated more than $12 million, including contributions to Direct Relief, the CDC Foundation Emergency Relief Fund, the American Red Cross, Feeding America and Americares. This includes local donations in Oakland and the communities where we have facilities. We are committed to helping care for the caregivers who serve the most vulnerable in our communities.
Novel coronavirus is a novel threat. It has challenged how we as a society think about our world and how we as manufacturers of products essential to public health think about our role in society.
Clorox, as the leader in disinfecting products, with a name that is synonymous with the words “clean” and “trust,” is uniquely positioned to rise to this challenge and support people and communities most in need. As I mentioned, we have been doing this for a long time. In fact today, May 3, is our 107th birthday, and we are proud to continue to deliver on the legacy of our original innovator, Annie Murray. Her promise more than 100 years ago was to bring much needed disinfecting products to people’s homes.
We are committed to that same goal and to continuing to earn your trust. And, we are steadfast in our mission to be a purpose-driven, ESG business by doing the right thing.