Environmental Commitments Across Our Business
As a health and wellness company that’s been around for more than 100 years, maintaining the trust of our customers is essential to our business. This means we must not only deliver dependable, superior products, but also that we do so with the health of our communities and broader environment in mind. That is why every day, we focus on Good Growth: growth that’s profitable, sustainable and responsible.
Clorox’s integrated IGNITE Strategy — our long-term strategic plan that guides our business — includes financial as well as environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. The elevation and integration of ESG goals into our core business strategy demonstrates how important these priorities are to Clorox. Organized around the themes of planet, product and people, our ESG goals show how we’re working to create value for all stakeholders.
Addressing Climate Change, Minimizing Our Footprint
Climate change poses a significant risk to the health of both people and the planet. Rising greenhouse gas emissions threaten the existence of wildlife, the availability of water and other natural resources, and the well-being of people. Extreme weather events, rising seas, and infectious diseases associated with warmer climates have the potential to massively disrupt life as we know it. It is also an issue of equality, as the impacts of climate change are expected to have a disproportionate effect on disadvantaged communities in the U.S. and across the globe. That’s why Clorox supports congressional action on comprehensive national climate change legislation aimed at reducing total emissions of greenhouse gas over time without causing undue hardships for the U.S. economy.
As the urgency around climate change has accelerated, we’ve stepped up our commitment to climate stewardship through our IGNITE ESG goals. These include setting and achieving science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in our operations and value chain, and sourcing 100% renewable electricity for our U.S. and Canada operations in 2021. These new goals build upon the progress we’ve already made by exceeding previous GHG emissions reduction targets. Cumulatively reducing our emissions by 52% per case of product sold and 40% on an absolute basis between 2008 and 2018 is an exciting accomplishment, but we are motivated to do more.
We recognize GHG emissions are not the only form of harmful air pollution. We’re also looking for ways to reduce emissions of particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), sulfur oxide (SOx) and nitrous oxide (NOx). We are diligent about reducing, reusing and recycling fluorinated gases. Of course, we are committed to ensuring our facilities are compliant with air quality regulations and to public reporting of that data to relevant government agencies.
As water stress increases alongside climate change, we will continue to efficiently manage our water use, which is not new to us. Just as we achieved our previous GHG emissions goal early, we also achieved our 2020 water goal ahead of schedule. With a goal to reduce water consumption 20% by 2020 on an intensity basis (per case of product sold, versus 2011), by 2018 we had reduced our water consumption by 21% per case of product sold and by 11% on an absolute basis. This represents a savings of 102 million gallons of water. Going forward, we will continue to seek ways to minimize our water footprint through further concentration of our products and other means, and advance a more localized approach to water risk assessment and action plans.
Advancing a Circular Economy and Driving Out Waste
It has become increasingly clear that plastic and other waste is challenging the health of our planet by threatening our oceans, contaminating our lands, and putting pressure on natural resources. That’s why our signature IGNITE ESG goal is targeting plastic and other waste through radical material reduction in virgin packaging, aiming for zero-waste-to-landfill in our facilities around the globe, and helping to move toward a circular economy. We know we can’t do this alone. As a signatory to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and founding member of U.S. Plastics Pact, we are participating in collective, multi-stakeholder approaches that aim to solve systemic challenges in how plastic is used and disposed.
Driving Sustainability Through Our Businesses
As part of IGNITE, we’ve re-imagined how we embed ownership and activation of sustainability into our brands. Using Sustainable Brands’ Brand Transformation Roadmap as a guide, we have an ambition for every business to be a sustainability leader and for each of our 8800 employees to become a sustainability ambassador.
To accelerate progress and capacity building, we’ve established a cross-functional Sustainability Center and common set of tools, including life cycle analyses, to better understand our environmental impacts from a brand perspective and to unlock human insights for potential value creation through innovation and brand building. Led by a chief sustainability officer, our Sustainability Center will lead our efforts to execute both corporate and business unit sustainability goals, unleashing the innovative capabilities of our employees.
Of course, a true commitment to sustainability must come from the very top. Our Board of Directors’ Nominating, Governance and Corporate Responsibility Committee oversees our environmental and social responsibility efforts. In addition, the Clorox Executive Committee, which I lead, oversees our IGNITE Strategy, including our environmental sustainability commitments. I am proud of the degree to which we’ve incorporated environmental responsibility into the leadership fabric of Clorox.
Improving the Sustainability of Our Supply Chain
Our IGNITE Strategy also addresses how we’re working with our business partners— including raw material suppliers and other vendors. Our Business Partner Code of Conduct outlines our expectations of business partners on important issues including climate change, responsible sourcing and ethical business practices. Since 2011, key partners have started self-certifying compliance with our code. Our responsible sourcing and sustainability program helps us assess our upstream supply chain against social and environmental impacts. As part of this program, we will continue our critical work with our supply chain partners on policies and actions that prevent deforestation.
Building on the progress we’ve made on engaging our suppliers to measure and set their own operational footprint reduction goals, we plan to expand that conversation to include aggressive science-based targets for GHG emissions reduction.
Governance: Focusing On Transparency and Collaborating With Our Stakeholders
We understand the need (and the expectation) to be even more transparent about our business. As a public company, we’ve long focused on sharing our financial results. In recent years, we’ve also stepped up our communications on our sustainability commitments and progress. We remain committed to reporting our progress through annual submissions to CDP and in our annual integrated report, which is developed in accordance with guidelines of the International Integrated Reporting Council. We’ve also incorporated Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) reporting beginning with our Fiscal Year 2020 Integrated Annual Report.
We also believe ongoing dialogue and active leadership in sustainability initiatives are critical to advancing our sustainability agenda and driving change within our industry. That’s why we contribute thought-leadership to a number of sustainability-related organizations and hold leadership roles within AIM-Progress, a forum for leading consumer goods companies and suppliers to help improve responsible sourcing practices and share supply chain audits. We’re also a founding member of The Sustainability Consortium, an industry group focused on driving sustainability in products and supply chains. Additionally, since 2015 we have been a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact to advance and support sustainable development.
Continuing Our Sustainability Journey
As we embark on achieving our IGNITE goals, the great progress made thus far provides a strong foundation for the road ahead. But we can’t get complacent. As we look to 2030 and beyond, sustainability will continue to be a long-term priority. For us, ESG is a part of how we do business and the key to delivering growth that’s profitable, sustainable and responsible. I look forward to sharing more about our journey in the years ahead and to building a more sustainable future for people and our planet.
Chief Executive Officer