Operations: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions


By 2020, we plan to reduce our GHG emissions by 20 percent (per case sold versus 2011). Since 2008, we have reduced our GHG emissions by 33 percent on an intensity basis (per case of product sold) and 23 percent on an absolute basis. This represents a reduction of 134,000 metric tons of GHG emissions in 2016 versus 2008. Five years into our current 2020 goal period, we have reduced our GHG emissions by 18 percent on an intensity basis (per case of product sold versus 2011) versus our 20 percent reduction goal. On an absolute basis we have reduced GHG emissions by 10 percent in this same period. This represents a reduction of 52,000 metric tons of GHG emissions in 2016 versus 2011. 

The chart below shows our year over year GHG emissions reductions performance since 2005.


*Clorox sold its Oakland, California, offices in 2013 and discontinued its Venezuela operations in 2014. Total global GHG emissions for 2011 (the baseline year for our 2020 GHG emissions reduction goal) were recalculated to exclude GHG emissions from these facilities. Data for 2012 and 2013 were not recalculated.

Beginning in 2014, Burt’s Bees began accounting for and reporting Scope 3 transportation related emissions. While this information was not included in the 2011 base year data, inclusion of this data in 2014 results in an immaterial impact on the change in reported emissions for 2014. However, due to rounding, reporting these emissions has resulted in a 1 percent increase in Clorox’s overall reported GHG emissions reduction percentage in 2014. For the purposes of our 2020 reduction goal, we have revised the 2011 GHG baseline to include an estimate of Burt’s Bee’s Scope 3 transportation related emissions, based on Burt’s Bees’ revenue that year. This increases our 2011 baseline year emissions from 503,043 metric tons CO2e to 506,366 metric tons CO2e, against which 2014 and future year comparisons in our 2020 goal period will be reported. This enables us to accurately compare GHG emissions for 2014 and future years, to the 2011 baseline. We have not revised GHG emissions for 2012 and 2013.

*Clorox acquired Renew Life in 2016. Total global GHG emissions for 2011 (the baseline year for our 2020 GHG emissions reduction goal) were recalculated to include estimated GHG emissions from related facilities associated with this acquisition. Data for 2012–2015 were not recalculated.

Our 2005–2015 GHG emissions data were collected by an independent third party environmental services firm with detailed knowledge of the operations and air emissions characteristics of the major Clorox manufacturing facilities. This firm utilized source data (electricity, natural gas, fuels and chemicals) to calculate associated emissions, and followed the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) standard protocols in their calculation of Clorox’s GHG emissions.

Since 2011, we have conducted annual third-party independent assurance of our global energy and GHG emissions. This assurance encompasses 100 percent of our global Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions, energy consumption and electricity use, as well as Scope 3 GHG emissions associated with the distribution of our US finished products and business travel by our employees.

Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions are defined as follows:

  • Scope 1 emissions are defined as GHG emissions as a direct result of Clorox operations and equal approximately 17 percent of Clorox’s total manufacturing and distribution GHG impact. We estimate that 69 percent of Scope 1 emissions are from carbon dioxide (CO2) and the remainder is from methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The primary source of CH4 and N2O is wood pyrolysis at charcoal plants in the United States. HFC emissions have averaged 155 Metric Tons Carbon Equivalent (MTCE) per year for the period 2005–2011, based on a release of 0.119 tonnes of refrigerant. The primary species of HFC released is R-134a.
  • Scope 2 emissions are defined as Clorox’s indirect emissions from purchased electricity, heat and steam. 50 percent of our combined manufacturing and distribution GHG footprint is from our indirect electricity use at our manufacturing plants, distribution centers and corporate office buildings. Our GHG calculations include both the amount of electricity drawn as well as the source of that electricity (e.g., coal vs. gas vs. other types of power plant fuels). Regional electric power emission factors (eGRID data) were used to compute indirect emissions. This is in conformance with the U.S. EPA Protocol and is consistent with the location-based method of the GHG Protocol. The location-based method is used for our 2011 baseline, goal setting and progress reporting. We also began efforts in 2015 to collect Scope 2 emissions in the U.S. using the market-based method as stipulated by the GHG Protocol; however, we were unable to obtain any contractual instruments or supplier specific emission rates in 2015 or in 2016, and residual mix factors were not available for the markets in which Clorox operates. As a result, our 2015 and 2016 market-based Scope 2 emissions are identical to our location-based emissions in 2015 and 2016.
  • Scope 3 emissions We currently compute and include Scope 3 emissions from two sources:
    1. Emissions associated with the distribution of our U.S. finished products by non-affiliated carriers to regional distribution centers and to retailers, account for about a third of Clorox’s combined manufacturing and distribution GHG impact. These estimates include all modes of transport (air, water, truck and rail). When truck carrier specific fuel efficiency data was not available, we used an efficiency of 5.5 miles/gallon of diesel fuel as a default value for long haul trucking. Scope 3 distribution emissions were estimated by using both truck miles traveled and actual fuel used: 1) between our production facilities; 2) from production facilities to our distribution centers; 3) from production facilities to customer distribution centers and 4) from our distribution centers to customer distribution centers.
    2. We also include our Scope 3 emissions from business travel by our employees. This includes all air travel (domestic within the United States as well as International travel) and emissions associated with our use of rental cars.

All six recognized GHGs have been inventoried. There has been no reported use of sulfur hexafluoride and perfluorocarbons. The global warming potentials from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1996 Second Assessment Report were used for conformance with the U.S. EPA Climate Leaders Protocol.

Approximately 70 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions are actually from biogenic sources associated with the use of wood scrap as an energy source in our Kingsford® charcoal manufacturing operations. (CO2 produced in our Kingsford operations via wood pyrolysis and off-gas combustion is considered biogenic, while the CH4 and N2O emissions produced via pyrolysis and off-gas combustion are considered anthropogenic and are therefore included in Clorox’s Scope 1 reportable emissions.)

We chose to show this data even though biogenic greenhouse gas emissions (that is, from wood and other biofuels) are considered part of the natural carbon cycle, and are therefore excluded from reportable carbon-footprint calculations.

* Household = Bags and Wraps, Charcoal, Cat Litter
Cleaning = Laundry, Homecare, Away from Home
Lifestyle = Dressings and Sauces, Water Filtration, Global Natural Personal Care

Examples of Our Progress

  • Energy reduction: We have retrofitted all of our North American manufacturing and distribution facilities with energy efficient T5/T8 lighting, and with motion sensors where appropriate. We have also conducted extensive energy audits at our manufacturing plants in order to identify other operating equipment and HVAC systems efficiencies that can further reduce our electricity use.
  • Distribution efficiency: We have increased the eco-efficiency of our finished product distribution markedly by moving from truck to more efficient rail. Today, 30 percent of Clorox finished goods distribution miles are by rail.We’re proud to report we’re also a member of the EPA’s Smart Way program as a Transport Partner. Clorox qualified to be a Smart Way Transport Partner by the use of qualified Smart Way carriers for over 95 percent of our truck freight miles. This is a prestigious designation for us, along the same lines as our Energy Star qualification for many of our facilities. This designation also expands our environmental partnership with the U.S. EPA, which also includes our membership in their Waste Wise and Safer Choice programs.In recent years, we have also conducted extensive network reconfiguration and optimization of shipments occurring between our plants, co-packers, distribution centers and customers. This has helped to minimize the number of traffic lanes used and maximize the quantity of goods carried on existing lanes.
  • Material efficiency: At Clorox, we’re committed to redesigning our products and packaging in order to improve their environmental footprint by either reducing or improving the materials used. Since 2005, we’ve made sustainability improvements* to nearly 50 percent of our product portfolio (volume sold basis). We’re proud to say that 90 percent of our product cartons use 100 percent recycled material, and more than 85 percent of the packages that house our products are recyclable. (* Per internal Clorox sustainability improvement measurement system)
  • Workplace initiatives: We are also committed to doing all that we can to reduce our workplace energy use and commensurate GHG emissions. Clorox has reduced its paper use by 30 percent across all of our North American facilities, with all remaining paper converted to 100 percent recycled content. We’ve reduced business travel by 20 percent in recent years, and we’ve converted company cars to hybrids, which reduced fuel use by almost half and annual GHG emissions by about 700 metric tons.In 2010, our corporate headquarters at Oakland, California, became one of only 38 buildings in the U.S. to achieve Platinum Level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – Existing Building certification (LEED-EB) — the highest eco recognition an existing building can achieve. Built in 1976, this 24-floor skyscraper is one of the oldest buildings to achieve this eco certification level.LEED-EB certification, administered by the U.S. Green Business Council, focuses on lowering the environmental footprint of an existing building’s operations and maintenance. Platinum certification is the highest of four certification levels the LEED program offers. To earn this certification, Clorox made dozens of building improvements, including:
    • Replacement of every plumbing fixture, toilet and urinal to reduce water consumption by over 40 percent (approximately 1.5 million gallons annually).
    • Replacement of more than 1,700 lamps to more eco-efficient lighting
    • Installation of a new white reflective roof (cleaned regularly with Green Works® cleaners)
    • Numerous efficiency improvements to the building’s heating, cooling and ventilation system — like high efficiency boilers and water heaters
    • Moving to non-potable water for all irrigation
    • Implementation of solid waste recycling and composting programs
    The LEED-EB Platinum certification distinguishes Clorox as an Eco leader with a very strong commitment to environmental stewardship.

Renewable Sources

Kingsford Operations

Kingsford® retort furnaces convert renewable wood scrap to make char. Much of the heat generated from this process is, in turn, used to dry waste wood raw material as well as finished charcoal briquets, and to power steam boilers that are used for other Kingsford manufacturing operations, thereby reducing use of fossil-fueled electricity these plants need to pull from the grid.

Renewable Energy Credits and Carbon Offsets

Burt’s Bees® Natural Personal Care Products, a Clorox division, essentially offsets their Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by the purchase of Carbon Offsets. GHG emissions from Burt’s Bees operations are approximately 0.5 percent of Clorox’s total annual GHG emissions. This is part of their ongoing effort to become a carbon neutral operation.

As part of Clorox’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification for our corporate offices in Oakland, California, we’ve purchased renewable energy certificates (RECs) to offset all electricity and natural gas usage within the building. These RECs have been purchased through “Renewable Choice Energy” (http://www.renewablechoice.com). The electricity offsets purchased for our Oakland corporate offices are approximately 1.4 percent of our total annual electricity consumption.