Sustainability in Our Products and Packaging
When we formulate, manufacture and package our products, we keep people and our planet in mind. We strive to use ingredients and packaging that are more sustainable, including materials that are recyclable and compostable. Ultimately, our goal is to deliver high-quality products that make everyday life better, every day and minimize the impact on our planet. When it comes to the amount of materials that go into our products and packaging, we believe that less is more. We’re always trying to find ways to reduce the overall volume of materials, increase the sustainability of our materials, and minimize the impact left behind after our consumers use our products. That way, we can help reduce the footprint and resource intensity of our products. In fact, Clorox’s signature sustainability goal for our IGNITE strategy aims to reduce by 50% the virgin plastic and fiber in our packaging by 2030.
Goals and Progress
IGNITE ESG Planet Goals
We continually work to find innovative ways to enhance the environmental profile of our products and packaging and work towards a more circular future.
Building on the sustainability improvements achieved across nearly 60% of our product portfolio during our 2020 strategy period, we continue to make headway on our IGNITE ESG goals. All of our business units are held accountable for delivering specific sustainability commitments in support of our corporate goals, with overall coordination from our Sustainability Center.
In 2019, as part of our IGNITE strategy, we prioritized packaging as a key focus area with the following goals:
- 50% combined reduction in virgin plastic and fiber packaging by 2030
- 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025
- Double plastic PCR in packaging by 2030 (+50% by 2025)
Note: joint ventures and licensing partnerships are excluded from our goals
Our Progress So Far
Since launching our IGNITE strategy in October 2019, we:
- Launched multiple projects that are projected to contribute approximately 15% of our virgin packaging reduction target, accelerating our progress against our goal of 50% combined reduction in virgin plastic and fiber packaging by 2030
- Established our baseline for our 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging goal of 79% using the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s recyclability assessment tool, which is based on the findings of their New Plastics Economy 2020 Recycling Survey and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s definition of recyclable packaging
- Signed onto the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and became a founding member of U.S. Plastics Pact
Additionally, we plan to continue supporting ongoing packaging commitments established in our 2020 strategy. These include driving the elimination of PVC packaging from our product portfolio and continuing to require all fiber based packaging we purchase to be made from recycled or certified sustainable virgin material. In 2019, more than 99% of paper-based packaging we purchased was made from recycled or certified sustainable virgin fiber. Lastly, to help take the guess work out of recycling for our consumers, we will continue to feature easy-to-follow on-pack recycling instructions on our U.S. retail product packaging. Nearly 90% of our U.S. retail product packaging utilizes the How2Recycle label.
Virgin Packaging Material Reduction
GOAL: 50% combined reduction in virgin plastic and fiber packaging by 2030
STATUS: Multiple projects launched in fiscal year 2020 projected to contribute approximately 15% of target
Our signature IGNITE ESG goal calls for us to reduce by 50% the virgin plastic and fiber in our packaging by 2030, and make all packaging 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. In 2020, we began rolling out Clorox concentrated liquid bleach, which will reduce our use of plastic and fiber packaging for this brand, while delivering the same high-quality product that our consumers expect. We also converted to 100% recycled fiber cartons for Glad in 2019. Together these launches are projected to contribute approximately 15% of our reduction target.
This goal is measured on a per-case-of-product-sold basis versus a 2018 baseline.
Use of Recyclable, Reusable, Compostable Primary Packaging
GOAL: 100% recyclable, reusable, and/or compostable packaging by 2025
Since launching our IGNITE goals in 2019, we have established a new baseline for measuring the end-of-life of our packaging and defined key focus areas and a partnership strategy to help address the challenges associated with achieving this goal. In 2019 Clorox became a signatory to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s (EMF) New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, and in 2020 a founding member of U.S. Plastics Pact. Through these efforts, we are engaging in collective, multi-stakeholder approaches across the plastics supply chain to find solutions to different aspects of the plastic waste challenge, including identifying ways to redesign products and business models for reusability, improving access to recycling infrastructure and increasing use of PCR plastic.
As part of these commitments we have embraced innovative new business models, including the participation of Clorox disinfecting wipes and Glad food protection recyclable food bags in TerraCycle’s Loop pilot program which launched in 2019 in the Mid-Atlantic region of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, D.C. This program, which enables consumers to refill and reuse primary packaging, also bolsters the commitment we made when we signed on to EMF. In 2020 we also launched a Clorox cleaning concentrated spray refill pilot with a major retailer and launched a market test with Algramo to sell several products including Clorox Splash-less Cleaning Bleach and Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner at three refill station test sites in New York City.
1 Data has been calculated using the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s recyclability assessment tool, which is based on the findings of their New Plastics Economy 2020 Recycling Survey and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s definition of recyclable packaging. Reporting is based on CY18 US sales data and is estimated to reflect global results for this metric. We believe CY18 sales data is representative of CY19 given there were no material changes in the company’s product mix during this time period.
Use of Recycled Plastic
GOAL: Double plastic PCR in packaging by 2030 (+50% by 2025)
STATUS: +10%2 in 2019 versus 2018 baseline
Recognizing the rapidly growing demand pressures on plastic PCR supply chains implied by corporate commitments to plastic PCR content in packaging, we are engaging in multi-stakeholder partnerships that aim to increase the availability and improve the quality of recycled plastic material required to close the loop on recyclable packaging. We are seeking solutions that not only help us meet our goal, but will help the entire industry achieve a sustainable, circular system for packaging. Our participation in the U.S. Plastics Pact is one of the ways we plan to collaborate across the value chain to drive solutions that address systemic challenges in our domestic recycling infrastructure.
Our focus on product sustainability extends beyond packaging. Each of our business units is expected to evaluate its brands to identify opportunities to drive sustainability across its end-to-end value chain, in addition to supporting the delivery of our corporate packaging and climate goals. In addition, we assess our products for potential impacts to both human health and environmental health, evaluating biodegradation and bioaccumulation as well as impacts on septic systems, aquatic life, birds and other wildlife.
Our sustainability efforts are not just good for the environment. They’re good for business too, contributing to sales and resulting in cost savings and employee engagement.
2 Metric has been calculated based on CY19 purchases of plastic packaging for global operations, and excludes data from contract manufactured product packaging from suppliers that procure packaging materials on our behalf.