Learn about the progress we’ve made on our 2020 Sustainability People Commitments.

  • Supporting Colgate People

    We believe Colgate People are crucial to our ongoing business success. As such, we are committed to helping our people reach their professional and personal goals, offering an array of resources to help expand their horizons, including career opportunities, access to world-class learning and leadership development programs, well-being initiatives and opportunities to contribute to the communities where we work and live. Through these programs, we help employees stay engaged, motivated and focused on delivering products and services that exceed people’s expectations.

    Colgate People
    Professional People

    We support all of our employees to perform at their fullest potential and recognize the important role organizational diversity and inclusion play in our global success. We work to attract and retain talented individuals who lead with integrity. We align the work of our people to our global strategy through individual and team goals. Our Performance Management process fosters continuous coaching and feedback and ensures that people are focused on the right priorities to drive growth. We continue to build a coaching culture where people feel comfortable coaching others and learning through authentic development conversations. Our robust learning curriculum reaches all Colgate People, with 1,350 certified Colgate instructors and approximately 80 courses plus thousands of others online through LinkedinLearning, Harvard, Bersin and more. Living Colgate’s values, taking personal ownership of one’s development, openness to a variety of experiences and enthusiasm for continuous learning are the broad principles that define a successful career at Colgate.

    Building a Future to Smile About

    Our social media framework strengthens Colgate’s employer branding and digital presence, resulting in the increase of our talent community and a healthy candidate pipeline. More than 1.7 million people visited our career site in 2020 and an increasing number engage with us on social platforms such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Facebook.

    As a truly global company, our diverse backgrounds enable us to respond to the needs and aspirations of the billions we serve worldwide. We are committed to providing fair opportunities for diversity in gender and ethnic recruitment and advancement to ensure our company reflects the communities in which we live and work. Further, having a diverse set of ideas, approaches and backgrounds helps drive innovation.

    Building a Coaching Culture

    Ongoing coaching and feedback is a key element of our performance management process. In 2020, we enhanced our coaching culture and skills by partnering with BetterUp, a leading provider of virtual coaching. BetterUp provided 500 Colgate leaders with personalized support, accelerating their individual effectiveness and development. Program participants experience high quality coaching and in turn become champions of coaching within Colgate.

    In 2020, we also launched a global learning program: Becoming a People Manager. 300 new people managers completed the program and are now putting their learning into action. We are committed to having all new and existing Colgate People managers participate and leverage this learning content to enable their teams to reach their full potential and perform at their best.

    Our ongoing Colgate Leadership Challenge for talented, early-in-career employees provides participants with exposure and interaction with senior management, a greater understanding and connection to the global organization, personal leadership skills training and an opportunity to work on an important strategic issue for the business.

    Creating a Learning Mindset at Colgate

    We continue to transform our learning strategy to better meet the evolving expectations of the modern workforce and create a continuous learning culture. Our focus is to develop the strategic organizational capabilities that will drive current and future growth for Colgate by offering learning experiences that are closely aligned to our business strategy. One of the key initiatives is digital transformation. We believe in technology and people. We have a learning experience platform called Mindspark, a portal through which Colgate People access multiple modalities of content, including structured, mandatory, functional and curated. In 2020, salaried and clerical employees completed more than 325,000 pieces of internal and external content (including mandatory training). On average, 37% of employees consistently accessed and actively utilized Mindspark for digital learning during 2020.

    As part of our digital strategy, we implemented an in-application digital adoption platform (Walk-me) for our customer development teams for their new planning tool “ATLAS.” ATLAS is a customer collaboration tool designed to effectively plan, monitor and analyze volume and investment to drive real-time decision-making and deliver profitable revenue growth. The team reduced the needed training time from three days of live workshop and 11.5 hours of e-learnings to three hours of virtual workshop and a few drop-in sessions. We are also on a journey to measure the impact of learning on the organization and behavior change. We closely align business needs with learning performance and provide a variety of learning formats and content. We started the digital survey journey in 2019 and collected data from more than 6,000 learning surveys. In 2020, we collected data from 23,000 surveys. This includes 3,000 surveys on pre- and post-application of learning experiences. The average NPS (Net Promoter Score) of all Colgate courses has always exceeded industry average (61%) with a favorable 72%.

    We earned two gold awards from the Brandon Hall Group, which recognizes organizations that have successfully deployed learning programs with measurable results.

    • The first award recognized the learning experience we developed for field sales representatives across EltaMD, PCA Skin and Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals for their return to the workplace.

    • The second award recognized our “Return to the Workplace” learning solution developed on the EdApp platform as the “best advance in performance support for crisis management.” The app was built in record time, leveraging a new technology, enabling deployment globally and addressing the need to deliver to both Colgate People and external partners.

    Engaging Employees

    Every two years, we conduct “Colgate Connect,” a global survey to assess key drivers of employee engagement. We partner with an industry-leading vendor to develop the survey, build robust reporting and analytics capabilities and provide managers with a simple tool for reviewing results and action planning with their teams. We also deploy shorter pulse surveys and gather additional insights at critical moments of the employee journey -- at the completion of the recruitment process, during the onboarding process and when leaving Colgate -- to engage people and improve employee experience.

    For example, through the 2018 Colgate Connect survey, we learned that our people want to learn more about career opportunities at Colgate. Our European team took the lead and used design thinking to create the “Build Your Best Future” program, which we activated globally in 2020. In early 2020, we conducted a brief COVID-19 response survey with all employees, including our manufacturing plants, to listen and adjust what we were doing in response to the pandemic. In our 2020 bi-annual survey, we heard that conducting effective meetings is a company-wide opportunity, especially in a remote work environment. As a result, we are reinforcing our MeetSmart principles; and updating them for a hybrid workplace. 81% of our people believe that their feedback is used to make improvements, a leading result in the industry.

  • Employee Health and Wellness

    At Colgate, we’re making holistic well-being an organizational priority to ensure our people can thrive and bring their best selves to work, everyday. It’s a key action of our 2025 Sustainability and Social Impact Strategy and an expression of living our company’s purpose as a caring, innovative growth company reimagining a healthier future for all people, their pets and our planet.

    The multiple impacts of COVID-19 have only accelerated and expanded our longstanding commitment to wellness. With health top of mind for everyone, we’re doing more and transforming our approach.

    Colgate’s well-being initiatives take both a macro view by serving more than 34,000 employees and a micro one by offering individual solutions. We’re building a supportive culture and suite of meaningful programs and services that address the diverse needs of Colgate People.

    We approach well-being from multiple angles beyond physical health. It’s a core component of our workforce strategy, seen as a key influence on attaining business goals. And perhaps most importantly, we’re solving for the “whys” behind challenges to optimal well-being, rather than focusing solely on the “whats.” For example, if stress is leading to smoking or overeating, we need to address that first.

    Encouraging Holistic Well-Being

    For our people to bring their best selves to work each day, their needs across multiple, interdependent dimensions of well-being must be met. As an employer, Colgate plays a key role in making that happen by supporting, among other things:

    • Physical well-being: providing access to comprehensive dental & medical care, safety programs, nutritious food and physical activity opportunities.
    • Emotional well-being: supporting a positive sense of self, life/work balance, emotional resilience and coping skills, and access to mental healthcare and counseling.
    • Social well-being: fostering social connections with colleagues, inclusivity in spirit and practice, and plenty of joyful laughter.
    • Purpose well-being: ensuring one’s work feels meaningful and important, goal-setting exercises and many learning opportunities, and recognition throughout the year.
    • Financial well-being: providing appropriate compensation, supporting retirement planning, and offering guidance to manage financial challenges and changes like childcare, college expenses, disability, care for aging parents and relocation.
    • Environmental well-being: contributing to the success of local communities where we work and live and supporting initiatives toward healthier futures for all people, their pets and our planet.

    This work encompasses hundreds of myriad efforts across our business and communities. One highlight is our 10th annual Live Better Month that was held in June 2020. Over the last 10 years our annual event has evolved to not only focus on physical health but also nutrition and emotional health. Given the stresses of 2020 around the world, it was important for Colgate to continue to celebrate Live Better Month to encourage our employees, many of whom were working from their homes, to focus on their overall well-being and the well-being of their loved ones.

    We asked employees to find the moments that move them and gave them opportunities to find those moments through various fitness, meditation classes and virtual webinars. To communicate these offerings, we used emails, electronic newsletters, videos, onsite posters as well as our internal social media platform. Due to the popularity, we continued to offer these virtual classes throughout the year.

  • Our Commitment to Universal Human Rights

    We have  a long-standing commitment to respecting human and labor rights worldwide and support the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labor Organization (ILO) Core Labor Standards.  We have also confirmed our support for the UN Global Compact and principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. We are a member of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) and support the CGF’s Social Resolution on Forced Labor and its supporting Priority Industry Principles that every worker should have freedom of movement, no worker should pay for a job, and no worker should be indebted or coerced to work. We work with and seek out business partners who share our commitment to universal human rights. We recognize the responsibility of businesses to respect labor rights and engage with stakeholders adherence to universal human rights. Protecting human and labor rights is one of our key sustainability issues.

    To learn more about our human rights strategy and management approach, please see our Human Rights Policy.

  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

    Colgate People -- more than 34,000 strong based in over 100 countries -- reflect the diverse richness of the cultures we serve around the world. As a truly global company, we are working to ensure that our workforce reflects the diversity of the communities in which we live and work. We are committed to act with compassion, integrity, honesty and high ethics in all situations, to listen with respect to others and to value differences. Colgate commits to be recognized as a leader in global diversity, equity and inclusion by Colgate People, customers, consumers, shareholders, industry peers, and the global communities in which we live and work.

    We have created a strategy to help us communicate our beliefs and provide a roadmap for evolution and change. This is the first time we’ve published a formal Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) strategy. It sets the roadmap for our journey to further evolve the culture of our organization into one of belonging. Learn more about how we are taking action below.

    We will report the measures of our success and progress annually. Our focus on creating an organization where people feel they belong will be measured by the responses to our annual engagement and pulse surveys, such as the Colgate Connect Survey, as well as our DE&I training mandate and the establishment of DE&I metrics in our managers’ individual objectives.

    We also feel a responsibility to support the growth and development of diverse suppliers. We have a supplier diversity program with a goal to increase our spend to 10 percent with Tier 1 North American Suppliers by 2025, with companies owned and operated by minorities, women, veterans, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, and people with disabilities. It is important our supply base represents the communities in which we work. Supporting diverse suppliers creates jobs with the community and helps us positively impact more people.

    “As Colgate People, we commit ourselves to a workplace where we meet one another with respect and treat one another with dignity.” Hear more from Colgate’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Noel Wallace.

    We believe DE&I are imperative to the long term success of our company. Our journey has just begun.


    • We have joined CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace. This provides our company with a powerful platform to collaborate with organizations that share our commitment to DE&I while more effectively sharing best practices across the 900+ member companies.
    • Colgate honored an important and meaningful day known as Juneteenth or Freedom Day, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, with a Town Hall on Racism in America. The session featured a panel of Colgate leaders and external guest speakers in a discussion on racism and how we can better support the Black and African American community.
    Be Kind Like
    • Minority Business News USA has recognized our Supplier Diversity team as 2020 Supplier Diversity All-Stars. The team’s dedication demonstrates how we’re supporting minority and women-owned suppliers, a key pillar of our 2025 DE&I Strategy.

    • In honor of Dia da Consciência Negra (Black Conscious Day), Colgate Brazil hosted a Diversity Week, bringing leaders and experts from inside and outside Colgate together to discuss how we can continue improving racial equality and inclusion for our teams and the communities we serve. This work will continue into 2021 with a focus on talent acquisition and awareness building.

    women in manufacturing

    The North America Supply Chain has launched a new Colgate “Women in Manufacturing” award program to recognize talented women who contribute outstanding results to our company and who live our values by making time to give back to our communities. Congratulations to Cristi Beyer, Finance Team Lead, Hill’s, Topeka, KS, Rachel Collinge, Factory Performance & Reliability, Hill’s, Emporia, KS, Kristine Luedke, Shift Support, Tom’s of Maine, and Carrie Metzger, Area Leader, Colgate, Cambridge, OH.

    Cristi Beyer

    Cristi Beyer

    Rachel Collinge

    Rachel Collinge

    Kristine Luedke

    Kristine Luedke

    Carrie Metzger

    Carrie Metzger

    • In honor of Women’s History Month, Colgate Women’s Network (CWN) Park Avenue and Global DE&I invited all employees to volunteer with American Corporate Partners (ACP), a national, non-profit organization dedicated to helping military service members transition to the private sector through one-on-one mentoring with business leaders. ACP’s Women’s Program provides specific support to female veterans and military spouses, who face unique challenges in their career development.
  • Equal Pay

    Colgate has long been committed to pay equity and its role in fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. We pay all Colgate People at a level commensurate with their role, work location, individual performance and experience, irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, or any other category protected by law. Consistent with these values, Colgate conducts an annual U.S.-based pay analysis for gender and race. Acknowledging that comparing pay based on race/ethnicity is challenging on a global basis, in 2020, Colgate also conducted a global gender-based pay analysis. Our results confirm that in the United States, Colgate has achieved statistical pay equity for gender and race. Globally, there is a less than 1% unexplained difference in pay between women and men, and we are committed to continuing our work to close that gap.

  • Supplier Diversity

    Our Supplier Diversity program is embedded in our U.S.-based organization with clear goals to drive growth. We believe we have a responsibility to support the growth and development of diverse suppliers. We have a supplier diversity program with a goal to increase our spend to 10 percent with Tier 1 North American Suppliers by 2025, with companies owned and operated by minorities, women, veterans, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, and people with disabilities. We believe a more diverse supplier network is a better network for us. It is important that our suppliers represent the communities in which we work. Additionally, we believe supplier diversity increases the breadth and stability of our supply chain across direct and indirect spend. Supporting diverse suppliers creates jobs within the community and helps us positively impact more people.

    We drive performance through our quarterly Supplier Diversity Forums, and we collaborate with our suppliers to support our goals. We encourage our procurement teams to seek suppliers that add value and innovation while also delivering cost savings.

    To support our supplier diversity goals, our teams have set objectives, such as inclusion of diversity spend requirements in contracts with first-tier suppliers, maximizing second-tier spend opportunities and executing targeted supplier day forums to engage and build relationships. In 2020, we spent approximately 5.5% percent of our total U.S. procurement spend of nearly $3 billion with diverse suppliers.

    • We continue to increase the number of diverse suppliers we engage with. In 2020, we facilitated the diverse supplier certification process for one of our main transportation companies, Pohl Transportation, Inc., to be designated as a Disabled Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE). Pohl Transportation provides freight services for our Hill’s North America business. With our mentoring, guidance and training, Pohl Transportation was able to obtain this certification, continuing to expand our relationship with diverse suppliers.

    Supplier Diversity Recognition

    Minority Business News USA has recognized our Supplier Diversity team as 2020 Supplier Diversity All-Stars. The team’s dedication demonstrates how we’re supporting minority and women-owned suppliers, a key pillar of our 2025 DE&I Strategy.

  • Environment Health & Safety

    The health and safety of our employees, our customers, and the communities in which we operate is paramount in all we do―our goal is zero harm. Colgate People around the world are committed to maintaining healthy and safe working conditions in our facilities and to keeping our business operations environmentally sound. We have improved our safety-related incentive mechanisms by linking compensation to leading indicating metrics to drive a robust safety culture. These metrics include training completion, physical inspections, corrective action completion, behavioral observations, and participation in activities that engage employees.

    2020 presented unique challenges, as we had to quickly transition our programs and processes to address the COVID-19 pandemic. We modified our Health Incident Management Plan (HIMP) to address COVID-19 and established specific actions related to response, prevention and mitigation. Key elements of the HIMP include requirements for our facilities to protect our workforce, visitors, contractors, and temporary employees, specifically - temperature/symptom screening at entrance, maintain social distancing, use of face masks, handwashing, respiratory hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection.


    The HIMP also provides direction on contact tracing, testing, vaccination preparation, and details on minimizing potential exposure.Our response enabled us to support our customers while protecting our workforce.

    Our Environment Health & Safety (EHS) & Human Resources teams developed coordinated efforts to educate the families of our employees on the importance of prevention and being vigilant in the community. The campaigns included educational materials, masks, sanitizers, and fun items for children - coloring books, building your own mask kits, and other entertaining activities.

    safe at home care kits

    To ensure a consistent, integrated approach, our Executive Crisis Management Team (ECMT) was called to action. The ECMT provides global direction and guidance to our division and site leaders. A People Relations sub-team was also called to action to provide tactical plans and respond to questions and issues as they arose. The ECMT and People Relations’ teams consist of cross-functional representation, and are positioned to make quick decisions to protect our people, our operations, and our business. The People Relations team addresses issues including employee communication, training, technical management of Covid-19 employee cases, coordination of functional responsibilities related to COVID-19, and space and site management.

    Despite the pandemic, we continue to maintain world-class safety performance, while focusing on ensuring higher levels of control for critical risk tasks.  Our program has three basic tenets: Risk Reduction, Leadership at all Levels, and Culture & Engagement.


    To learn more, see our EHS Policy Statement.

    We continue to maintain a robust EHS Management System and EHS Global Standards. The EHS Management System contains key provisions for our requirements that includes self assessments and inspection, management of change, training, documentation, and EHS leadership expectations. Other key elements are included as well. We annually evaluate our EHS Management System with a third party vendor to ensure it is equivalent to benchmark consensus standards, such as ISO 45001:2018 or ISO 14001:2015. Sites are required to develop appropriate programs to comply with Company Standards and applicable regulatory requirements. We maintain an EHS audit program that is executed by our employees and a third party provider. During 2020, we transitioned to a virtual audit process for our full and verification audits. We were able to leverage technology solutions to effectively complete five full audits and eight verification audits.

    Gaps identified during the audit process are input into a global system, with appropriate actions assigned by the site. Actions are tracked to closure. Sites update their action plans on a quarterly basis. Our operations are evaluated annually to ensure occupational health exposures are well controlled. Any identified exposures are managed using the hierarchy of controls. Closure of previously identified exposures is verified by a global third-party industrial hygiene provider.


    Our 2020 safety results showed improved performance for our total recordable rate (TRR). Our total recordable rate (TRR) was 0.19 (80 recordable incidents), down from 0.20 in 2019. Our lost workday case rate (LWCR) was 0.05 (23 lost workday incidents), which matched our 2019 results. In 2020, we experienced 24 accidents – ranging from fractures to hospitalizations – which we consider “serious” according to the Colgate Accident/Incident Reporting and Recordkeeping Standard. During 2020, we unfortunately experienced a fatality involving a third party contractor at a site in India. Colgate accident statistics includes employees, temporary workers and tenant contractors. For serious accidents, we also report contractor and visitor incidents.


    In 2020, we received independent third party verification of our health and safety data collection and reporting processes as well as the data itself. As part of this project, the number of hours worked, number of lost-time incidents, number of recordable incidents and number of occupational fatalities were verified at select sites to ensure sites are properly recording incidents, and the system properly accounts for those incidents meeting Colgate reporting requirements.

    2020 Safety Highlights

    Risk-Based Management

    We continue to sharpen our focus on risk-based safety management with a goal to eliminate serious incidents and fatalities. This approach involves evaluating the risk severity for tasks conducted in our operations, and ensuring the appropriate controls are in place to prevent an adverse outcome. In 2019, our program emphasized establishing and communicating appropriate controls to reduce and mitigate critical risks and serious incidents and fatalities. This expectation has been formally incorporated into our EHS Management System and Audit Program.

    EHS Technology Solutions

    In 2020, we established a cross-functional team to assess, evaluate and fast-track technology solutions. Although the primary focus was for COVID-19 solutions, the team’s charter targeted the selection of technologies that offered post-pandemic applications. For example, the team vetted a contact tracing/social distancing application that also has functionality to alert individuals of at-risk ergonomic positions. This approach enabled quick response to address pandemic technology needs, while establishing longer term solutions that address EHS or operational needs. We were able to quickly leverage available technology solutions to support virtual auditing - this included tools used by the site to present site activities to the virtual auditors, sharing of EHS files between the site and virtual auditors, and conducting virtual interviews with standard owners.

    Occupational Health

    We have established appropriate Occupational Medical Standards designed to assess medical surveillance requirements/needs for employees potentially exposed to chemical, physical and/or biological agents. The Occupational Medical Standards work in concert with the Colgate Industrial Hygiene Standards. Additionally, our sites are required to adhere to all applicable local legislative requirements.

    Reducing Noise, Dust and Chemical Exposures

    Colgate continues to strive to reduce noise, dust and chemical exposures at our facilities.  Our goal is to reduce the number of people who must wear hearing protection or chemical cartridge respirators to reduce their exposure below the applicable acceptable limit. 

    We continue to push towards reducing mandatory use of hearing and respiratory protection and have included this as an element of the 2025 Sustainability Target, Striving for Zero Harm.


    Critical Risk Top 10

    In 2019, Colgate launched an enterprise-wide, integrated EHS risk reduction strategy directed at minimizing impacts of elements that have been historically linked to adverse events and outcomes.  The program challenges our sites globally to assess the state of the current programs, assess risk and controls in-place and ensure the process is sustainable. Wherever possible, sites are expected to leverage higher levels of control to mitigate risk - engineering, substitution and/or elimination. Despite the pandemic, sites are tracking towards closing the required elements.

    Our global sites are working on a multi-year plan to ensure that robust systems and controls are in place to address and mitigate potential risks.  Updates are reported quarterly into a Corporate tracking system and presented at budget and business reviews.


    Critical Risk Reduction initiative

    Colgate’s plant in Rillieux, France provided training on the proper use of platforms for accessing  safely the top of raw material trucks during delivery. The platform allows raw materials to offload in a safer manner.

    2020 Safety Week Highlights

    Each year, we hold a company-wide Safety Week during which we share best practices and refresh our commitment to a robust health and safety culture grounded in our EHS Guiding Principles. 2020 presented unique challenges to implement Safety Week actions, while maintaining social distancing and remaining vigilant of the potential COVID-19 exposure risks.  Our sites generated impactful activities that focused on three primary themes: non-standard, non-routine tasks; yard safety; and elevated noise.  This week offers an opportunity for our sites to reinforce foundational programs, and address global areas of focus.   Each site’s own culture drives a platform that helps sites reinvigorate our value of Caring.

    Our manufacturing facilities focused on learning about non-standard & non-routine tasks
    in the manufacturing lines and reinforcing proper use of Jogging Systems & Lockout Tagout


    Guatemala City, Guatemala


    Jaguare, Brazil

  • Responsible Sourcing

    Colgate’s Third Party Code of Conduct conveys our expectations regarding the ethical conduct we expect from our suppliers and business partners, and all other third parties with whom we work. The strength of our reputation is based, not only on our own conduct, but also on the actions of those with whom we do business. For that reason, we aspire to work only with third parties who share our values and reflect the same high ethical standards.

    Colgate’s Third Party Code of Conduct establishes our expectations for suppliers and business partners in a number of critical areas, including labor practices and universal human rights, protecting the environment, health and safety, and ethical dealings. Sections of the Third Party Code are modeled on, or contain language from, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the standards of the International Labor Organization.

    Assessing and Managing Supplier Risk

    As a multinational company with a global supply chain, adverse actions and events associated with our supply chain could affect our reputation as a responsible company. To manage the risk to the company and to the workers in our supply chain, we have a formal process to identify and manage social, ethical and environmental risks in our supply chain and with other business partners.

    Colgate’s Supplier Responsible Sourcing Assessment (SRSA) program requires selected suppliers and business partners to complete a self-assessment focused on labor practices, human rights, worker health and safety, environmental management and business integrity. Risk factors considered in the selection of suppliers to participate in the program include: geographic risks (using the Verisk Maplecroft Risk Indexes), Colgate’s in-country knowledge, industry-associated risks and business criticality to our operations. Through the use of a supplier risk assessment scorecard, selected suppliers and business partners are scored against critical risk factors to determine the need to conduct a social compliance audit. When a supplier is assessed as high risk, a third-party audit of its facility is required. Through the SRSA program, we have assessed the performance of more than 70 percent of our suppliers in high-risk geographies since 2012, driving improved working conditions for more than 155,000 employees across our external supply chain. To date, there are currently 600 suppliers and service providers in the program and 50% have conducted a social compliance audit.

    As a member of the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex), we use the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) protocol when required to assess suppliers’ compliance with laws covering freedom of association, forced and child labor, health and safety, wages and benefits, working hours and discrimination as well as environmental and business ethics matters. Since the program’s inception in 2012, we have assessed more than 80 percent of our spend, including raw material and packaging suppliers, contract manufacturers, co-packing facilities and warehousing operations. Beginning in late 2018, we expanded our risk assessment scope to include third-party labor providers in our Asia-Pacific operations with other regions to be included in subsequent years. Internally, we have also completed assessments of all of our manufacturing facilities and conducted social compliance audits at all facilities located in high-risk geographies.

    We are also a member of AIM-PROGRESS, a global industry forum dedicated to the promotion of responsible sourcing practices and sustainable production systems.Through the principle of mutual audit recognition, suppliers share noncompetitive audit data with other manufacturing companies that often use the same suppliers, enabling us to gain information more efficiently and relieving the burden of “audit fatigue” on suppliers.

    To further drive improvement in our supply chain, we have participated in AIM-PROGRESS capacity-building sessions in Latin America and North America that are designed to improve suppliers’ social and environmental performance. In addition, we conduct similar independent, responsible sourcing training events for our suppliers.

    We do not use forced labor within our own operations, and we strive to eradicate forced labor from our supply and value chains. We are committed to the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Resolution on Forced Labor and the Priority Industry Principles (PIP). We believe that every worker should have freedom of movement, no worker should pay for a job and no worker should be indebted or coerced to work. Moreover, it is Colgate’s policy not to work with any supplier or contractor known to operate with forced labor.

    Our Global Procurement group is composed of dedicated professionals in every division of the company. We strive to develop relationships with suppliers that will help us exceed our stakeholders’ expectations for quality, service, cost effectiveness, sustainability and innovation. To learn more see Colgate’s Procurement Policies.

    In June 2017, Colgate published our disclosure statement, “Respecting Human Rights and Labor Rights: Disclosure Statements,” in compliance with requirements of the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and the UK Modern Slavery Act and consistent with the CGF Social Resolution. In 2018, to further strengthen our actions on fighting forced labor, we revised our employee Code of Conduct and our Third Party Code of Conduct to incorporate additional language reflecting our expectations on respecting human and labor rights and commitment to the CGF PIP. In addition, we published a Third-Party Labor Provider Recruitment and Employment Standard and a labor provider risk assessment methodology with the objective of establishing expectations and evaluating the risk of forced labor where third party employees, such as temporary workers, are working in our operations.

    Conflict Minerals

    Colgate has a Policy on Conflict Minerals and supports ending the violence and human rights violations by armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and neighboring countries that have been funded in part by proceeds from the mining of cassiterite, columbite-tantalite (coltan), wolframite and gold, including their derivatives tin, tantalum, and tungsten (3TGs).

  • Handwashing Education

    The simple act of washing hands with soap is one of the most effective ways to prevent disease transmission, especially among children. However, handwashing with soap is not always widely practiced. As a leading marketer of bar and liquid hand soaps, we, through our Protex, Palmolive and Softsoap brands, are working with public health officials, academia, local schools, and clinics to educate millions of children and their families about the health and hygiene benefits of handwashing with soap. Our global handwashing program provides educational materials and sample products to schools and communities, and builds awareness through advertising and public relations campaigns. In some countries, we teach handwashing as part of our Bright Smiles, Bright Futures (BSBF) oral care education program, building education about proper handwashing into the oral care curriculum and messaging. Like the oral care component of BSBF, the program creates shared value for both our company and society, helping to improve health outcomes while building brand awareness and reputation for our Palmolive and Protex soap brands. In 2020, we reached more than 28 million people through advertising, in store activation, social media campaigns, community events, and Clean Hands, Good Health preschool educational programs.

    Our Personal Care Products Global Marketing and Insights team hosted a global segmentation study across the United States, Australia, Brazil and Spain to identify the pain points of people with regards to hand health in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team spent over 1,000 hours interviewing people online and conducting a deep dive into peoples’ relationships with hand health. This provided key insights to identify unmet user needs. This study led to six global opportunity spaces and a partnership with our research and development team to identify future innovations.

    Supporting Our Commitments

    Colgate was one of the nine founding members of the Global Handwashing Day campaign with other organizations such as the World Bank and UNICEF. Celebrated on October 15th, Global Handwashing Day drives awareness of the vital importance of handwashing with soap and its impact on health.

    GHD Logo
    GHp Cover
    • We are partnering with the Global Handwashing Partnership to help build healthy, sustainable handwashing habits among children. We are featured in their newly-released Handwashing Handbook with a case study on the creation and distribution of our #SafeHands bars of soap and outreach efforts. See the news here.
    • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we quickly mobilized five of our manufacturing plants on three continents to produce more than 26 million bars of specially packaged with instructions on proper handwashing. The soap bars were distributed by our network of partners to communities in 28 countries. We reached over 1.5 billion people on proper handwashing techniques by encouraging them to take the #SafeHands Challenge.
    • In North America, we conducted campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of handwashing hygiene in preserving good health and provide education in proper handwashing techniques with our Softsoap and Irish Spring brands. We reached 340 million impressions through digital and public relations activity. We partnered with local and national charities to donate health and hygiene products, including #SafeHands bars of soap. We also worked through the BSBF oral education program to provide educational materials and products to children and their families.
    • In Europe, we reached more than 25 million people through advertising, media campaigns, community events, and educational programs promoting hand washing. One example was our 10 day celebration around Global Handwashing Day with Palmolive and Unicura brands. We partnered with retailers to raise awareness and reinforce good hygiene habits among the community. Handwashing stations were used to teach proper techniques and talk about the importance of hand hygiene in preserving general health. The engagement campaign included hundreds of stores, online and social media, reaching 20,000 people.
    • In 2020, we reached 3.3 million people in Australia and New Zealand, through advertising, media campaigns, and educational programs in schools. One example was through our partnership with Woolworth Australia; engagement included in-store campaigns providing education and promoting handwashing awareness around Global Handwashing Day.
    • Through the Palmolive brand’s Clean Hands, Good Health program in the United Kingdom, we promote handwashing awareness to children and their families by providing pre-school education kits with posters, storybooks and teachers’ guides. The program also includes communications through web resources and online and social media engagement. Each year, Clean Hands, Good Health builds awareness around Global Handwashing Day. In 2020, we distributed 450,000 pre-school education kits, reaching 15,000 classrooms.
  • Oral Health Education

    Our Position

    As part of our 2020 Sustainability Strategy, we are committed to contributing to the communities where we live and work. As a key part of this commitment, we bring toothpaste, toothbrushes, oral health education, free dental screenings and treatment referrals to more than 80 countries around the world through Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® (BSBF), our flagship corporate responsibility initiative. In doing so, children and their families benefit from improved health and Colgate builds brand value by engaging with consumers in the communities where they live.


    The cornerstone of BSBF is its award-winning educational curriculum. Developed by global experts, the multicultural education materials help illustrate how to maintain healthy teeth and gums and the curriculum is implemented in over 80 countries and 30 languages each year. In several countries, the program materials are part of the permanent school curriculum.


    Join our Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® team and see how Colgate is providing underserved children with the skills they need to take care of their smiles around the world.

    Through meaningful partnerships with retailers, governments and other key stakeholders, our BSBF program strives to give access to children without basic dental care and oral health education.

    Six key initiatives drive the award-winning BSBF program:

    1. In-School - We partner with local schools, Ministries of Health and Ministries of Education to organize oral health education classes and provide products. In many countries, BSBF materials have become part of the permanent school curriculum.

    2. Community Relations - In some countries, BSBF is mobile. In the United States, BSBF’s fleet of nine mobile dental vans travel to rural and urban communities to provide oral health education, free dental screenings and treatment referrals to underserved children, traveling to over 1,000 towns and reaching more than ten million children and families in a typical year.

    3. Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)/Trade Partner - With retail partners, such as Walmart, BSBF engages consumers in stores and online.

    4. Professional Partnerships - We partner with government health agencies, non-profit organizations (NPOs) and dental associations to expand the reach of oral care education around the world.

    5. DigitalEducational resources are provided both in stores and online, including downloadable teachers’ guides, story books, wall posters, family take home brochures, videos, songs and oral health games.

    6. Employee Engagement - We often involve our employees in BSBF programs, providing opportunities to volunteer in the community or to teach their families about oral health. In 2020, our employees worldwide continued to volunteer through BSBF and gave back to the local communities where we do business.

    Our Actions

    Thanks to progress made in 2020, BSBF has reached more than 1.3 billion children and their families since 1991. This is made possible by partnering with educators, parents, dental professionals, academic institutions, government and non-profit organizations, such as the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (ACFF), the American Dental Association (ADA), the Global Child Dental Fund, the National Dental Association (NDA) and Save the Children, among others.

    Our employees ensure programs are tailored to local markets and provide the resources, staff and partnerships needed to make a lasting impact. For example, we partner with Brazil’s Ministry of Health to train “Community Health Agents” to teach oral care and handwashing education in the community. Over 35,000 agents have been trained since the program’s inception in 2014, reaching over 14 million people in 27 cities.

    Our Results

    Each year, we strive to reach over 60 million children in nearly 300,000 schools around the world. In 2020, we exceeded our goal and reached over 100 million children. Over 25,000 dental professionals helped us reach an additional seven million children through professional activities. We have reached over 1.3 billion children since 1991. We are proud that in 2021, we will celebrate 30 years of the BSBF program, which builds “shared value” for both us and society, enabling us to make a significant impact in the communities where we live and work while engaging with consumers to build our brand value. The success of the BSBF program makes us optimistic that real advances in oral health are possible – now that’s something to smile about!

    2020 Highlights

    • In the United States, BSBF repurposed its nine U.S.-based mobile dental vans to distribute 1.4 million bars of soap, as well as other hygiene products, to school districts and food banks to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
    • In Brazil, BSBF worked with the São Paulo's Secretary of Education to create free virtual classrooms to teach 3.5 million public school children and their families about the importance of toothbrushing and handwashing. The 25-minute lessons were broadcasted live with demonstrations as part of São Paulo's official class schedule.
    • In North America, BSBF introduced a new method of education by joining classrooms across the country virtually to continue providing important oral health education. Known as a “Virtual Van Visit,” the program features different educational opportunities, including brushing and flossing demonstrations, handwashing and virtual book reading, all catered to meet the needs of the classroom and community. In less than six months, the team conducted over 500 Virtual Van Visit presentations, educating over 75,000 children and families on the importance of oral health.
    • In the Caribbean, as classrooms across the islands were shut down due to the pandemic, BSBF was able to bring oral health education to homes through its Sonrisas Brillantes Virtual Club. By partnering with local influencers, the team was able to create a digital community and engage kids and their families in hands-on activities via Facebook, YouTube and other social media channels.
    • Globally, we are expanding our partnership with Save the Children, a leading humanitarian organization for children and an expert on child health, education and protection. Together, we're delivering on our BSBF growth goals, bringing more bright smiles and more bright futures to vulnerable children around the world.


    An important element of our sustainability and social impact strategy is our engagement and collaboration with external partners, which complement our strong internal capabilities. These partnerships are important to us to help us achieve our ambitions in improving children’s dental hygiene.

  • Helping Pets Find a Home

    Hill’s mission is to help enrich and lengthen the special relationship between people and their pets. Through the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love™ program, we partner with animal shelters across the U.S. to provide discounted Hill’s pet food, training, digital tools and content, as well as shelter visuals. For pet owners, Hill’s provides Science Diet adoption kits with coupons and access to a new pet parent website. Hill’s believes the combination of loving shelter care as well as premium nutrition helps to make pets healthy and happy so they are ready to go to their forever home. In 2020, through this partnership with animal shelters, we provided pet food with a retail value of more than $3.9 million, and helped more than 578,000 dogs and cats find new homes.

    Hill’s also partners to provide emergency pet food shipments to shelters, veterinary hospitals and other non-profits caring for pets in the aftermath of disasters through its Disaster Relief Network. In 2020, Hill’s responded to 17 emergencies across the U.S. and shipped over 777,000 pounds of pet food to more than 253 unique organizations in the affected communities. This included more than 500,000 pounds of pet food provided directly for COVID-19 relief, much of which was distributed through community pet food pantries to help keep pets with their families during the pandemic.

    Hills People
    • In 2020, hundreds of HIll’s and Colgate People across the U.S. supported Hill’s efforts to help more than 140,000 pets find loving homes in August as Hill’s again served as a national sponsor of NBCUniversal’s “Clear The Shelters” nationwide pet adoption campaign. Virtual volunteers raised awareness for local shelters and highlighted Hill’s longstanding Food, Shelter & Love program. The program has helped more than 11 million pets find homes since 2002 and aims to reach 15 million by 2025. Check out this LinkedIn article to learn more about Hill’s commitment to pets in need.
    • Hill’s partnered with The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and Humane Canada to provide over $480,000 in grants to more than 80 animal shelters impacted by COVID-19 in the U.S. and Canada. In Italy, Hill’s has donated 2325 kg of nutritional support to facilities in the northern Lombardy region. In Brazil, we've donated six months of food to under-resourced pet shelters. Learn more about the Hill's response to COVID-19 here.
  • Community Giving

    Colgate is a caring, innovative growth company that’s reimagining a healthier future for all people, their pets and our planet. To help fulfill our purpose, we provide financial and in-kind donations to nonprofit organizations around the world, and our people contribute their time and talent through Colgate-sponsored volunteer activities, such as our annual “Colgate Cares Day.”

    Colgate’s focus areas include:

    1. Achieving a zero cavity future;

    2. Creating educational pathways for diverse and underrepresented secondary students and professionals, including dentists, dental hygienists and veterinarians;

    3. Providing Food, Shelter & Love for pets everywhere;

    4. Exercising strong environmental stewardship; and

    5. Providing disaster relief & emergency care in Colgate communities.

    2020 Contributions
    approximately $57 million*

    * Cash and in-kind contributions to charitable organizations, including spending for the Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program in Colgate’s 20 largest subsidiaries (by oral care sales).

    Below are some examples of how we are already hard at work pursuing our goals.

    • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we quickly mobilized five of our manufacturing plants on three continents to produce and donate more than 26 million bars of soap specially packaged with instructions on proper handwashing. The soap bars were distributed by our network of partners to communities in 28 countries. We reached over 1.5 billion people on proper handwashing techniques by encouraging them to take the #SafeHands Challenge.
    • $1 million contribution to The University of Pennsylvania Dental School of Medicine to create the Colgate Innovation Laboratory, helping to advance the dental care of people with disabilities.
    • $210,000 to initiate the endowed Freeman, Grant, Franklin Scholarship at Harvard School of Dental Medicine, named in recognition of prominent African American dentists and in support of students regardless of their financial means.
    • $25,000 to endow The Rutgers School of Dental Medicine’s New Horizons Program, in memory of the late Colgate executive Dr. Anthony Volpe, to introduce students to non-traditional oral healthcare careers.
    • Founded in 1973, the Colgate Women’s Games is the largest indoor amateur track series for girls from elementary school through college and beyond in the U.S. This program has helped young girls and women develop a strong sense of personal achievement and self-esteem, value teamwork and appreciate the importance of education. Colgate covers all costs associated with the games and provides educational grants-in-aid. In 2020, we decided to postpone the games for the health and safety of its community, and our team is working hard to enhance the benefits of the program and stay connected with the Colgate Women’s Games community.
    • For the past 2 years, Colgate has supported 60 water wells at schools in 5 counties (Kisumu, Siaya, Kakamega, Migori and Kwale) working with WellBoring, a UK Non Governmental Organisation (NGO). The partnership has benefited approximately 60,000 lives. Due to the severity of the water challenge across rural communities, in 2021 Colgate aims to donate a further 30 Water Wells where thousands of pupils, their teachers, and their families may all gain access to clean drinking water.
    • To help aid healthcare professionals on the front lines, Tom's of Maine donated $60,000 and nearly $500,000 worth of personal care products to Direct Relief, a humanitarian organization providing protective gear and supplies to communities hardest hit by COVID-19. The organization is also supporting 50 small businesses across the U.S. through its #NatureNurtures video experiences to help us all feel more connected, mindful and healthy.

    Our product donation finds a home in Guatemala.

    • Our caring value was put to work in the wake of the recent hurricanes Iota and Eta in Central America. Our teams in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua mobilized quickly to help those affected, working with local relief organizations to donate much-needed oral care, personal care and home care products. And, in the Philippines, where we endured Typhoon Vamco, our teams donated products through local non-governmental organizations and offered an employee donation match to assist affected families.
    • There was plenty of optimism in action during Colgate Cares Day this year as the U.S. pivoted to virtual volunteering. Hundreds of Colgate People in New York and New Jersey had the opportunity to volunteer in our communities with nonprofit organizations to connect us to our neighbors and to projects that serve those in need. 1,500 New York-area employees had the opportunity to participate in a virtual test-and-learn pilot, including our Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer , Noel Wallace.

Sustainability Report Archives


Colgate's Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2019

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Colgate's Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2018

Download PDF