Learn about the progress we’ve made on our 2020 Sustainability Planet Commitments.
Deforestation is one of our key sustainability issues. It is critical from a business, social, environmental and reputational risk standpoint. Our policies and commitments help us manage the deforestation risks in our supply chain for pulp and paper, palm oil and its derivatives, soy and soy oil, and beef tallow. In line with Colgate’s values, we are committed to protecting the global environment, enhancing the communities where people live, and operating in compliance with government laws and regulations. Because we share a vision with our key stakeholders for a future without deforestation, we are committed to being transparent with our employees, shareholders, suppliers, NGOs and other stakeholders about our commitments, challenges and the progress we have made in this area.
We continue to make significant progress in policy development on commodity sourcing and our actions toward ending deforestation. Contributing to this progress in 2020 is our active membership in the Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) recently established Forest Positive Coalition of Action. As a member of the Coalition, we have been actively engaged in the development of commodity roadmaps, tools and guidance supporting supplier engagement, No Deforestation, No Planting on Peat and No Exploitation (NDPE) policy implementation as well as deforestation monitoring and response with suppliers and our upstream supply chain. We believe the implementation of an effective deforestation program is critical so that we can manage the impact our activities have on ecosystems and habitats, meet stakeholders’ expectations, protect our reputation and comply with regulations.
Driving Sustainable Sourcing
As a global manufacturer we have global value chains and are aware of our responsibility to engage our suppliers in our targets. We have a clear commitment to achieve net zero deforestation and will prioritize two of our main commodities, palm and soy. We strive to accelerate industry transformation through collaboration with our suppliers and partners to improve the entire value chain of our products.
Included below are the key elements detailing our approach and progress for the key commodities included under Colgate’s no deforestation program: palm oil, soy, pulp and paper, and tallow.
Palm Oil and Derivatives
Palm oil is the most widely produced vegetable oil in the world and continues to grow in its use, replacing other vegetable oils. More than 80 percent of the world’s palm oil comes from Indonesia and Malaysia, where land is sometimes converted from forest to palm plantations, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions, impacts on biodiversity and social issues linked to deforestation.
Colgate uses palm oil, palm kernel oil and palm oil derivatives in some of our soap products, toothpastes, antiperspirants, deodorants and household cleaners.
Colgate has specific commitments to source palm oil, palm kernel oil and palm derivatives that are responsibly produced and that can be traced from plantation to product. As we strive for zero deforestation in our palm oil operations and activities, we will partner with stakeholders and our suppliers to build a transparent global supply chain that meets the following criteria:
- No deforestation of High Carbon Stock (HCS) forest
- No deforestation of High Conservation Value (HCV) areas
- No use of fire for land clearance
- No new development on peat lands, regardless of depth
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
- No exploitation of people or local communities
Eliminating deforestation and exploitation in the palm oil supply chain is very complex and requires many activities working together to create a solution; this includes the sourcing of certified sustainable palm oil, traceability of palm oil back to the mills and plantations, engagement with suppliers and the upstream supply chain on performance against our policy and engagement in on the ground sector or landscape projects working with smallholders and local communities and government to drive sustainable change in the palm oil industry.
For 2020, we continue to increase our percentage of physically certified palm oil, palm kernel oil and palm oil derivatives targeting more than 80 percent of volumes physically certified and more than 95 percent of our direct volumes traceable to the origin mill. Colgate also continues to support on the ground transformation projects in Indonesia, Malaysia and Latin America. To better understand our work on palm oil and for updates on our activities, please see our specific policy on Responsible and Sustainable Sourcing of Palm Oils.
Colgate uses soy and soy oil as ingredients in certain products. We currently source these materials from the United States and South America. The United States, Brazil and Argentina account for more than 70 percent of the global soy supply. In Brazil, soy production has been linked to deforestation of highly biodiverse forest regions and its cultivation has contributed significantly to the clearance of the Amazon forest, the Cerrado, the Atlantic Forest, the Gran Chaco and the Chiquitano.
We are committed to using responsibly and sustainably sourced soy products from South America, which is considered the highest risk area for soy products. We will procure soy products that are responsibly and sustainably sourced and are certified by credible certification schemes, including Roundtable for Responsible Soy, Proterra or equivalent organizations to verify that the soy Colgate sources pose a low risk of contributing to deforestation or conversion.
For material procured in Brazil, our primary source, we use soy and soy oil suppliers that are in compliance with the Brazil Forest Code, including registration in the Rural Environmental Registry.
In 2020, we launched a commodity specific Soy Policy, completed an initial mapping of our indirect volume for soy and conducted initial traceability for our soy volumes originating from Latin America. To better understand our work on Soy and for updates on our activities, please see our Responsible Soy Procurement Policy.
Pulp and Paper
Pulp and Paper Approach
Colgate is committed to sourcing paper and packaging from recycled sources and responsibly managed forests that do not contribute to deforestation. Much of Colgate’s packaging materials utilize wood-derived or paper-based products. Approximately 92 percent of our pulp and paper is recycled and/or certified as sourced from responsibly managed forests.
As part of our responsible sourcing strategy, we continue working with our partner, Rainforest Alliance, an international non-profit organization, to assess our supply network for paper-based materials. We are also actively working with our suppliers to implement our longstanding strategy to increase the volume of certified or recycled pulp and paper-based materials each year. Our partnership with Rainforest Alliance helps us engage with our suppliers to increase the use of certified materials, giving preference to suppliers that use pulp and paper compliant with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification standards. Rainforest Alliance also supports mapping our supply chain to identify hot spot areas, which present the highest risk to our business, the environment or the local community.
We will continue partnering with our suppliers to build a low-risk global supply chain that meets the following criteria for pulp and paper:
- No illegally harvested wood
- No exploitation of people or local communities
- No deforestation of High Conservation Value (HCV) areas
- No sourcing wood from forests that were converted to plantations or non-forest use after December 31, 2010
In addition, we have taken additional steps to ensure compliance with the U.S. Lacey Act, which requires all product and disposable packaging to be composed of legally sourced wood or other plant-based material.
Pulp and Paper Progress
Our partnership with Rainforest Alliance supports the execution of our responsible sourcing strategy for pulp and paper and drives transformation in our supply chain.
We are focusing first on the following pulp and paper based materials:
- Paper-based cartons
- Corrugated materials for shipping
- Paper-based labels
- Corrugated materials for displays
- Dryer sheet products and cleaning wipes
Our approach to mitigating risk is to give preference to recycled or certified pulp and paper based packaging materials including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified materials.
In 2020, we, with support from Rainforest Alliance, completed a risk assessment of 100 percent of our pulp and paper packaging spend. The assessment process surveyed our suppliers on the recycled content, certification status and country of origin for pulp and paper based packaging sourced to Colgate. Based on the risk assessment we have identified potential high risk materials and are working with our suppliers to develop action plans to mitigate those potential sourcing risks which may include converting to recycled content, sourcing certified materials or sourcing from lower risk geographies.
Currently, approximately 84 percent of Colgate’s paper and board packaging materials by weight globally come from recycled sources. Colgate will continue our long-standing strategy to increase the use of recycled materials as well as our efforts to optimize the use of other packaging materials.
To learn more about our work on pulp and paper and for updates on our activities, please see the Pulp and Paper Responsible Sourcing section in our No Deforestation Policy.
Tallow, a cattle byproduct, is a key ingredient in bar soap production. Colgate sources tallow from suppliers in North America, Latin America and Europe. In Brazil, there are concerns that rising demand for beef as a food source is prompting farmers to clear parts of the Amazon rainforest for cattle ranching.
As a result, we mainly focus on the tallow sourced from Brazil, and work with our Brazilian suppliers to transform practices in our tallow supply chain. We require our suppliers in Brazil to:
- certify that they follow environmental and social requirements set forth by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources; and
- confirm that their operations are conducted in conformance with the Minimum Criteria for Industrial Scale Cattle Operations in the Brazilian Amazon Biome, which aims to stop deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.
To learn more about our work on Tallow and for updates on our progress, please see the Tallow section in our No Deforestation Policy.
An important element of our sustainability 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 to source sustainability and strive for net zero deforestation, prioritizing palm and soy.
It is Colgate’s worldwide policy to manufacture and market our products and operate our facilities so that we conform to, and often exceed, applicable environmental rules and regulations. We strive to minimize our impact on the environment and the communities in which we operate. Our environmental standards, including the management systems standard, define environmental performance expectations for Colgate facilities. All Colgate facilities have a fully implemented Environment Health and Safety (EHS) Management System covering a wide range of categories, including energy, water and waste management. Colgate’s manufacturing environmental performance goals are included in our Global Supply Chain annual objectives, which are cascaded to site-level facility managers, energy managers and EHS managers. Colgate facilities are expected to self-assess compliance with our standards and local regulations every 18 months. Corporate audits are conducted every three to five years, in partnership with a respected, third party EHS consultant. Closure progress is reported quarterly and verification audits are conducted to provide closure assurance.
At Colgate, we’re on a mission to create a healthy and sustainable future. Achieving that future means overcoming the challenge of climate change and its threat to disrupt every aspect of our lives -- from food supply to socioeconomic stability. We’ve made concerted efforts and considerable progress to reduce our carbon footprint since we began in 2002.
Accelerating Action on Climate Change is a core action of Colgate’s recently announced 2025 Sustainability Strategy. We aim to reach net zero carbon emissions across our growing business. Our goals align with the Science-Based Targets initiative, our signing of the Business Ambition for 1.5C and our commitment to Recover Better, working in concert with the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and others. We will get there by reducing CO2, or carbon dioxide, emissions and addressing Climate Change across every aspect of our value chain.
Colgate has made great progress with its climate-related goals. Colgate has:
- Reduced absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from manufacturing (scope 1&2) by approximately 38% vs. 2002(1)
- Total percentage of electricity obtained from renewable sources, 36%
- Reduced energy intensity in manufacturing by 37% vs. 2002
- Achieved 86 U.S. EPS ENERGY STAR Challenge site recognitions since 2001
- Completed 27 U.S.Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED certified projects
- Reduced GHG intensity of outbound logistics (scope 3) by 3% vs. 2019
- Reduced absolute GHG avoided from consumers saving water to be estimated (scope 3) by more than 17% from 2016-2022(2)
(1) Included in our Science-Based Climate Goal, approved in 2017 by the Science-Based Targets Initiative.
(2) Based on an estimated median value in emissions associated with consumer behaviour, relative to 2016 baseline and based on results of Save Water Campaign’s consumer survey conducted in 2020.
Underlying Colgate’s Climate Strategy is our commitment to the Science-Based Targets. Colgate’s next generation science-based climate target for scopes 1, 2 and 3 was approved by the Science-Based Target Initiative in 2020.
Colgate has the goal to:
- reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions in global operations 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030 from a 2018 base year;
- source 100% renewable electricity for its global operations by 2030;
- reduce absolute scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods and services 30% by 2025 from a 2018 base year; and
- reduce indirect use phase emissions associated with the consumer use of our products 20% by 2025 from 2016 base year
Joining 155 other companies, Colgate signed the “Recover Better” statement from the UNGC and other NGOs, urging governments to align their COVID-19 economic aid and recovery efforts with ambitious action to fight climate change.
As part of our strategy to track and reduce GHG emissions, Colgate also tracks direct and indirect CO2 emissions as well as direct nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, HFC and PFC emissions. We additionally estimate NO, or nitric oxide, emissions from Colgate’s North American and European car fleets and from the trucks that deliver Hill’s Pet Nutrition products to retail customers in vehicles that are controlled by Colgate. We track VOC data as needed to comply with local regulations.
Accelerating Action on Climate Change
To reflect our ambitious 2025 climate actions and targets, we have updated our long standing Climate Strategy.
Supply Chain Engagement
The sourcing and transportation of our ingredients and packaging account for about 9% of Colgate’s total carbon footprint. So we’re working directly with our suppliers to encourage them to assess their climate and water risks, improve energy efficiency and increase their use of renewable energy.
Our science-based target to reduce GHG emissions from purchased goods and services by 30% by 2025 versus 2018 levels reflects this commitment. Specifically, we are focused on:
- Supplier engagement
- Carbon-intensive materials
- No deforestation
We request that our key Tier I suppliers and suppliers of carbon-intensive materials participate in the CDP Supply Chain Program Climate Disclosure to help us understand and address climate effects and associated risks and opportunities in our upstream supply chain. We have participated in CDP’s Supply Chain Leadership Collaboration Project since 2008. In 2020, a total of 94 percent of invited suppliers responded to the survey. More specifically, 51 percent of our Tier I direct material suppliers, by spend, responded to the survey, including our largest raw material suppliers and contract manufacturers.
We have identified the oral care, personal care and home care raw and packaging materials that have the highest carbon footprint. This information has been shared with our Research and Development, Procurement and Commercial teams to help them identify and prioritize opportunities through material and supplier choices without negatively affecting consumer experience, quality or cost.
We also recognize that deforestation and forest degradation contribute significantly to the release of GHG. Our No Deforestation policy commits to sourcing forest commodity materials responsibly and sustainably. See “Our Commitment to No Deforestation” for more details on Colgate’s progress on policy implementation.
Net Zero Carbon Operations
We have the most control over our own global operations. Though they contribute a relatively small percentage of our total carbon footprint, we’re continuing to encourage every Colgate factory, warehouse and office to do their share. Our core targets are as follows:
- reduce manufacturing energy intensity by 25% [the amount of energy needed to manufacture each metric ton of product] by 2025 versus 2010;
- source 100% renewable electricity for our global operations by 2030; and
- become Net Zero Carbon in our global operations by 2040.
Colgate has a longstanding energy and carbon reduction program that has helped us lower GHG emissions and energy use intensity as well as increase financial savings. We are committed to decarbonizing our operations in alignment with limiting global temperature rise to align with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
To achieve these goals we will continue to focus on improving energy efficiency with our best-in-class energy reduction programs and innovations. We are also transitioning to renewable electricity via on-site generation as well as renewable electricity procurement in line with leading external standards. We will also endeavor to replace non-electric energy with lower carbon alternatives where possible, and any remaining carbon emissions in our operations will be neutralized with high quality and verified carbon removals.
Colgate’s 2020 goal was to reduce the energy intensity to manufacture our products by one-third compared to 2002. As of 2020, we exceeded this target and our global energy programs have already resulted in the reduction of energy per ton of products by 37 percent.
Global Energy Management Programs:
Our energy management system is modeled after the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR program and is implemented globally. In 2021, Colgate was named a U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for the eleventh year in a row, recognized specifically for Sustained Excellence. The following programs have contributed to the achievement of Colgate’s energy intensity reduction goal:
“Top 10” Energy Actions
For the past several years, as a way to help our global sites prioritize the most effective energy reduction activities, we have used our Top 10 Energy Actions program. Implemented over two-year periods, this program tracks progress against our ten best global energy reduction opportunities.
5% for the Planet
In 2011, Colgate initiated a program to set an annual capital expenditure budget as a way to drive investment in environmental sustainability projects across our global manufacturing sites. Our “5% for the Planet” program helps ensure that sites identify, fund and implement climate, energy, water and waste projects that drive both environmental improvement and cost savings. The program sets an annual goal to invest a minimum of five percent of our manufacturing capital expenditure budget on energy reduction, water conservation and reduction of waste to landfill. Upgrades for environmental compliance and product design are funded separately. A minimum of two percent of the manufacturing capital budget is targeted specifically toward energy reduction projects. Since inception, Colgate has invested more than $270 million in over 1,400 planet projects, delivering an estimated savings of more than $69 million.
- Energy Treasure Hunt Program
We engage people across Colgate’s operations to participate in the Energy Treasure Hunt program. Over a three-day period, 30 to 50 participants visit all areas of a facility, searching for energy waste and brainstorming opportunities to drive continuous improvement.
- In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, our Mission Hills facility in Mexico successfully completed an Energy Treasure Hunt. There was participation from both staff that was “on the ground” (while following COVID-19 safety protocols) and staff working virtually. The team was able to identify 69 energy improvement ideas with the potential to reduce the site’s energy consumption by over 7,916 MWh and CO2 emissions by more than 3,825 metric tonnes.
- Energy Reduction Teams
Colgate’s Global Energy Reduction Team leads the technical implementation of Colgate’s energy strategy in our manufacturing sites by setting annual objectives and developing tools and programs to help our sites reach their energy reduction targets. This cross-functional global team is composed of individuals with expertise and passion for reducing Colgate’s energy use and GHG emissions. For 17 years, the Global Energy Reduction Team has continued to focus on supporting our plants with many tools, activities, and initiatives. In 2019, the team supported our global Energy Treasure Hunt program and “Top 10” Energy & Water Actions program.
In 2020, Colgate launched its first Divisional Energy Team in our Latin America Division. This team's development was spurred by rising energy costs in the region. The team identified four main work streams: energy efficiency, renewable energy, technology solutions and existing projects. The team meets bi-weekly to review the implementation of new technologies, discuss partnerships with third parties and review trends in energy reduction. Due to Latin America’s success, energy teams are now being launched in all our divisions.
Sustainable and Efficient Logistics
Customer Service and Logistics teams at Colgate continue to focus on sustainable and efficient logistics initiatives around the world. Through these efforts, we are reducing costs as well as our carbon footprint, all while improving customer service.
Our sustainable and efficient logistics efforts in 2020 included initiatives such as:
- Load Optimization: Through the use of SAP Transportation Management—a tool currently in place in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Vietnam—we are automatically planning shipments to their optimal capacity. This has led to more efficient load planning and minimization in the number of shipments to deliver our products in a timely fashion. In 2021, we will be rolling out this technology for additional locations in Latin America (Andina and Central America), which will continue to drive freight planning efficiencies.
- Zero empty miles: Colgate has recognized the continual need to optimize our supply chain logistics in response to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way to distribute our products. We have partnered with other consumer goods companies to manage roundtrips in a more efficient way, which has increased productivity and reduced costs and CO2 emissions.
- Container Utilization: Hill’s Europe adjusted the stackability factor based on the product specifications and was able to implement double stacking in their ocean freight shipments, driving a decrease in the number of shipped containers.
- Paperwork reduction: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Colgate expanded e-invoicing to more subsidiaries which helped reduce the need for customers to print invoices and streamlined the delivery of shipments.
- Energy Efficiency: Colgate is working to start tracking the energy consumption for our owned warehouses. As part of this initiative, for example, we started increasing temperature control of our warehouses from 24°C to 28°C (75.2°F to 82.4°F) in our Africa-Eurasia division.
- Improving Fuel Efficiency: Colgate globally has implemented the IMO2020 new regulations for Ocean Shipping in January 2020, which reduced our sulfur oxide emission from 3.5% m/m to 0.5% m/m. Airborne sulfur oxide is a dangerous pollutant, especially near population centers, and is a leading cause for acid rain. These new emission standards lead to significant improvements in pollution derived from ships. In addition to the above, some divisions, such as Europe, have started using trucks with a mixture of diesel and biodiesel to help reduce GHGs.
- Distribution Network Optimization: By using a customer location study, which reorganizes the freight to customers through a buffer warehouse and/or new warehouse location, we reduce costs, better serve our customers and reduce our carbon footprint.
To achieve 100% renewable electricity across our operations, we have developed a Renewable Electricity Master Plan. This plan has been informed by third party energy experts providing intelligence on the available tactics to obtain renewable electricity in each of our locations. The four tactics we are focusing on are:
- On-Site Solar Generation
- Utility Green Power
- Renewable Energy Certificates
- Virtual Power Purchase Agreements
Our Renewable Electricity Master Plan includes detailed timelines and milestones for each manufacturing site and Colgate-owned warehouse and office, across the four tactics.
In 2020, four new solar installations were completed in Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Guatemala. Two additional projects began in Greece and India and the expansion of existing solar projects in Piscataway, New Jersey and Cali, Colombia also took place.
Colgate has been a U.S. EPA Green Power Partner since 2014, supporting the voluntary use of green power to reduce the environmental effects associated with conventional electricity use. In 2019, Colgate purchased 230,000 MWh of Green-e certified wind power renewable energy certificates generated from wind power farms located in Kansas. This green power purchase was recognized by the U.S. EPA Green Power Partnership Leadership Club, achieving the rank of No. 59 in the United States. The purchase cost of green power is allocated back to our facilities in proportion to their carbon emissions as a way to help assign an internal cost-of-carbon to its source.
We are working hard to reduce our CO2 emissions across our global operations. Our Mission Hills, Mexico team took a big step toward our renewable energy goals, signing a contract with CEMEX Energy to supply green power via a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
We chose to work with Eurus Wind Farm located in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Its wind power feeds renewable energy to the national electric grid. Mission Hills will use energy from the same grid.
Now, 40% of Mission Hills’ current electricity needs are met by wind power, reducing the facility’s CO2 emissions by 30%. That’s equivalent to 22 thousand tons of CO2 annually. We will continue to innovate toward our goal of sourcing 100% renewable energy.
Although Colgate uses only a small quantity of refrigerants in our air conditioning and chilled water systems, we continue to take steps to minimize refrigerant losses and transition to lower global warming potential refrigerants over time. Colgate has aligned with the Consumer Goods Forum’s resolution on refrigerants, which calls on Food and Beverage supply chains to phase out hydrofluorocarbons. Although Colgate is not in the Food and Beverage sector, we have proactively aligned our global refrigerant standard to meet the intent of the CGF’s resolution as a way to support these efforts. In addition, we developed an associated e-learning training tool to assist our global facilities in transitioning toward less carbon-intensive refrigerants.
Sustainable Products & Consumers
The predominance of our GHG emissions is associated with the consumer use of our products -- accounting for about 90% of our total carbon footprint. Therefore, our most dramatic opportunity to impact climate is in how we design our products and how consumers act when using them.
Our target is to avoid 10 million metric tons of carbon emissions associated with consumer use of our products by 2025 versus 2016.
To achieve this goal, we are focusing on the following:
- Raising consumer awareness of water conservation
- Designing packaging that either uses less plastic, is made with recycled content, or is recyclable, reusable or compostable.
- Designing products that allow consumers to use less water or temperate water
Save Water Campaign
One major initiative is Colgate’s “Save Water” consumer awareness campaign. Many people don’t make the connection between water use and carbon emissions. However, water and wastewater treatment systems are energy-intensive, so every drop of water saved means less energy used. Since launching in 2016, “Save Water” has helped consumers avoid an estimated 155 billion gallons of water and 8.3 million metric tons of GHG emissions, proving that individual actions can lead to massive impacts.
Spotlight on sustainable products
By 2025, we are aiming to eliminate one-third of new (virgin) plastic in packaging and will make all packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable. For example, in Europe, we replaced the virgin resin in our 250ml and 500ml Palmolive bodywash bottles with post-consumer recycled PET. Based on an internal life cycle analysis conducted, this helped us to reduce by 31 percent the CO2 emissions involved in the manufacturing of these bottles based on the 2020 volume.
As we accelerate our actions to reduce CO2 emissions across our value chain, Colgate teams are building climate resilience into how we do business across the globe. With an eye on both mitigation and adaptation, we seek to understand and address the risks and impacts of climate change.
Colgate has a long-standing operations risk management process that includes managing the effects of episodic climatic events, such as storms, floods, droughts and temperature extremes, to our facilities and supply chain. Climate risk is defined as part of the operational, regulatory and reputational and market risks; therefore, Colgate is committed to developing a long-term strategy to mitigate risks from climatic events. As part of this process, we assess potential climate vulnerabilities and risks to ensure our business is able to respond to and recover from climatic events. As part of our loss-prevention program, our strategic manufacturing sites are mandated to be highly protected against risks. Third-party assessments on property loss control are conducted annually for all strategic sites. Additionally, we develop and routinely update category contingency product sourcing plans.
We’re mitigating risk by reducing CO2 emissions, using more renewable energy and engaging our suppliers. Through these actions, we’re also mitigating reputational risks associated with investor, NGO and consumer expectations. Additionally, we see significant opportunity with a sharpening focus on building adaptation to protect against climate change impacts, and there is much more work to be done.
Reducing our energy use and GHG emissions also enables Colgate to mitigate costs. Since 2002, our energy reduction program has helped us avoid more than $672 million in energy costs. Managing the risks associated with climatic events, such as storms and droughts, is also important to ensure the continuity of our own operations and that of our supply chain.
Climate Scenario Analysis
In 2020, Colgate engaged with TruCost to conduct a climate-related scenario analysis to understand how climate change can impact our business and what type of actions can be taken to avoid climate risks or capture opportunities. The project covers the potential impacts of both physical risks, such as hurricanes or droughts, and the transitional risks, such as carbon pricing, regulatory requirements and impacts on Colgate’s reputation. The information collected through this research will help us prioritize our risk management activities, inform our strategy, create capacity to set an internal carbon price, better assess the return on investment for sustainability-related capital investments, align with new public reporting and disclosure frameworks, and respond in a more complete way to investor requests about the potential climate risks to our business model.
What’s it going to take to speed progress and win the race against climate change? Collaborative action across the board. No one company can or should do it alone. This is why an important element of our sustainability strategy is our engagement and collaboration with external partners, which complement our strong internal capabilities. Working together, we can and must turn the tide on climate change, ensuring that our kids will enjoy a healthy future. One worth smiling about.
We are also working with partners to accelerate action on climate change, eliminate waste, lead with zero waste facilities and drive sustainable sourcing. Colgate is proud to be contributing to and learning from the collective intelligence of our partners in sustainability, such as our retail customers with initiatives like Walmart’s Project Gigaton, NGOs like the World Resources Institute, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and CDP, coalitions like the U.S. Green Building Council, governmental programs like the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR and CPG-industry groups like The Consumer Goods Forum, which are all accelerating progress on a global scale.
In 2020, Colgate continued to work with Walmart’s Project Gigaton to support their goal to work with their suppliers to reduce 1 billion metric tons of GHG emissions from the global value chain by 2030. Through Project Gigaton, Colgate has committed to GHG goals in six areas: emissions, energy, waste, deforestation, packaging and product use. Colgate reports against these goals annually.
We also continued to collaborate with a variety of stakeholders and engaged with leading organizations to inform our climate strategy and drive continuous improvement on a broader basis through 2020. Here are just some of Colgate’s sustainability partners:
Saving water is a cornerstone of Colgate's 2025 Sustainability & Social Impact Strategy, crucial to our overall mission to create a healthy and sustainable future. Water is an ingredient in many Colgate products and required in almost every phase of products' life cycles. Clean water is also vital to the communities we serve, yet in many regions of the world, it is becoming an increasingly scarce resource. Additionally, other related issues, such as flooding, threaten to have negative consequences on our supply chains and the delivery of raw materials, as well as the finished goods to the customer.
We’re taking action to ensure water stewardship, security and resilience across our value chain, protecting ecosystems and supporting water access in our communities. That means we take care of water and conserve its use, help people gain access to safe water and mitigate risks associated with water scarcity. Between 2002 and 2020, we’ve cut in half the amount of water we use to make our products. We’ve also enlisted our suppliers, NGO partners, customers and consumers in myriad “Save Water” initiatives.
Now we’re expanding on that foundation and setting even more aggressive targets.
By 2025, our goals are to:
- Engage 100% of our priority material suppliers with operations in water-stressed regions to take action on water security
- Achieve Net Zero Water (as defined by USGBC LEED Zero Water) at our manufacturing sites in water-stressed areas (and at 100% of our manufacturing sites by 2030)
- Reduce our manufacturing water intensity by 25% versus 2010
- Design more products with less water
- Promote water conservation awareness with our “Save Water” messaging to 100% of our global consumers, with a strong focus on water-stressed areas
- Provide 1 million people with access to clean, safe water and sanitation systems
To achieve these goals, we’re taking a holistic approach, collaborating with everyone who touches our business.
Colgate has made great progress on its water-related goals. Colgate has:
- Reduced our manufacturing water intensity by 52% compared to 2002
- Reached over 500,000 people since 2013 through Water For People Forever Program™
- For the past two years, Colgate has supported 60 water wells at schools in five counties in Kenya. Our goal is to donate another 30 water wells in 2021
Our Water Stewardship Strategy
Our Water Footprint
Colgate’s water use footprint consists of the water used by our suppliers to produce the raw and packaging materials we purchase, the water used by our facilities to manufacture our products, and the water associated with consumer use of our products.
Although we continue to focus on reducing the water used in our own operations, increasingly we are making efforts to help manage water use along each step of our value chain. The results of our ongoing water footprint exercises have helped quantify the opportunity to have a positive water impact beyond our own operations.
Colgate´s 2025 Water Strategy
We continue to address supply chain water risks in several ways. We are increasing supplier engagement in our Water Stewardship Strategy by participating in programs, such as the CDP Supply Chain Program. Additionally, we are helping our product developers and procurement teams understand and identify our most water-intensive raw and packaging materials.
We invited several of our Tier I suppliers and suppliers of water-intensive materials to participate in the CDP Supply Chain Program Water Disclosure to help us understand and address water consequences and associated risks and opportunities in our upstream supply chain. In 2020, 83 percent of invited suppliers responded to the survey. More specifically, 47 percent of our Tier 1 direct material suppliers, by spend, responded to the survey, including our largest raw material suppliers and contract manufacturers.
To help reduce the water associated with the production of raw materials, we are working to identify the most water-intensive materials in each of our product categories. With this information, we are able to engage our suppliers to better assess where there are opportunities to reduce the water footprint of our products through feedstock choices and conversion efficiency, particularly in markets under high water stress.
Our 2025 ambition increases our engagement with suppliers. Our goal is to engage 100% of our material suppliers with operations in water-stressed regions to take action on water security.
We continue to collaborate with the Mint Industry Research Council (MIRC) to gather and analyze data from mint suppliers to better understand the climate and water challenges across North America and share the insights with the industry. We are engaging with MIRC to explore and adopt smart irrigation and other techniques to help ensure farmers can take good care of water resources while producing their crops.
We continue to invest in water conservation and assess water risks associated with our global operations. We recycle/return water in highly stressed regions and manage our wastewater appropriately.
Colgate has had manufacturing water conservation goals since 2002, and since then we have reduced the water consumed per unit of production in the manufacture of our products by 52 percent, exceeding our target. Our 2025 goal is to reduce our manufacturing water intensity by 25 percent compared to 2010.
Key elements of our Operations program include:
- 5% for the Planet
Colgate invests in water conservation strategies at our global facilities through our manufacturing capital expenditure program, 5% for the Planet, and by implementing our Water Stewardship Strategy. A minimum of one percent of the manufacturing capital expenditure budget is targeted specifically toward water conservation projects.
- True Cost of Water
Colgate’s True Cost of Water Toolkit, developed with Rutgers University Business School’s Supply Chain Management Program, is a manufacturing-based tool designed to help sites quantify some of the hidden costs of water, such as pretreatment, pumping, thereby increasing both economic and environmental opportunities for reduction.
- Water Stewardship Standard
Colgate’s global Water Stewardship Standard is intended to help ensure that all of our manufacturing facilities and technology centers develop responsible and appropriate programs to ensure that water-related risks are understood and managed, and that water conservation opportunities are continuously evaluated and implemented in support of Colgate’s environmental and sustainability goals. Water Stewardship Strategy expectations vary by the level of geographic water stress.
Conserving Water at Colgate
- At Colgate’s manufacturing sites, we remain laser-focused on withdrawing the least amount of water from the environment. Water analytics will influence which new machinery and processes we use as well as inform our future product portfolio. Our plants deploy ever-more-efficient practices as we keep driving down our water manufacturing intensity (amount of water used per ton of product produced). Cleaning processes, for example, now require far less water and energy thanks to single-step sanitization, an innovation we developed with our partners at Ecolab.
- Our Huangpu, China plant is now using a small Clean-in-place (CIP) system to apply water-efficient cleaning & sanitization. The plant has also implemented other water saving technologies that allow it to reuse condensate water in the cooling towers, ultrasonic cleaning in the canteen, and reusing wastewater instead of withdrawing more city water.
Net Zero Water
In regions with high water stress, we continue to assess water risks and implement appropriate resilience measures as a way to anticipate and mitigate the effects. In 2015, Colgate developed a framework project to create replenishment criteria, define geographical boundaries and identify both environmental and community-related options to meet our commitment to replenish water in highly stressed regions.
Subsequently, we leveraged this project’s output by piloting the overall replenishment approach for our manufacturing sites in India. Through this work, we identified future opportunities to maximize on-site water reduction by increasing rainwater harvesting, on-site water treatment and returning water to the environment.
We have now committed to achieving Net Zero Water at all of our manufacturing sites in water stressed areas by 2025, and all other sites by 2030. We will follow the USGBC definition under their LEED Zero program.
Wastewater discharges from Colgate’s operations are generally treated on site and/or by the local municipality prior to discharge to a body of water. We continue to work to reduce pollutant-loading in our wastewater discharges prior to treatment. In selected locations where water stress is high, Colgate treats wastewater to tertiary levels, allowing it to be reused for cooling, toilet flushing, gardening and other purposes.
We strive to develop innovative products that enable consumers to use less water while meeting or exceeding efficacy expectations. Colgate also promotes water conservation awareness globally.
We understand that the water required to use our products represents the largest portion of our overall water footprint. To that end, conserving water is an opportunity for innovation. Colgate’s portfolio now includes a number of products that contain less water and/or allows consumers to use less water at home.
As we embed sustainability into each phase of R&D, we are innovating to develop new products that ship without much water in the package, such as our hello® toothpaste tablets, as well as products that need less water for effective use.
Water Conservation Awareness
With the Colgate brand in more homes than any other on the planet, we have a unique opportunity to inspire people to conserve water. To help consumers conserve water as they use our products, we seek to promote water conservation awareness to all our global consumers. Through actions, such as turning off the faucet while brushing their teeth and washing their hands, much water can be conserved.
Since launching in 2016, our “Save Water” public awareness campaign has led consumers to save an estimated 155 billion gallons of water. The campaign shows how a small change like turning off the tap when you brush your teeth can make a big difference. And since water and wastewater treatment systems are energy-intensive, every drop of water saved means less energy used. We estimate consumers contributed to an avoidance of 8.3 million metric tons of CO2 emissions thanks to those 155 billion gallons going unused.
Our Save Water campaign continues to increase consumer awareness through messaging on our packaging, online and in stores. The Save Water message appears on our toothpaste and toothbrush packaging, soaps and cleaning products.
All our divisions engage Colgate People around the world regardless of office size or location on World Water Day, inviting them to take a Save Water pledge and spread the word about water conservation. Some locations also hold events with guest speakers and/or employees volunteering in the local community. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of Colgate People around the world, we are helping drive greater awareness of water issues—on World Water Day and every day—among consumers, customers and fellow Colgate People.
Celebrating Our Save Water Commitments
Colgate India won the “Sustainability Partner” award for our efforts towards the “Save Water” Awareness Campaign in partnership with 27 Metro Cash & Carry stores in 17 cities across India. As part of the campaign, proceeds from the purchase of select Colgate toothpaste were provided to water-starved geographies through our NGO partner Water For People India Trust.
For the past two years, Colgate has supported 60 water wells at schools in five counties in Kenya (Kisumu, Siaya, Kakamega, Migori and Kwale) working with WellBoring, an NGO in the United Kingdom. The partnership has helped approximately 60,000 people. Due to the severity of the water challenge across rural communities in Kenya, in 2021, Colgate aims to donate an additional 30 Water Wells in Kenya, where thousands of pupils, their teachers, and their families may all gain access to clean drinking water.
Access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
We respect the human right to access water, sanitation and hygiene. One of Colgate’s 2025 Sustainability Strategy goals is to work with local and global organizations to help promote access to clean water and provide oral health and hygiene education in communities around the world.
In that spirit, Colgate is proud to continue our commitment to support water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programming through our partnership with Water For People as they pursue their mission to reach Everyone Forever with WASH services across Guatemala, India and Peru. From 2013 through 2020, Colgate’s total support of more than $2.1 million has helped more than 500,000 people in communities, schools and clinics gain access to safe water services.
In 2020, Colgate continued our partnership with Water For People in Guatemala and India to strengthen and support the municipal water and sanitation offices that were established since we began our partnership in 2013. Our partnership exists to promote the development of high-quality drinking water and sanitation services, accessible to all, and sustained by strong communities, businesses and governments.
We also recognize that communities facing inadequate access to safe water often do not have sufficient sanitation services and that handwashing is not widely practiced. Colgate continues to work 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. Further, as a matter of long-standing practice, Colgate provides safe water, sanitation and hygiene to all people in our workplaces.
We’re expanding WASH initiatives in key communities where water access will be a key conduit to the success of our oral health and handwashing education programs through Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures. We’re working toward a future free from cavities and other preventable diseases. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve partnered with the the World Health Organization (WHO) to bring more than 26 million bars of our #SafeHands soaps to people in need. Instructions for effective handwashing are included with each bar, fostering better health outcomes in vulnerable communities.
Collaboration and Disclosure
As a way to inform our water stewardship efforts, Colgate engages with leading water experts. This collaboration helps build expertise, align efforts and ensure that our water programs meet stakeholder expectations. We are also committed to transparency and reporting publicly on our water stewardship and reduction performance. Colgate participates on the United Nations CEO Water Mandate Action Platform as part of our commitment to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). Through our participation in the UNGC’s CEO Water Mandate, we’ve recently joined forces with a number of other companies to launch an industry-driven initiative, the Water Resilience Coalition. The Coalition aims to preserve the world’s freshwater resources through shared, ambitious, quantifiable commitments that are meaningful and measurable, many of which mirror Colgate’s targets.
Colgate continues to work to protect water-related ecosystems through our commitment to No Deforestation, water replenishment, aquifer protection, wastewater treatment and community partnerships.
We’re proud to be long-time partners with organizations like The Nature Conservancy (TNC), which is dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Watershed risk assessments and restoration projects are accelerating progress, especially in areas designated as priority basins. We’re excited to support TNC’s success in restoring river systems, enhancing wildlife habitats while conserving water and improving its quality.
We partner with stakeholders and our communities to help drive water stewardship programs. We are committed to transparency and publicly disclose our water stewardship strategies and goals, and report on our progress. As a way to inform our water stewardship efforts, Colgate engages with leading water experts. This collaboration helps build expertise, align efforts and ensure our water programs meet stakeholder expectations.
Collaboration, Advocacy and Disclosure
An important element of our sustainability strategy is our engagement and collaboration with external partners, which complement our strong internal capabilities. Colgate has many such partnerships with a broad array of organizations, including suppliers, research institutions, universities, industry and nonprofit organizations. Here are just some of Colgate’s sustainability partners:
Colgate sites are reducing, reusing and recycling waste. As part of our 2020 Sustainability Strategy, our target was to halve our manufacturing waste sent to the landfill per ton of product compared to 2010, working toward our goal of Zero Waste. Our 2025 ambition takes us further in the direction of reaching 100% Total Resource Use and Efficiency (TRUE®) Zero Waste certification for our global operations.
In 2017, Colgate initiated a new relationship with the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) on its TRUE® Zero Waste certification program, adopting it as our global platform to drive Zero Waste. Currently, manufacturing facilities in all geographies are using the TRUE® Zero Waste approach and tools. Additionally, we are aligning our global waste data management systems with TRUE® Zero Waste to ensure uniform measurement of results.
The TRUE® Zero Waste program goes beyond just looking at diversion rates. It is a whole system approach that encourages companies to find ways to reduce waste throughout their supply chain. For example, it encourages facilities to work with vendors to identify alternatives to non-recyclable packaging and inspires facilities to implement strategies to reduce the amount of packaging for outbound materials.
An aspect of the TRUE® Zero Waste program that embeds the concept of waste diversion at our facilities is the high level of employee engagement. From “Green Teams” to “Trash to Treasure Dumpster Dive” events, our employees are engaged to achieve zero waste every day
Our commitments in action:
Our Canelands, South Africa plant achieved TRUE® Zero Waste certification, the first-ever site in Africa to receive this recognition.
Samuel Binda, Anesh Naidoo, Clive Dunn
With a 99.29% diversion rate, our Cambridge, Ohio plant became our 19th plant to be certified. One key aspect of their waste program is working with suppliers. For example, by eliminating individual boxes for shipping shrink labels, the plant was able to save over 7,000 pounds of cardboard each year.
In recognition of our sustainability efforts to achieve TRUE® Zero Waste certification across our global operations, Gartner awarded Colgate “Social Impact of the Year” honors, part of their 2020 Power of the Profession Awards.
We recognize the importance of reducing waste at every stage of the product lifecycle, including at the end-of-life of our products and packaging. We have committed to making all of our packaging in all categories recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.
Our investments in innovation continue to bear fruit. Colgate Bamboo Toothbrushes feature compostable handles made from natural bamboo. All packaging for the line is plastic free, made from recyclable cardboard.
Innovative product formats that allow for plastic-free packaging -- like these toothpaste tablets from our hello brand packaged in a refillable and recyclable tin container.
We believe building a circular economy in which industrial materials and packaging can be recycled and reused is an important part of a sustainable future. In addition to commitments for our own packaging, Colgate has committed to work with stakeholders to drive continuous improvement in local recycling systems.
In 2014, we became one of the initial investors in the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund to develop local recycling infrastructure and sustainable manufacturing technologies that advance the circular economy. In the United States, municipalities often lack access to the capital to invest in recycling programs and infrastructure. The Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund provides zero-interest loans to municipalities and below-market loans to private companies with a goal to develop infrastructure and improve recycling rates. The fund also seeks to co-invest with local private and public entities to magnify its impact. The fund has invested in the collection, sorting and processing of recyclables. To learn more, visit Closed Loop Partners' website here.
Since its inception, the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund has invested in 30 projects and deployed $61.3M to date, with an additional $222M contributed by co-investors. The Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund’s $3 million loan to the City of Phoenix, helps improve the capacity and material capture of its North Gateway recycling facility, enabling a greater diversion of plastics from landfill and improving the quality of baled paper produced. The city has already seen improvements, with an 18% increase in tons of residential recycled materials collected during the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more, read Closed Loop Partners’ 2020 Impact Report.
Colgate has committed to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for all of our new construction projects around the world. We have used the LEED green building rating system to help design and construct our manufacturing sites, technology centers, warehouses and offices as one way to help reduce our overall exposure to water and climate change-related issues and offer a healthier, more comfortable work environment.
Currently, Colgate has 19 facilities that have achieved 27 LEED Certifications. Our LEED projects have been conducted in the United States, Latin America, Asia and Europe. In addition, we use several LEED-certified third-party distribution centers. Colgate has been a member company of the USGBC since 2007. Colgate continues to collaborate and engage with USGBC in the advancement of LEED and green building practices for the global manufacturing sector. Further information about Colgate’s LEED-certified buildings is available on the USGBC Green Building Information Gateway.
In 2018, Colgate achieved three new LEED certifications at our Burlington, New Jersey Oral Care manufacturing site (LEED Silver), our Greenwood, South Carolina Personal Care manufacturing site (LEED Certified), and at our Sri City, India Toothbrush manufacturing site (LEED Gold). In 2019, our Burlington, New Jersey flavors facility was the first site in the world to achieve LEED Zero Certification by the USGBC for net zero carbon, energy, water and waste. In 2020, our expansion project at our Global Technology Campus in Piscataway, New Jersey received LEED Gold certification. This expansion features low emitting materials, indoor air quality sensors, ultra efficient LED lighting, ample daylight views, and the ability for occupants to control their own personal thermal comfort.
Guided by our overarching sustainability goals, the Global Energy Reduction Team leads the technical implementation of Colgate’s energy strategy within its manufacturing sites across the world. More rooftops across Colgate are sporting solar panels as we strive to reach our goal of 100% renewable electricity in our global operations by 2030. Our Technology Campus in Piscataway, New Jersey, is setting the bold ambition to become a ‘Net Zero’ campus, and has made significant progress thanks to a recent installation of Phase II and III of on-site solar which included an additional 4,000 solar panels, equivalent to reducing over 1,600MT of CO2 annually. Additionally, the site now features over 30 different electric vehicle charging stations to enable our employees to charge their electric vehicles.
“LEED” and related logos are trademarks owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and are used with permission.