From its origins in 1837 as an Ohio soap and candle manufacturer, Procter & Gamble has grown to become one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies. It has manufacturing operations on five continents, supplying much of the world with essential products including detergents, shampoos, razors, toothbrushes, batteries, coffee machines, diapers, medicines, adhesives and pet foods.
The company also manages a large number of well-known brands, with 24 of them yielding over $1 billion in sales annually. Its top 50 brands represent over 90% of its profits, many of which are sold globally.
Procter & Gamble is able to use its large size as a strategic advantage, for example to aid product innovation, market penetration and manufacturing efficiency.
For Procter & Gamble: “there is no separation between a company’s profit responsibility and its social responsibility”. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a company with a long history, it has an eye on its long term future. It recognizes the challenges of sustainability, and the benefits of acting early on climate change – as well as the considerable effect that such a large company can have in the field.
In 2010, it set itself a number of ambitious sustainability targets in a Long-term Environmental Vision. This Vision includes a commitment to using 100% renewable or recycled materials for all products and packaging, and powering its plants with 100% renewable energy.
As an intermediate goal, Procter & Gamble has also set a number of targets to achieve by 2020, such as reducing its packaging by 20%, using 30% renewable electricity, and reducing landfill manufacturing waste to below 0.5%, all from 2010 levels. The company is also developing strategies to achieve its Long-term Vision.
Procter & Gamble has been ranked as the number one most admired company within its industry for 25 of the last 26 years by Fortune magazine. It is currently ranked number 13 on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.