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Top Ten Cleantech Highlights of Proctor & Gamble

Proctor & Gamble is a well known Fortune 500 company that has headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, but is known all over the world as a leading manufacturer in a wide array of consumer-based goods, including Bounty paper towels, Duracell batteries, Herbal Essences shampoos and conditioners, Iams pet food, Olay women’s skin care products, Secret women’s antiperspirant, and Swiffer house cleaning products. The objective of Proctor & Gamble is to “Provide branded products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world’s consumers, now and for generations to come.” As such, Proctor & Gamble have been increasingly involved in a number of clean technology highlights to assist with environmental sustainability.

1) Proctor & Gamble Look to Get LEED Certification for all new Buildings. Starting in February of 2011, Proctor & Gamble has made the pledge to select and construct all new sites according the design principles set up by the LEED program. The Taicang plant in China will be the first manufacturing facility that will be built according the LEED specifications. Global product supply officer Keith Harrison said,” Having all of our new sites LEED-certified will help us make progress toward our long-term sustainability vision, which includes powering out plants with 100 percent renewable energy and zero manufacturing waste-to-landfill.”

2) Proctor & Gamble Open its First Zero Waste Plant in North America. In December of 2010, Proctor & Gamble opened up its very first zero waste-to-landfill manufacturing plant in the United States. This facility in Auburn, Maine will reuse all waste – around 60 percent will be recycled and the rest will be turned into energy. Proctor & Gamble already has a number of these facilities in Italy, Hungary, and the United Kingdom, but this is the first North American plant to embrace this new model.

3) New Goal to Only Use Renewable Energy for all Plants and Recycled Materials for Products. Proctor & Gamble, like many other companies today, are looking to make the pledge of having 100 percent of all energy going to its plants come from renewable sources of energy and that only recycled materials will be utilized for packaging and products. By the year 2020, Proctor & Gamble want to replace 25 percent of all petroleum-based materials with renewable materials. The company also aims to guarantee that no manufacturing or consumer waste will go to landfills.

4) Proctor & Gamble Activated 1.1 Megawatt Photovoltaic System in California. In November of 2009, Proctor & Gamble started a new 1.1 megawatt solar photovoltaic system at its paper products manufacturing plant located in Oxnard, California. Financed by SunEdison, the roof-mounted photovoltaic solar energy system will provide over 1.9 kilowatt hours of solar energy in the first year alone.

5) Proctor & Gamble Installs Very First Wind Turbine at Plant in the Netherlands. In February of 2011, Proctor & Gamble installed the first wind turbine in the Netherlands for its company. The turbine will produce 5,500 megawatt hours of electricity annually, which is enough for approximately 17 percent of the annual energy consumption of the plant. This has been done in large part to the plan of Proctor & Gamble to have a majority of its plants use only renewable energy. Currently, a number of plans in the United States, Mexico, and Germany only use green power.

6) 77 Point Plan. When it comes smart eco-design, Proctor & Gamble use their 77 Point Plan. Established by Proctor & Gamble’s Global Facilities Engineering group, this plan rates a facility’s potential impact in several distinct areas, including energy, carbon dioxide emissions, water, waste, and environmental quality. For example, when looking at sites for locations of facilities, the company looks at commuting options and local ecosystems. When building a facility, the company uses building materials that decrease environmental impact and maximize workplace health and comfort.

7) Installation of Compressed Air System in Pennsylvania Plant Improved Energy Efficiency. In 2002, Proctor & Gamble looked to improve the compressed air system at a paper products mill in Mehoopany, Pennsylvania. This project improved the overall efficiency of the compressed air system at the mill. This provided Proctor & Gamble with a number of energy savings as well as an increase in production levels. When the project was completed, the mill was able to stop using a 450 horsepower compressor and still have the necessary minimum pressure level needed to supply all end-use applications. It saved 7.6 million kilowatt hours and over $300,000 annually in energy costs.

8 ) Future Friendly Program. Proctor & Gamble’s Future Friendly program looks to promote environmental responsibility and conservation education. The objective is to demonstrate how consumers can save water, energy, and waste with Proctor & Gamble brands. This program was first established in the United Kingdom in 2007 and then in Canada in 2008. It hit the United States in 2010.

9) Environmental Improvements to Products. Proctor & Gamble is looking to make a number of environmental improvements with their products from the formulation of the product to the packaging. For example, Ariel Excel Gel’s manufacturing process saves on water and energy, utilizes less packaging and does not need as many trucks to transport it. As well, those who use this product can do so at lower water temperature levels, which also allow the consumer to save energy. In another example, Olay’s new pump has been improved and saves 800,000 pounds of plastic annually – the same weight as a Boeing 747.

10) Heading into the Future: Proctor & Gamble 2012 Sustainability Goals. Important for any major company are the sustainability goals that they look to drive into the next year. For Proctor & Gamble, there are already a number of 2012 strategies and goals in place. One of the strategies is to improve through products by offering consumers sustainable innovations that will enhance the environmental profile of the company. One of the goals to do this is to create products that have a significantly reduced environmental footprint when compared to previous products as well as other alternatives on the market. Another strategy is to improve through production by improving Proctor & Gamble’s own environmental profile. The goal to do this is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by ten percent, as well as energy and water consumption and waste disposal. By the end of the current decade, Proctor & Gamble want to be up at least 40 percent.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at