Cleantech
Q&A:
P&G and the Road to 100% Renewables

Procter & Gamble has reached its 2020 goal of purchasing 100% renewable electricity in the US, Canada and Western Europe — which represent over 70% of its purchased electricity. We caught up with James McCall, Global Supply Chain Sustainability Leader at P&G, to learn more.

Last month, Procter & Gamble announced that it had reached its 2020 goal of purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity in the US and Canada. The company exceeded its original goal by extending the purchase of 100 percent renewable electricity to Western Europe. These three markets are among its largest and represent over 70 percent of P&G’s purchased electricity.

The commitment was achieved ahead of schedule and represents a strong start to reaching P&G’s goal of purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity globally by 2030. We caught up with James McCall, Global Supply Chain Sustainability Leader and a 20+-year veteran at P&G, to learn more.

P&G's energy requirements in the US and Canada are now entirely met through renewable electricity projects and certificates. Can you tell us about the process of getting there?

James McCall: Within P&G, we are concerned about the negative consequences of climate change and believe meaningful action by governments, industry and consumers is necessary. To ensure we’re doing our fair share, in 2015 we partnered with WWF and the Science Based Targets Initiative to define and adopt science-based GHG targets, which for us represented a 30 percent absolute reduction in our GHG emissions by 2020. This was one of P&G’s first absolute environmental targets and at the time, felt impossible — since we were actively growing to touch the lives of nearly 5 billion consumers around the world. I’m proud to say our supply chain has stepped up, and by purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity across the US, Canada and most of Europe, we are now positioned to not only meet, but well exceed, our 2020 GHG commitments.

Globally, we have utilized a combination of onsite and offsite projects across a wide range of technologies including wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass and solar. Two of our largest individual contributors are a wind farm in Tyler Bluff, Texas; and an onsite combined heat and power (CHP) biomass facility in Albany, Georgia.

The Albany Biomass Project is co-located with our Bounty and Charmin manufacturing plant in Georgia. The biomass plant owner, Constellation, uses a highly efficient CHP co-generation unit to convert what was once underutilized waste into electricity for customers. It provides P&G with 100 percent of Bounty and Charmin’s steam requirements.

The wind farm in Tyler Bluff provides enough electricity to offset our entire Fabric and Home Care business here in the US and Canada, helping to reduce the footprint of the manufacturing sites where we produce brands such as Tide, Dawn, Cascade, Mr. Clean and Gain. Transitioning to renewable electricity allows consumers to still have the same performance and quality they love, while enabling them to make more sustainable choices at the shelf. To help put this project into context, it generates enough renewable electricity to wash over a million loads of laundry.

These projects are just some of the ways our supply chain is delivering sustainability at a global scale.

Given that these markets represent 70 percent of P&G's purchased electricity, does the company also plan to meet its 2030 target early?

JM: Ambition 2030 is designed to set the vision for the next decade; however, our brands and manufacturing teams are constantly working to reduce their footprint every day, not 10 years from now. Purchasing renewable electricity across three of our largest markets and covering 70 percent of our electrical load is a great way to jumpstart the program; however, it is just a start. Our energy needs are constantly evolving; so even in these markets, we are still actively working on the next generation of projects.

What unforeseen challenges did P&G face as it made this shift toward renewables? What challenges do you expect to face as you tackle the last 30 percent of your 2030 energy goal?

JM: Our goal to reach 100 percent renewable electricity globally is complex, because we operate in over 40 countries — many of which do not have established renewable energy markets or accounting programs. Our intent is to work with local companies, utilities, energy partners and those who share our desire to bring more renewable electricity sources online. This was the same model we followed as a founding member within the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance. What started as a group of four NGOs and a set of ‘renewable energy buyers’ principles’ has grown to include grown to over 200 large energy buyers and 150 energy providers, which collectively represent the knowledge and learnings from over 90 percent of all large-scale US corporate renewable energy deals to date. While there will be differences in local markets around the world, collaborating with key stakeholders in each market who share our interests will be a key part of our strategy.

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