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Reckitt Benckiser To Reduce Water, Carbon by One-Third

Reckitt Benckiser, the parent company of well-known consumer brands such as Clearasil and Lysol, announced a new sustainability strategy targeting water conservation, more sustainable health and hygiene innovations for women, and further decreases of its carbon footprint.

The so-called Betterbusiness strategy aims to address three primary targets by 2020: To deliver a one-third reduction in water use, one-third further reduction in carbon footprint and have one-third of its net revenue coming from more sustainable products. To achieve these goals, Reckitt Benckiser (RB) has detailed functional targets for better design, better production and better consumer choice through its roster of brands. The company also said it is developing a new Sustainable Innovation Calculator, based on the principles of its Carbon Calculator, which helped achieve the Carbon20 goal eight years early. At the product level it will assess ingredients, packaging, carbon and water.

The new strategy builds on RB’s global Carbon20 program, which led to a 21 percent improvement in lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per dose since 2007; achieved eight years ahead of its 2020 commitment. This performance was based on emissions throughout an RB product’s lifecycle, from raw material sourcing to disposal. Additionally, RB’s Trees for Change project, which offsets GHG emissions from manufacturing operations through planting trees, is responsible for planting over 5.4 million trees in Canada to date.

The implementation of betterbusiness in the United States is already under way, the company said. RB recently launched Lysol Power & Free bathroom cleaner which contains hydrogen peroxide and has a one-third lower carbon footprint than the previous active ingredient. Hydrogen peroxide is also better for the environment, as it is a naturally occurring substance and breaks down to just water and oxygen. Additionally, RB’s Finish brand has changed the package shape of units sold at COSTCO to be more efficient. This has led to a reduction of over 7,000 pallets, effectively taking more than 200 trucks off the road and saving more than 100,000 road miles by transitioning from cylindrical packaging to a box.

In addition to product innovation and development, RB says collaboration also will be key to the strategy’s success. The company recently joined The Sustainability Consortium and is in discussions with WWF, the international conservation organization, to develop a methodology to measure water impact of their business operations and product portfolio.

RB was listed on the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Performance Leadership Index (CPLI) in 2012 with a disclosure score of 93 and a performance rating of A. The CPLI highlights those companies within the FTSE Global Equity Index Series (Global 500) that have demonstrated a strong approach to climate strategy and emissions reduction in their CDP responses.

@Bart_King is a freelance writer and communications consultant.