ENERGY SAVING AND CLIMATE CHANGE: Why should we be concerned about energy?

Energy is something we all need and depend on. As we consume more energy, much of it is based on fossil fuels – significant sources of greenhouse gases like CO2. As we face the challenge of climate change, we have to find ways to conserve energy and reduce our carbon footprint.

P&G is concerned about our energy use and has taken on the challenge to find ways to reduce our CO2 emissions while still ensuring the quality of the cleaning products we rely on. At the production and distribution level, P&G has committed to largely reducing its CO2 emissions through eco-efficiencies. More significantly, P&G has reformulated its products to clean at much lower temperatures enabling the consumer to make even greater energy savings. P&G has been finding novel ways to raise consumer awareness on how we can all reduce our environmental impact with simple power saving tips.

These pages will show how P&G has been working at all stages of a product’s life cycle, introducing energy efficiencies and sustainable innovations to ensure that its factories and consumers conserve energy and reduce CO2 emissions.

  • Energy and Climate Change

    Every time you switch on a light, turn on a TV, start up a car, energy is required. Most of the power that we consume - the power behind our fridges, cookers, heaters, coolers, washers, dryers, planes, trains and automobiles - comes largely from the combustion of fossil fuels.
    Burning coal, gas and oil is the cheapest and easiest form of power but it has problems. Every time you burn a fossil fuel, it produces a gas called carbon dioxide (CO2).
    This goes into the atmosphere and makes it more difficult for the excess heat on our planet (most of which comes from the sun) to escape back into space. Carbon dioxide acts a lot like the glass on a greenhouse, which is why it is called a greenhouse gas.

    The impact of global warming.
    How serious is global warming? Procter & Gamble recognizes the scientific evidence and consensus linking greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change.

    Through sustainable innovation, eco-efficiencies, energy conservation and energy efficient products, P&G will be able to help reduce CO2 emissions.

    As a global citizen, P&G is concerned and believes that cost-effective actions by governments, industry and citizens to reduce emissions to the atmosphere are justified.
    In a world affected by climate change:

    • Local climate patterns would become more extreme. As a result some regions would more often be affected by drought while others would be more regularly flooded.
    • Polar ice will melt and the water in the oceans will warm up, which means the sea level will rise. Coastal and low-lying areas, including parts of many major cities, may be affected.
    • People in regions such as North Africa, the Middle East and India may experience water shortages as rainfall decreases and rising sea levels contaminate coastal ground water with salt.
    • The rise in temperature and change in rainfall could lead to reduced cereal crop yields in Africa, the Middle East and India.
    • Tropical diseases could spread to new areas, affecting new populations.
    • Climate change could affect parts of the Amazonian and African rainforests, which currently absorb large amounts of the carbon dioxide we produce.

    In short, drought, hunger, disease and migration could affect many more people than it does today. Most of these people will be in developing nations that have barely contributed to greenhouse gas emissions.
    But the effects will be felt by everyone. The Stern Review (2007), commissioned by the UK government, predicts that global production could drop by as much as 5 to 20 per cent, depending on the region. Fortunately, the report also emphasized that cost-effective measures can be implemented.

  • How P&G is saving energy

    P&G is not an energy-intensive business, compared to many others, mainly because it formulates products from commercially available raw materials. Despite being one of the largest companies in the world in terms of sales, its carbon dioxide emissions are less than 0.01 per cent of the total global emissions from combustion sources.
    However, P&G is firmly committed to reducing this amount as much as possible. P&G is concerned about the potentially negative consequences of climate change and believes that the scientific evidence warrants action.
    P&G supports efforts to combat global warming under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and encourages others, whether nations, organizations or individuals, to do so as well.
    To this end, P&G has adopted a two-pronged approach.
    Firstly, P&G is trying to further reduce the amount of emissions it has already cut from its own operations, with a clear company-wide Environment Quality Policy and ongoing manufacturing and plant initiatives plus other measures aimed at making a difference in the future.
    Secondly, P&G is also committed to helping its consumers cut their energy use and emissions when using P&G products.
    To read more on the P&G Sustainability Vision and 2020 goals, visit the sustainability section on

    • P&G's Environmental Quality Policy

      For P&G, sustainable development is a very simple idea. It is about ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come. Which is why P&G takes matters such as climate change and energy use very seriously. For example:

      • P&G supports the goals of the US Business Round Table's Climate RESOLVE (Responsible Environmental Steps, Opportunities to Lead by Voluntary Efforts) programme and has incorporated sustainability into many areas of corporate policy.
      • P&G has an environmental management system which has been in place for more than 30 years and all of its facilities around the world operate to the same environmental standards.
      • P&G uses tools such as risk assessments to ensure the human and environmental safety of its products and processes.
      • While P&G accepts sustainability as a responsibility, it also believes that it offers opportunities to build its business. P&G believes in sustainable innovation as a way of developing products and services that improve lives while reducing their environmental footprint.
      • P&G has used eco-efficiency, delivering more from less, as a way to maximize the use of raw materials in its products, as well as to reduce emissions and control costs. More than 96 per cent of all materials that enter P&G plants leave as packed products and more than half of the remaining material is recycled.

      P&G has been a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index since its creation and has been rated among the market leaders since then. However P&G realizes that there is still a long way to go on its journey to become an ever increasingly sustainable company.

      To improve the sustainability profile of our detergents and cleaning products P&G is focusing on:

      • More efficient use of energy, not just in production processes but also in terms of the consumption of energy associated with the use of P&G products.
      • More efficient use of water, both in terms of improving the quality of waste water and reducing water consumption in the first place.
      • More sustainable packaging, including cutting the energy needed to make and dispose of it, improving the level of recycled content, making it as renewable as possible and so on.
      • Improving product compaction - in other words, increasing the washing efficiency of the product that fits into a package.
      • Helping consumers use P&G products in a more sustainable way, for example by providing information on correct dosage levels, selection of energy- and water-saving cycles and so on.

      For more information, download P&G's original Environmental Quality Policy, or visit the sustainability section on to read more on the P&G Sustainability Vision and 2020 goals.

    • How P&G has reduced its energy use

      P&G had already reduced its global carbon dioxide emissions per unit of product by 65 per cent between 1990 and 2006. Following this, P&G's corporate sustainability goals were renewed at the end of 2007 (with the introduction of 2007-2012 goals). P&G had committed to an additional reduction of CO2 emissions, energy and water consumption, and disposed waste (per unit of production) contributing to a 40% reduction for the decade. To read more on what was achieved, click here.

      Examples of some of the things P&G has done to cut emissions include:

      • Making improvements in the efficiency of P&G plants and distribution centres such as at Amiens (France) and Pomezia (Italy), for example by using the heat given off by some of the chemical processes to heat activities elsewhere, as well as recapturing heat from drying processes.
      • Backing industry initiatives such as the Charter for Sustainable Cleaning, launched in 2004 by the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (A.I.S.E.), which was updated in 2010 by introducing an environmental product scheme, with so-called ‘ASP – Advanced Sustainability Profiles’ for laundry, softener and other products).
      • P&G had set a goal of an 18 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2012, as part of P&G's support for the US Business Round Table's Climate RESOLVE (Responsible Environmental Steps, Opportunities to Lead by Voluntary Efforts) programme. P&G achieved this RESOLVE goal in 2006, six years ahead of schedule.

      Last but not least, P&G publicly reports its company-wide emissions every year in its sustainability report and it is one of the few companies that has been and continues to be a voluntary reporter through the Carbon Disclosure Project since its inception in 2003.

      Even with all this, P&G continues to accept responsibility to understand the potential contributions of greenhouse gases from its business and continues with its implementation of energy conservation and efficiency measures. Many P&G distribution centres and production sites have become pioneers in sustainable energy management, CO2 reduction and green energy initiatives. See the report on several sites in Europe.

      In 2010, P&G announced its Sustainability Vision and 2020 goals for its operations and products.
      For more information, visit the sustainability section on

      You can also find out more about A.I.S.E. - the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products by clicking here:

    • How P&G is saving energy in manufacturing.

      P&G aims to reduce the energy-related environmental impact of its manufacturing plants and distribution centres in two major ways. The first is to reduce the amount of energy they consume overall. The second is to look at alternative energy supplies with which to power them.
      Overall, this approach has allowed P&G's plants to become 96 per cent eco-efficient, with a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 65 per cent between 1990 and 2007. Some of the things P&G has done are:

      • In the Crailsheim manufacturing centre in Germany, instead of installing new boilers P&G has put in a combined heat-and-power plant that uses the heat from electricity generation to warm up the building, saving 2,900 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. This technology has also been used in the Pomezia plant.
      • In Amiens (France), P&G has built a new distribution centre equipped with some of the most modern energy-saving technologies. To find out more, click here.
      • Four plants in Europe upgraded their powder-drying process by adopting the latest technology in duct burner systems, significantly reducing natural gas consumption and decreasing carbon dioxide emissions by 4,550 tonnes a year.
      • The Household Care plant in Worms, Germany, is saving energy by using and re-using condensate in production processes. Before, the condensate was discharged via a cooling tower into the sewer system. Now it is used in place of hot water to produce liquid dyes.
      • In Western European plants P&G has created Energy Task Forces to identify potential power savings aiming to significantly reduce energy requirements.
      • See the case studies to find out more about what P&G is doing in its plants to be more energy efficient.

    • How P&G aims to become more sustainable in the future

      In 2010, P&G announced its Sustainability Vision and 2020 goals for its operations and products. P&G believes it makes sound business sense to continue to strive for greater environmental performance.
      There are two main ways that P&G's environmental performance can continue to improve in the future.
      The first is that P&G can continue to improve the efficiency of its operations so that its business has less of an environmental impact. The second is by creating environmentally more efficient products that can help save energy and reduce carbon emissions.

      P&G operations
      In 2006, P&G achieved its 2012 global climate change goal of an 18 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions per unit of product. Following this, P&G's corporate sustainability goals were renewed at the end of 2007 (with the introduction of 2007-2012 goals). P&G had committed to an additional reduction of CO2 emissions, energy and water consumption, and disposed waste (per unit of production) contributing to a 40% reduction for the decade. To read more on what was achieved and our stretching 2020 energy goals, click here.

      P&G products
      P&G is also aware that the biggest impact its business can have on the environment is in the way consumers use its products. This is where the second point comes in.
      P&G introduced products such as Ariel ‘turn to 30’, Ariel Actif à froid (Active in Cold Water) or Ariel Excel Gel, which allow consumers to get a superior wash at low temperatures, saving energy and helping the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
      And it is a significant amount of help: washing clothes at reduced wash temperatures in Europe could reduce a household's electricity use by around three per cent. In the US, the savings could be up to 10 per cent.
      To drive this point home, P&G is working with a range of organizations to promote cold-water washing. In the UK, for example, P&G has teamed up with The Energy Savings Trust. In the USA, P&G is associated with the Alliance to Save Energy.
      To read more on the P&G Sustainability Vision and 2020 goals, visit the sustainability section on

  • How P&G is helping consumers reduce energy use

    As well as P&G's efforts to continually improve its operations' and products’ environmental profile, consumers can help to make a considerable difference to the environment, for the better.
    If you look at the level of energy consumption for a typical P&G product, across its entire lifecycle (from manufacture to use), it turns out that the biggest impact on the environment comes the moment you set the temperature of your washing machine or dishwasher.

    So P&G is trying to make sure you don't have to wash in warm water. A growing range of P&G products can provide optimal results at low temperatures, meaning you won't pay so much in electricity and the carbon emissions from washing will be reduced.

    In Europe, for example, washing clothes at reduced temperatures could save three per cent of the electricity used by a household.

    P&G's cool-clean technology reduces the environmental impact

    Here's why: washing appliances account for about 12 per cent of a household's energy consumption and, on average, 60 per cent of the electricity they use is purely for heating up water (this rises to 85 per cent for a 90 degree cycle).

    Now, a washing cycle at 40 degrees consumes nearly twice as much energy as one at 20 degrees. A cycle at 60 degrees consumes three times as much. And just by turning a wash from 40 to 30 degrees you can save 30 per cent of the energy used per cycle.

    P&G's coolclean technology in products like ‘turn to 30’, Ariel Actif à froid (Active in Cold Water) and Dash 'Impeccabile a Freddo', offer energy savings thanks to ingredients that are active at reduced wash temperatures.

    Thus, if everyone in Italy used Dash Impeccabile a Freddo to reduce their washing temperature by one click - say from 40 degrees to 30 - the energy saved would be enough to light up the most beautiful squares across the country.

    Put another way, by turning down the dial on your washing machine, for example from 40 to 30 degrees, you could save nearly a third of the energy you use in a normal load. And you can still be sure your laundry will be brilliantly clean.

  • How you can save energy

    The energy savings P&G can make in the manufacture and distribution of P&G products are important but relatively small compared to what consumers can do with a simple turn of a dial.

    There are many things you can do to save energy around the home, when you use P&G products and otherwise. Here are some tips to help you work out how much energy you use in the wash, what you can do to reduce it, what products to use, how you can cut carbon emissions elsewhere in the home and some general advice on saving power.

    • How energy use in the home is broken down

      Washing and cleaning offer significant means for energy conservation measures.

      What are the main global warming culprits in the home? Heating and lighting are big power users in modern households, but a surprising source, which uses a considerable amount of energy, is simply keeping equipment on standby.

      surprising source

      You can virtually eliminate this just by unplugging devices instead.

      Clothes washers and dryers each consume about half as much energy per year as a TV, but this consumption can be reduced drastically with ease. Read on to find out how.

    • How you can cut energy use with your laundry

      Life begins at 30 - if you want to save the planet, that is. When you do your washing, turning down to a lower temperature is one of the simplest and most effective ways of reducing carbon emissions, and saving money.

      Best of all, it won't make a difference to the quality of your wash. As a result of improvements in detergents over the last decade, today's washing powders and liquids work very well at much lower temperatures than in the past.

      Turning down to 30 (or lower) for normally-soiled laundry will curb emissions, save cash and help preserve clothes that might deteriorate at higher temperatures. And there are many other things you can do to save energy, too, such as:

      • Cut out the pre-wash. Many current products use formulations which will still give you brilliant results without pre-washing, saving between five and 15 litres of water-and the energy needed to heat it.
      • Use energy-efficient machines. Even though the average washing machine today consumes 44 per cent less energy and 62 per cent less water than the average machine in 1985, you can still usually save energy by choosing a model with top energy ratings.
      • Make sure you use the correct cycle for the laundry you are washing. Many items are not supposed to be washed in hot water, so do them - and the environment- a favour by keeping it cool. If in doubt, check the label on the item to be washed.
      • Sort and recycle detergent packaging instead of throwing it away. Besides reducing landfill, recycling will help avoid using energy to create more packaging from virgin raw materials.


      Remember, measures to cut energy use and reduce carbon emissions will also help save you money which, in the case of your washing, you would otherwise literally be throwing down the drain.
      To find out which P&G products give you a greener wash click here or find out about a recent sustainable innovation: Ariel Excel Gel click here.

    • P&G products that give you a greener wash

      Many leading household brands, including Ariel, Tide and Dash, can provide great results when used at reduced wash temperatures. And turning off the heat could help you help the planet.

      For example, if you used New Daz (UK), you could save 30 grams of carbon dioxide per wash.

      That is equivalent to 320 grams of CO2 per box (for a detergent with 10 doses), or the energy needed to power a 60-watt light bulb for six hours, or a TV for the same period of time.

      Over the course of a year, you could save nine kilos of carbon dioxide, the amount of gas produced by driving 56 kilometres in your car.

      And if everyone in the UK used New Daz at the recommended low temperatures, around 221,000 tons of carbon dioxide would be saved -equivalent to the amount of gas produced by the car use of 50,000 families, or the annual electricity use of 100 villages.
      Similarly, with Dash 'Impeccabile a Freddo' Italians can save up to 33 per cent of their energy use. And if all of Italy used new Dash, the country would save enough electricity to power 150 villages.

      Depending on where you live, other products that can help you save energy include:

      • Ariel Excel Gel has been designed to clean as brilliantly at 15°C as at 40°C.
      • Ariel Active in Cold Water, which can be used to wash at low temperature and offers an average of 41 per cent energy savings.
      • Fairy dishwashing liquid is more efficient because it lasts longer than any other liquid. If everyone in the UK used Fairy there would be 43 million fewer bottles transported and thrown away, which would lead to an enormous energy and material savings.
      • Lenor concentrate, which can be transported more efficiently than regular Lenor. If everyone switched to the concentrated product, it would save 534 tons of carbon dioxide in transport emissions alone.
      • Tide Coldwater (North America), which can help an average household cut carbon dioxide emissions by 575 kilos a year.

    • How you can find more energy saving ideas

      What is good for the environment is usually good for your pocket, too. An energy-efficient home will spend less on electricity bills. And there are literally hundreds of things you could do to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

      P&G has listed some tips on this site that could help, besides changing the way you wash with P&G products. In addition, you could consider, for example:

      • Insulating your boiler. You could end up cutting your carbon emissions by 450 kilos a year.
      • Installing solar panels on your roof or walls to boost your energy supply with nature's own - carbon-free.
      • Giving your garden a makeover. If you plant trees so as to provide shade and block wind, you can cut your energy bills by up to 15 per cent. And each tree could end up absorbing a tonne of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

      For many more simple ideas about how you can help the environment, visit the Ariel sustainability website.
      You can also find out much more about electricity use, and how to reduce it, from the Association of Electricity Producers at
      Finally, you might also want to work out exactly how much greenhouse gas your household produces. You can do this using one of the many carbon calculators available online, such as the Act On CO2 Calculator, published by the UK Government.

      Work out what your carbon footprint is, then try a few energy-saving measures to see what an effect it has. Check what assumptions are made by the calculator so you can make allowances for them, and be honest about your levels of use.

      To download a comprehensive list of tips about what you can do to make a difference, click here.

    • Do your bit for the environment with these simple tips

      • Fit loft insulation and save 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
      • Have a shower instead of a bath and use two thirds less water and energy.
      • Swap your standard light bulbs for energy-saving ones. One energy-saving bulb will save 40 kilos of carbon dioxide in a year.
      • Draught-proof windows and doors and you will save approximately 140 kilos of carbon dioxide a year.
      • Insulate cavity walls to save about a tonne of carbon dioxide a year.
      • Fill in gaps in floors and skirting boards and save around 120 kilos of carbon dioxide annually.
      • Turn down the thermostat by one degree to cut your energy bill and save 300 kilos of carbon dioxide a year.
      • Don't drive alone to work. Car-pool, cycle or use public transport instead.
      • Don't fill the kettle for a single cup of tea or coffee; only boil as much water as you need.
      • Pack your lunch in a reusable container, rather than using new bags or cling film each time. Reusable packaging saves on materials and on energy consumption.
      • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and you could save six litres of water a minute.
      • Mend dripping taps and you will prevent at least 5,500 litres of water per tap from going down the drain every year.
      • When you use a dishwasher, only turn it on when it is full. Modern dishwashers use 15 litres of water per cycle, so try not to use extra cycles.
      • When you do the dishes by hand, try not to rinse under running water. Hand dish washing consumes an average of 63 litres per wash.
      • Fill your bath up to a third instead of up to the brim.
      • Use a low-flow setting on your showerhead, if there is one.
      • Cool water in the fridge rather than keeping the tap on until cold water runs through.
      • Wash fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water rather than under a running tap.
      • Don't flush the toilet to get rid of items of rubbish such as used make-up tissues.

      To download a comprehensive list of tips about what you can do to make a difference, click here.

The Head Line


Illustrations from P&G's Science-in-the-Box website can be used freely for educational, non-commercial purposes provided that the source will be published as follows: "Obtained from (P&G website)"


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