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Focusing on constant improvement

We care about how our business may impact the environment, from the way we manufacture products and bring them to market to the way in which consumers use them. We are focused on a programme of constant improvement within our global operations and are committed to yearly reductions in our water and carbon consumption and waste generated.

Water conservation has been a key G4B environmental focus for the Group for some years and since 2012 we have achieved excellent savings, reducing consumption by millions of tonnes of water. As part of our continuous improvement program, all factories are required to have a plan to reduce water consumption. Typically, this is achieved through focused improvements in operating methods and targeted investment in water saving technologies.

One of our principal focuses has been our soap factory in Aba, Nigeria where we invested in new state-of-the-art recycling technologies which have saved millions of tonnes of water. Similar water-saving initiatives have delivered significant reductions in our Ikorodu and Tangerang factories in Nigeria and Indonesia respectively.

We have continued to focus on our carbon footprint to identify areas for improvement. This year we have achieved an absolute carbon reduction of 9.7%, well beyond our target for the year.
Carbon reductions have been achieved despite a challenging operating environment in the Nigerian market. In the early part of the year we experienced gas shortages and problems due to the unavailability of grid electricity, resulting in the need to switch to diesel fuels for electricity and steam generation.

Notwithstanding the challenges, all of our factories have carbon reduction programmes which are delivering results.
These carbon reductions have been achieved through our continuous improvement programme which is made up of around 140 initiatives, specific to locations and factories.

Examples of initiatives going forward are the manufacturing improvements in our soap plant in Aba, improvements in the efficiency of power generation and utility plant, and a group-wide roll out of more efficient LED lighting.

This year a global mapping exercise has helped us to reduce solid and liquid waste produced by 54%. All factories have undertaken exercises to analyse the sources of their waste and have an improvement plan in this area. This waste reduction work has consisted of a number of exercises to help with the sorting and reclassification in the Tangerang, Ikorodu and Ilupeju factories.

Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)
The Group has been a participant in the Carbon Disclosure Project for ten years, currently reporting our Scope 1 and 2 emissions. The CDP is an internationally renowned not-for-profit organisation which provides an independent global system for companies and cities to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information.

Packaging lifecycle
We continue to seek to create a packaging portfolio which takes account of both the needs of our consumers and environmental impact throughout the lifecycle of a product.

Creating the right packaging for the right market is considered from the early stages of new product design, all the way through to production. We understand that it is not a realistic target to eliminate packaging completely and we are accordingly developing a Global Packaging Policy to better identify opportunities to ‘reduce, reuse or recycle’. As part of this, we have undertaken a number of projects to optimise structural and material design to eliminate unnecessary packaging materials. For example, we have removed 5% plastic weight from our Morning Fresh bottles and, where practical, we have also moved our plastic bottles from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and post-consumer recycled PET.

In addition to our light weighting initiatives, we encourage our consumers to reuse and recycle packaging and have introduced refillable pouches for selected brands.

Water 16%
absolute reduction
Carbon 9.7%
absolute reduction
Waste 54%
absolute reduction

3% year-on-year reduction targets across carbon, water and waste introduced in 2015

See Strategic Report 2017 for further information.