At Climate Week in New York City, Virginie Helias, Chief Sustainability Officer at Procter and Gamble met with ENGIE Impact to discuss how a company that touches five billion consumers every day navigates its bold growth strategy as it meets imperatives around climate change.
Transcript edited for clarity
ENGIE Impact: I always love hearing about how Procter and Gamble touches five billion consumers every day, all while pursuing great growth aspirations. How do you manage your growth aspiration with the imperative around climate change and make those work together?
Virginie Helias: We declared our Ambition 2030, which is all about enabling and inspiring positive impact across our supply chain, brands, society and employees. Sustainability is fully integrated into our business strategy. For instance, when it comes to climate, we have science-based targets. Our goal for 2030 is a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. To support that goal, we have a big water program that focuses on innovation in consumer use since 70% of our water and carbon footprint comes from people using our product. When we innovate, we look through different lenses, and the first one is science. In the case of a detergent, 60% of the impact is in the temperature of the washing machine. For this kind of product, the innovation focus will be on creating technology where people can wash in quick and cold cycles.
ENGIE Impact: You've been at this for a long time and brought us cold water washing. How well is adoption going across the landscape?
Virginie Helias: When I started this role, the number of people using cold water was 38% and now it's 70%, which is the goal that we set 10 years ago. It has been a combination of innovation, as seen in our Tide product, that performs better in cold and quick washes. It's also people wanting to protect the longevity of their clothes. It's an indirect impact on climate that is very important because the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. We have recent data showing that a third of people wear their clothes less than 10 times before throwing them away, and with our technology, we have proved that we can extend the life of clothes by a factor of four.
ENGIE Impact: So consumers can look good not 10 times, but 40 times.
Virginie Helias: Absolutely. Our campaign “wash it better, love it longer” is a consumer delight and better for the planet.