Procter and Gamble products are bought by 5 billion people, and everything involved in the manufacture, sale and use of those goods generates more than 230 million metric tons of greenhouse gas each year.
The consumer-goods giant is now moving to cut some of its climate-warming emissions, while continuing to send the vast majority into the atmosphere.
The new commitment announced by P&G on Thursday moves to neutralize emissions from its factories and operations.
By 2030, the company will cut those emissions in half and invest $100 million over the coming decade in nature-based projects, such as tree planting, to offset the rest.
But direct emissions, known in climate accounting as Scope 1 and 2, make up only a small fraction of P&G’s total greenhouse-gas footprint — about 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.
The rest of the company’s emissions — accounting for more than 98 percent of its annual total — are produced in its vast supply chain or through the use of goods by consumers running washing machines with Tide detergent or showering with Pantene shampoo.
P&G manufactures shampoo, conditioner and body wash products in Iowa City, with more than 300 workers.
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Virginie Helias, P&G’s chief sustainability officer, said the company has initiatives to reduce the Scope 3 total, such as ensuring that 70 percent of laundry loads are run on low-energy wash cycles and eliminating deforestation caused by its palm-oil suppliers.
But the company has no explicit goals set for all of its Scope 3 emissions.
P&G is trying to catch up to its peers on setting and meeting ambitious sustainability goals.
“We believe, with everything we know today, that we must move faster and move more significantly,” P&G CEO David Taylor said.
Those moves, for now, rely more on offsets than emissions cut.
P&G will fund offset programs that aid reforestation in Brazil, tree-planting in California and Germany, and protection of mangroves in Philippines.
Each of these projects is run by a respected environmental group — World Wildlife Fund, Arbor Day Foundation and Conservation International, respectively. These efforts promise to capture on average about 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year-less than 2 percent of the total emissions P&G disclosed in its new sustainability report.