Colgate Palmolive Ethics Report
In recent years we’ve heard about corporate scandals involving big companies such as Firestone Tire and Rubber Company for the use of child labor, Southwest Airline’s violation of safety regulations, Fannie Mae’s underreporting of profit, Parmalat’s accounting scandal & mutual fund fraud, among others; but what do all these companies have in common? They failed to adhere to the basic ethical principles that should prevail in business activities.
Business ethics dictates a set of standard principles and values that should be taken into account in a company’s everyday activities. It is composed of both written and unwritten codes of moral standards that are crucial to the current and future activities of a business organization. It addresses issues within a company such as the misuse of company resources, accounting fraud, defective products, bribery, conflicts of interests, etc. There’s a direct relationship between business ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainability.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an important component of business’s ethics and it refers to the company’s ethical behavior and its contribution to the economic development, the improvement in the quality of life of its workforce, the local community and the society. Corporate Social Responsibility addresses the economic, social, and environmental impacts that business activities have and the relation of the company with its employees, customers, environment and society.
CRS has assumed an important role in the last decade: outside stakeholders are more interested in the activities of the companies, for them is important to know if the company’s activities are good or bad, if there is any scandal related to their products or services, if it cares about protecting the environment and if it makes any contribution to the local community. As an outside stakeholder, financial analysts take into account, among other things, CRS as an indicator of likely future performance.
Sustainability is about ensuring that this present generation meets its needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
In order for a company to be sustainable its long-term plans must take into account the economic, environmental and social impacts of their actions. The aspects that a company should evaluate for its sustainable plans are: economic efficiency (innovation, prosperity, productivity), social equity (poverty, community, health and wellness, human rights) and environmental accountability (climate change, land use, biodiversity). lexicon. ft. com/term. asp? t=business-sustainability The ethical culture in a company expresses the values and norms that the organization defines as appropriate, it’s composed of two elements: ethical culture and ethical climate.
Whereas Ethical Culture is how an organization shows the extent to which it regards it’s values: teaches employees whether doing the right thing matters, makes doing what is right expected and? ncludes formal ethics program elements; Ethical Climate evaluates the ethical “personality” of the company as a hole, it is concerned with perceptions, decision making processes and ethics related attitudes. Ethical culture’s importance is the impact that it has over the employee’s satisfaction, their perceptions of leadership and the rates of misconduct within the organization. COLGATE-PALMOLIVE ETHICS REPORT Ethical Culture must be supported by a resource to help orientate the company’s employees about its defined values and principles, and that is what we know as the company’s Code of Conduct or Code of Ethics.
This helpful document addresses various topics such has practices around diversity, harassment, the use of illegal drugs and alcohol, privacy, confidentiality and negotiations policies; it also addresses company’s commitment to the environment and employee health and safety. ?? In this report we’re going to analyze how Colgate Palmolive, one of the world’s biggest consumer products company, implements business ethics, and how it addresses numerous subjects such as work ethics, corporate sustainability and corporate values. COLGATE-PALMOLIVE ETHICS REPORT Colgate Palmolive’s Code of Conduct
Colgate Palmolive is recognized as one of the world’s most ethical companies.
When looking at news articles, company’s reports and their webpage is evident Colgate Palmolive gives high importance to aligning their company’s actions with their values. As stated in Colgate Palmolive’s Code of Conduct their three core values are Caring, Global Teamwork and Continuous Improvement. The first one is manifested by their actions towards protecting the global environment, the enhancement of the communities where Colgate people live and work, and by the compliance with government laws and regulations.
The second one is accomplished by sharing ideas, technologies and talents as a global team. The third one, by better understanding the consumers’ and customers’ needs and by the innovation of their products, services and processes. Later on, concrete actions that are based on these values will be discussed.
Colgate Palmolive’s code of conduct major objectives are the following: •To value people as their great resource. •To avoid conflicts of interest: Colgate people cannot own a stock in a company competing with or doing business with Colgate and they cannot work for a competitor of Colgate while working for them. To protect the company’s trade secret and confidential information.
•To maintain reliable records and reports: Colgate’s financial position and the results of its operations must be recorded in accordance with the requirements of law and generally accepted accounting principles the business transactions and the disposition of assets of the Company. •To work towards sustainability and social responsibility; •To protect shareholder value through good corporate governance: Colgate’s corporate governance policies serve a shareholder safeguard. To maintain strong audit programs to increase investor confidence: this is reflected in the Company’s longstanding policies and procedures, including an internal audit group monitoring financial controls worldwide, independent auditors who have a broad mandate, and an independent Audit Committee overseeing these areas.
These key points in Colgate Palmolive’s code of conduct demonstrate the compromise that the company has towards its employees, shareholders, stakeholders, the environment, the community and the law and regulations.
The company encourages their employees to consult the code when in doubt and it has an ethics hotline available for them to call and make consults about the ethics code or to report any unethical situation. Colgate Palmolive’s Sustainability Strategy Colgate Palmolive’s takes into account its values when defining its strategic plans, a good example of this is the 2011 to 2015 sustainability strategy, where the goals are aligned with the company’s values. Some of the goals in their sustainability strategy are: COLGATE-PALMOLIVE ETHICS REPORT a)To promote healthier lives, by: promoting health? nd wellness to reduce employee health risks ? by 15%? , achieving a 5% reduction in health costs and an improvement in early diagnosis of chronic and treatable disease? and continuing to focus? on safety to achieve the goal of zero lost-time incidents b)To contribute to the communities where employees live and work by partnering with dental professionals to improve community oral health care, expanding “Bright Smiles, Bright Futures” program externally to reach one billion children by 2020, and continuing to provide Colgate products after natural disasters? )
To produce products that respect the planet by ensuring that ingredients continue to meet all recognized standards for safety, quality, environmental compliance and biodegradability and reducing the environmental impact of their products and packages by 20%, by increasing the use of sustainable materials and recycled content. d)To reduce water consumption by reducing the use of water associated with their products by 15%, working with local and global organizations to help promote access to clean water and promoting water conservation awareness among over two billion consumers.
)To reduce their impact on climate and the environment by reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions per unit production associated with the manufacture and distribution of their products by 20%, reducing waste per unit production sent to landfills from our operations by 15%. When analyzing Colgate Palmolive’s key sustainable strategic goals it’s evident that their oriented towards CP’s first value: Caring, and these actions will have an impact in aspects as company’s innovation and productivity, as well as in the communities, the lives of their employees and in the environment.
The fact that this corporation is present almost in every country of this world give us an idea of the large scale impact that their actions and the decisions have in the planet, because we’re talking about a company that it’s present in all the continents. Colgate Palmolive’s strategic plans show that they are aware that given the magnitude of their operations they directly impact environment, and that is why they’re addressing two essential topics: water consumption and pollution by waste and carbon emissions. Colgate Palmolive’s Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility is also reflected in Colgate Palmolive’s actions and activities, and we are going to take a look at what they’re doing in order to be considered a social responsible corporation.
To analyze Colgate Palmolive’s social responsibility we’re going to take into consideration how they approach the four major aspects of Corporate Social Responsibility employees, customers, environment and society. -Employees: CP’s encourages training, career development and work-life balance programs, with the objective of making their employees feel appreciated and recognized for their efforts.
Colgate offers more than 150 raining courses in 25 languages; these courses are aligned to COLGATE-PALMOLIVE ETHICS REPORT complete training on business ethics, inclusiveness, and respect. Also, CP encourages diversity inclusion, and supports network and affinity groups representing many different perspectives and ways of life. Colgate Palmolive is a company that cares about its employees, it thinks of them as the major reason for the corporation’s success. CP’s employees remain with the Company an average of thirteen years, this proves that the corporation really cares about making feel employees feel part of the success, and make them feel recognized for their work.
It’s evident that CP has accomplished a welcoming work environment and a corporate culture that is accepted and embraced by the employees. -Customers: CP has a dynamic relationship with customers, it is important for the company to listen the customers and learn about their needs. CP has nine consumer innovation centers, situated close to customers in different parts of the world, with the objective of developing insight- driven innovation. Colgate Palmolive’s way of thinking is clear: working to meet costumer’s needs.
An example of how it accomplishes that is having researches immersed themselves in communities to learn about consumer’s oral care and cleaning habits, and to learn about their daily routines, this insight helps develop innovative products that give proactive solutions to consumers. CP has a Research and Development program which objective is to provide effective and safe consumer products, this reflects the company’s commitment to ensure consumers trust on the quality and performance of all its brands.
Environment: CP has a commitment to reduce the environmental impact of its 60 manufacturing operations around the world. The company has worked for more than a decade to reduce the company’s environmental footprint.
There are several ways in which CP is working to reduce its environmental impact: a)Reducing Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: CP is committed to continuously improve its greenhouse gas emissions, and to the year 2011 it has been successful: it has had 21% improvement in greenhouse gas emissions per ton of product manufactured in 2010 vs. 002 and 8. 6% reduction in energy consumption in manufacturing from 2002 to 2010.
b)Promoting Water Conservation, Access and Awareness: water is an ingredient in many Colgate products, and is required in almost every phase of the product life cycle. From 2002 to 2010, Colgate facilities around the world focused on decreasing water use and wastewater loading. In 2010 Colgate used approximately 2. 8 billion fewer liters of water in manufacturing than in 2002. CP recognizes that the water consumption of its activities is high and it is working towards reducing it.
Their compromise goes further than just reducing the water consumption of their activities; it is also working to educate their customers about the importance of saving water, they launched a multimedia campaign in Central America and China to encouraged shoppers to save water by turning off the faucet while brushing their teeth. CP Portugal, Denmark and Sweden also launched in store category initiatives to educate consumers about saving water while brushing their teeth, washing dishes and cleaning floors. COLGATE-PALMOLIVE ETHICS REPORT c)Reducing waste:.
From the manufacturing operations till after the consumer use, the Company seeks to reduce solid waste. In India, CP found and innovative way to manage its “waste” is used as a key ingredient for a nearby company’s business, yielding $190,000 in annual savings for Colgate.
Just like water, waste is one of the big environmental issues to date. CP’s activities generate tons of waste annually, and it is working to find ways to reduce it and to reutilize it in other activities. An innovative idea is the use of recycled ? Colgate oral care packaging to make affordable eco-friendly ? roducts. Since summer 2010, 4,000 groups across the U. S. —? known as Colgate’s Oral Care Brigade — have been collecting used? Colgate toothpaste tubes and packaging materials for the company TerraCycle to? turn them into tote bags, pencil cases, binders, picture frames and? other products that will be sold by some of Colgate’s retail partners.
? -Society: Colgate and its employees contribute to organizations through financial support, product donations and volunteer time each year. In 2010, the Company contributed over $18 million in cash to support community programs around the world.
The Company also provided over $21 million in in-kind donations. CP has various programs that focus in improving the lives of the people of different communities and also, focus in education. Among the community programs are: Put Your Mind To It and Haz La U (Make the U), that consists in funds to help Afro-American and Hispanic kids go to college.
Other programs like “Clean Hands, Good Health” provide educational materials and sample products to schools and communities to teach them to wash their hands properly.
CP also sponsors Starlight Children’s Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping seriously ill children and their families cope with pain, fear and isolation through entertainment, education and family activities. Colgate Palmolive’s on the news In this past decade there have been some allegations against Colgate Palmolive and its products, here we talk about the most notorious ones: ? The Triclosan scandal: triclosan is an antibacterial chemical found in Colgate® Total toothpaste and Dial® Liquid Hand Soap.
New studies suggest that it may harm both human health and the environment. The department of Food and Drug Administration from United States decided to investigate further.
In the mean time, a debate over the safety popular CP’s products, has put the company at the center of a debate of product disclosure and corporate responsibility. ?Hazardous waste at the Chemsol federal Superfund site in Piscataway, New Jersey: Colgate-Palmolive is one of about 300 companies held potentially responsible for hazardous waste at the Chemsol federal Superfund site in Piscataway, New Jersey.
Their involvement in this site may have contributed to the contamination of an estimated 18,500 cubic yards (14,100 m3) of soil with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), PCBs, and lead off-site. A proposed $23 million agreement with the government and state of New Jersey would require Colgate-Palmolive and the other involved companies to pay for the cleanup of this hazardous waste that is contaminating the soil as well as the groundwater. It contaminated a large area of space and also the water in 2008.
This dilemma was not good for Colgate when consumers heard of it. COLGATE-PALMOLIVE ETHICS REPORT Nanomaterial Product Safety: the scientific community raised serious questions about the safety of nanomaterials. Laboratory studies report that many types of nanoparticles interfere with normal cellular function and cause oxidative damage and cell death. Nanomaterials are used in cosmetics, anti-aging creams and sunscreens. In relation to the triclosan allegations Colgate Pamolive announced in September 2012 that it will remove triclosan from specific products, such as dishwashing detergent, due to growing demand from consumers, and regulatory scrutiny. In the mean time, it’s still the key active ingredient in Colgate Total toothpaste.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of triclosan in Colgate toothpaste for the prevention of gingivitis in 1997. The FDA launched a safety review in various consumer products with triclosan as an ingredient and its results are expected to be published in the fall 2012. According to Colgate Palmolive’s declarations the company does not use nanotechnology in its products, they affirm that new potential nanoparticle ingredient will undergo a safety assessment prior to use in any Colgate product. Colgate has affirmed that the specific phthalates used in their products have are safe profile and are used at very low levels.
Independent scientists and governmental bodies, including the U.
S. Food and Drug Administration, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Health Canada and other scientific bodies in Europe, North America and Japan, have extensively studied the health and environmental effects of CP’s products. COLGATE-PALMOLIVE ETHICS REPORT Reflecting about the analysis of Colgate Palmolive’s business ethics, it’s evident that for big companies it’s vital to conduct their business activities in a manner that is ethical, legal and socially responsible. This importance is even bigger when these companies have presence in other countries around the world.
Employees make decisions on a everyday basis, and those decisions have an impact either in the ethical, financial or human aspects, they represent somehow the company, therefore a well communicated campaign about the code of conduct and ethic philosophy is crucial to make sure actions are align with values. From reviewing Colgate Palmolive’s Code of Conduct and Sustainability report, as well as different articles about the company’s actions, its performance and social contribution, is conclusive that it is committed to perform socially responsible.
From several interviews conducted with employees from Colgate Palmolive’s offices in the Dominican Republic, I am capable to conclude that everything that is stated in the company’s code of conduct and several other reports I read, as the sustainability and corporate governance report, is applied in the company’s activities in the cited country. Overall, employees are happy to be working for CP, the company stimulates its employees with awards, dynamic activities and conferences concerning their physical wellness, job satisfaction and other topics.
This has a positive impact on the rotation of its human resources.
Colgate Palmolive rarely faces a scandal concerning their products or the company’s activities. In this report we comment on the most notorious ones. Overall, CP knows how to handle these situations in a way that doesn’t affect their sales significantly. It is committed to be recognized as an ethical company, and in year 2011, it was awarded with several recognitions as: World’s Most Ethical Companies from Ethisphere Magazine, No. 38 in the U. S.
500 Newsweek Green Rankings and No. 0 in Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens. In short, Colgate Palmolive makes a good business ethics case study.
It is an example of how a company should act to be recognized as ethical and socially responsible. One of the key ingredients for their recipe of success is that it is constantly looking for ways to improve their business activities and their products: it is not conformist with what it’s got so far, it’s always trying new ways in which it can ameliorate its products, its business production to have less impact in the environment, its inancial decisions to create value for its shareholders and its human resources policies to retained their most valuable tool: its employees.
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