The first containers of Pantene to utilize plant-based plastic shipped to stores in Western Europe this month. The move is just the beginning of Procter & Gamble’s effort to replace petroleum-based containers of Pantene with ones that incorporate plant-based plastic, which is sourced from sugarcane.
This story first appeared in the April 22, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
While P&G executives said consumers won’t be able to tell the difference between a plant-based container and the previous ones, there will be green labels on the containers calling out the firm’s efforts. The roll out is expected to take 18 months as Pantene is sold in 180 countries.
Overall, the new packaging effort means that P&G will consume 70 percent less fossil fuel than using the traditional packaging process, which is not a renewable resource. The facility that makes the containers runs almost exclusively on energy derived by the sugarcane by-products. “They even produce excess energy that is returned to the grid,” said Hanneke Faber, vice president and general manager of Global Hair for P&G.
While the cost to operate the packaging shift is higher than the prior method, it isn’t a cost that would make an impact on the beauty giant’s financial results, according to Faber.
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“It is an investment to be at the forefront and as the technology becomes more mainstream [costs will decrease]. As the world’s biggest hair care brand, we need to be there first. We are responsible for healthy hair and also a healthy world.”
While P&G’s sustainable efforts trace back to the Fifties, it was in 2007 that the firm’s first formal visions and strategies in the area were revealed, which aims to improve five billion lives in the next five years.
The amount of greenhouse gases reduced by P&G’s new method of packaging Pantene is reduced by 170 percent said Len Sauers, P&G’s vice president of sustainability.