Dish Soap for the Wildlife

Procter & Gamble

6. Clean Water and Sanitation 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 14. Life Below Water

Overview

For over 40 years Dawn has been actively helping marine animals affected by oil pollution and continues to contribute to this cause. Throughout the journey, they have not only found a sustainable product but have also made the bottle recyclable to not create a negative impact anywhere in the life cycle. Dawn has a clear devotion to being eco friendly and back this up in many facets of the company.

Authors

Noah Wyburn

Noah Wyburn

Kolin Dhamelia

Kolin Dhamelia

Kyle Szymanski

Kyle Szymanski

School

The University of Toledo

The University of Toledo

Professor

Gary Insch

Gary Insch

Innovation

Dawn came into fruition in 1972. Within the first couple of years, the International Bird Rescue organization came to them regarding their product. IBR is one of many organizations that work to protect wildlife from disasters such as oil pollution. In this case, Dawn makes a great partner because their product was found to not only successfully clean these animals, but it poses no threat to them as well which has the potential to be a very real problem. Dawn’s use is intended to contribute to the 14th UN Sustainable Development Goal: Life Below Water and to touch on the 6th Goal: Clean Water and Sanitation as well. Elizabeth Kinney, the Communications Director for the North America Home Care business, explains this and also informs on how programs like this are carried out stating, “I also work with our partners to implement our social good programs - like the Dawn Wildlife program.” As Kinney explained, the impact goes beyond just saving the animals, they also donate their product for countless causes which contribute to the cleaning of oceans affected by oil spills. Protecting the environment is just as important as protecting the wildlife and they not only understand that but are actively doing both.

Dish Soap for the Wildlife

Inspiration

“Dawn Helps Save Wildlife” was born almost half a century ago and started quite uniquely. A wildlife organization called the International Bird Rescue (IBR), which focuses on helping birds affected by both manmade and natural disasters, reached out to Procter & Gamble and asked if they would be able to use their dish soap to clean the animals on a large scale because of how well they found it to work. IBR found that the dish soap was able to get the oil off the animals while also being gentle enough to not damage their feathers. Research done by the International Bird Rescue Research Center, proved Dawn to be the best solution out of the 22 tests they conducted. You would expect Dawn to have to sell their product or advertise it for this purpose, but in this case, an outside organization came to them.

Since partnering with the International Bird Rescue, Dawn has donated thousands of bottles of dish soap to clean animals and aid them in over 200 spills. The P&G good everyday website states “When oil spills into and pollutes the water, it poses a great danger to the wildlife that surrounds it. The innocent victims of oil spills and environmental catastrophes include marine mammals like seals, sea lions, and dolphins. Dawn dish soap is tough on grease and oil pollution, but gentle enough for wildlife, making it the perfect partner for The Marine Mammal Center.” The Center has been working to keep aquatic wildlife and their environment clean since 1975. With 1,650 volunteers and the support of a concerned public, the Center can respond to more marine mammals in distress than any other organization in the world. Sick and injured animals are treated at the Center’s state-of-the-art veterinary facilities and are cared for until they can be released back to their ocean home. Dawn dish soap started as a regular product but is now a huge help in working to protect and restore the health of aquatic wildlife alongside IBR and The Marine Mammal Center.

Overall impact

This innovation has extended further than meets the eye to different facets of business sustainability. The company is becoming more eco-friendly, but Dawn specifically hits the nail on the head. The product itself has tremendous positive impacts, most importantly its contribution to keeping animals clean from oil. If not helped, the oil would destroy the ability of fur-bearing mammals to insulate themselves, as well as, harm birds by damaging their feathers stopping them from flying or swimming. Not only is it just damaging, but also poisonous. Helping these animals saves the environment by not disturbing the food chain or habitats. The chain reaction this product creates is astounding. Evidence of their impact lies in the numbers. Thousands of animals have been saved, the product has been used in response to hundreds of oil spills by organizations partnered with them, and the success of the product equivalates to it being used even more. The impact Dawn has had on aquatic wildlife cannot be understated and it continues to grow.

Business benefit

It has been the country’s top-selling dishwashing liquid for decades. Their support for the International Bird Rescue organization and contribution to the environment created a lot of business success and brand awareness for the company. People like to back a product that is contributing positively to the environment especially as climate change is becoming more of a threat and this product does just that. Dawn’s Corporate Social Responsibility provides an excellent case of how a company can exhibit its social value and commitment to local communities while being consistent in building a competitive advantage over other companies. It also gives this company opportunities to retain the best employees.

Social and environmental benefit

The innovation of Dawn dish soap has had positive impacts starting at the business itself and extending to the animals, society, and the environment. Dawn has made a big impact on society by volunteering with the International Bird Rescue who is committed to caring for the birds during disasters. It has also donated thousands of bottles to The Marine Mammal Center and the International Bird Rescue over the course of decades. Voluntarism is product motivated rather than charity. The company’s positive visibility has had benefits like customer loyalty and excellent supportive media coverage. Not only are their actions positively affecting society, but they are also saving environments. To so many, this is just the soap they use to clean their dishes but have no idea the tremendous impacts the product has. Dawn has their hand in everything from a product that is being used on a day-to-day basis to better the environment and the living animals a part of that environment, to a recyclable container so they do not even create negative impacts at the end of their use. The company makes it a priority to involve itself in many facets of sustainability. It is very clear that this is not a ploy to appeal to a specific audience but is something ingrained in the philosophy of the company.

Not only does Dawn care about the use of the product, but they also put time into the packaging and making it as recyclable as possible. This gives another example of how they are being environmentally responsible and shows their contribution to Sustainable Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. They are continually trying to improve their products, as of now, Dawn dishwashing liquid is now using 35% post-consumer recycled content in clear bottles. Dawn Power wash makes it easy to use refills, just switch out the bottle and use the same sprayer nozzle over again. Dawn’s long-term vision is to achieve 100% renewable or recycled material in their products and packaging with zero waste going to landfills and conservation of resources in designing their products. To help achieve this vision they are developing products that rinse faster, clean better in cold water to save energy, and use less packaging through more product concentration.

As part of their October 2015 pledge to be a signatory of the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, P&G agreed to achieve 30 percent renewable energy to power its plants globally by 2020 with a long-term vision to use 100 percent renewable energy. This is in addition to committing to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020. P&G plans to meet its electricity demands by using 100 percent wind power to make iconic Home & Fabric Care brands, such as Dawn and Tide. This is the result of a new partnership with a Texas-based wind farm that will generate 370,000 MWh of electricity each year. The amount of power generated from the partnership will be equivalent to avoiding more than 200,000 metric tons of CO₂ emissions annually. This gives insight into how the company cares about sustainability throughout not just as a front for this one product.

Interview

Elizabeth Kinney, Communications Director for North America Home Care business

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Procter & Gamble

Procter & Gamble

Cincinnati, Ohio, US

Business Website: https://us.pg.com/

Year Founded: 1837

Number of Employees: 10000+

Procter & Gamble is an American consumer goods corporation founded in 1837 and headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. P&G is a huge company that has over 60 different brands, many of them household names. Our focus was on Dawn Dish Soap but other brands include Downy, Tide, Charmin, Febreze, Gain, Old Spice, and Crest. Sustainability is becoming more popular, and this company not only understands but is actively adapting to this change.