The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How Colgate is reducing logistics emissions

As a leading global consumer products company, operating in over 80 countries globally with more than 50 manufacturing and research facilities, Colgate understands the potential consequences of climate change, and is firmly committed to acting responsibly and conscientiously to protect the environment wherever it operates.  Tweet This!

This case study is based on the 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report by Colgate that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Abstract

Colgate’s Customer Service and Logistics teams constantly focus on sustainable and efficient logistics initiatives and efforts around the globe, to reduce both costs and the company’s carbon footprint. In order to reduce logistics emissions Colgate took action to:

  • promote load optimisation
  • optimise routes
  • co-load trailers
  • use intermodal shipping and improve vehicle fuel efficiency

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report Colgate identified a range of material issues, such as responsible sourcing and human rights, oral health, deforestation, product stewardship, sustainable packaging. Among these, reducing logistics emissions stands out as a key material issue for Colgate.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Colgate engages with:

To identify and prioritise material topics Colgate engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Employees
·      Frequent internal communication

·      Employee engagement surveys

·      Geographic sustainability teams

·      Internal subject matter experts

·      Quarterly sustainability steering team reviews

Consumers

 

·      Integrated marketing communications including those addressing “brand purpose”

·      Ongoing consumer dialogue

·      Consumer surveys

·      Social media postings

Retail customers and partners

 

·      Ongoing sustainability network groups

·      Sustainability surveys

·      Trade partner supplier expectations

Peers and suppliers

 

·      Peer benchmarking annually via Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) membership

·      Supplier engagement meetings, assessments and disclosure requests

Shareholders and investor groups

 

·      Direct inquiries and feedback on an ongoing basis

·      Face-to-face meetings

·      Investor conferences

Government and regulatory bodies

 

·      Ongoing monitoring of regulatory activity relevant to Colgate

·      Face-to-face meetings

Non-governmental associations

 

·      Quarterly direct inquiries and feedback

·      Face-to-face meetings

·      Participation in boards

·      Advisory councils and partnership programmes

·      Reporting and disclosure expectations

Industry trade associations ·      Ongoing participation in sustainability steering and working groups
Local communities and community groups ·      Direct inquiries and feedback

·      Face-to-face meetings annually

Media ·      Direct inquiries and feedback

What actions were taken by Colgate to reduce logistics emissions?

In its 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report Colgate reports that it took the following actions for reducing logistics emissions:

  • Promoting load optimisation
  • Colgate uses SAP Transportation Management – a tool currently utilised in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Brazil – to automatically plan shipments to their optimal capacity. As a result, Colgate achieves more efficient load planning and minimises the quantity of shipments to deliver its products in a timely fashion. In 2018, this technology was also applied in new markets in Latin America and Asia, driving freight planning efficiencies.
  • Optimising routes
  • Using internal tools and partnering with third parties, Colgate analyses trends in lane-level detail. In this way, it identifies transport solutions that reduce transit time, emissions and costs.
  • Co-loading trailers
  • Colgate tries to minimise the number of trucks on the road by co-loading trailers with other companies. The company’s creative freight load-sharing programme enables Colgate to minimise the number of its trucks on the road and, also, wasted space in its trailers.
  • Using intermodal shipping and improving vehicle fuel efficiency
  • To drive reductions in CO2 emissions and diesel consumption on a global scale, Colgate uses intermodal shipping. In addition, Colgate’s logistics providers are upgrading their fleets to include more aerodynamic and efficient vehicles, improving, accordingly, miles-per-gallon fuel efficiency.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is:

Disclosure 302-2 Energy consumption outside of the organization

Disclosure 302-2 Energy consumption outside of the organization corresponds to:

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



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By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI-Standards Certified and IEMA approved Course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Colgate, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original at the link:

https://www.colgatepalmolive.com/content/dam/cp-sites/corporate/corporate/en_us/corp/locale-assets/pdf/Colgate_CorporateSocialResponsibility_SustainabilityReport_2017.pdf

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

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