P&G partners with EPA to increase sustainabilityThe Environmental Protection Agency and Proctor & Gamble have joined forces to begin a research and development study that will focus on developing a sustainability tool to improve manufacturing operations and focus on supply chain optimization. The five-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between P&G and the EPA's National Risk Management Research Laboratory will assist the personal care product company in its quest to become environmentally sustainable, a goal it announced in 2010.

The company has broken their sustainability vision into several separate goals, including using renewable energy to power facilities, only utilizing renewable materials or recyclate for all products and packaging, eliminating all customer and manufacturing waste from landfills and maximizing resource conservation efforts while still producing quality products.

P&G recognizes that implementing changes to achieve all of these goals by its target date of 2020 will be a challenge. The company is relying on its huge network of manufacturing facilities and its global supply chain to figure out how to best utilize the EPA's list of sustainability metrics and performance indicators while making sure its manufacturing costs do not spiral out of control.

The EPA and P&G's joint venture will focus on P&G creating a sustainable framework for its tissue and towel products by combining its knowledge of manufacturing operations and supply chains with the EPA's metrics and indicators.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for us to be at the leading edge of developing tools to support the entire company’s effort to improve the sustainability of our products and our operations," said Stefano Zenezini, P&G's vice president of product supply for brands such as Charmin, Puffs and Bounty. "We’ve made great progress in areas like energy and water use reduction, but really need these new tools to help guide the increasingly complex choices we will be making as we continue to strive to meet the vision the company has committed to."

Sustainability and research agreements with the EPA are not uncommon. A range of private corporations have agreed to work with the EPA on research and sustainability efforts. By making such agreements, they are able to perform research in EPA facilities and collaborate on studies with the federal agency. Companies such as General Electric, Helsinki University of Technology, Midwest Soil and Aerodyne Research are listed on the EPA's website as NRMLR partners.
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