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Reckitt Benckiser Sustainability Report: 2020 Carbon Goal Met

Health, hygiene and home products manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser has achieved a 21 percent improvement on its normalized greenhouse gas emissions per dose since 2007 – beating its 20 percent target eight years ahead of time, according to the company’s 2011 corporate sustainability report.

In 2007, the company produced 66.07 grams of CO2-equivalent for every dose of product. In 2011, this figure dropped to 52.2 grams per dose.

The company’s absolute emissions rose almost 9 percent over that time period, from 24.7 million to 26.7 million metric tons of CO2e. A 38 percent growth in the consumer use of Reckitt Benckiser products from 2007 to 2011 accounts for the discrepancies between normalized and absolute emissions figures, the report says.

RB has developed its own life cycle analysis tool named the Carbon20 Calculator. The company says the tool provides RB scientists with quick feedback as they are designing the new products. It is also used to assess the RB product pipeline so to assess changes likely to affect our its carbon footprint over the coming three years as products are launched.

The biggest emissions impacts made by the life cycle assessment tool have been in consumer use (68.5 percent of the total footprint) and raw materials and packaging (23 percent).  Over 5,750 tons of carbon emissions were avoided in 2011 due to various process improvements across RB’s US-based manufacturing facilities, the report says.

During 2011 the company reduced emissions from energy use in manufacturing by 4 percent, down to 0.042 tonnes of CO2 per 1,000 CUs. The report says that the company has targeted improvements in energy efficiency and started using greener energy sources. Seven RB plants now use combined heat and power technology, and seven use renewable energy sources such as solar or hydro electricity.

In terms of actually energy used RB increased its total use by 5 percent year-on-year but cut its normalized energy use by 7 percent in the same time period. (see graph, below)

In 2011, RB used 0.93m3 of water for every 1,000 consumer units of production, 2 percent more than in 2010. Total consumption was 6.1 million m3, an increase of 14 percent on 2010.

RB attributes the increase in its water consumption to process changes through new product introductions at facilities in the US, China and Brazil. All of these sites increased production in 2011, in particular of more water-intensive products such as liquid detergent and as such their water use rose.

The company has reduced its fresh water usage per unit of production by 16 percent since 2000. In 2011, RB withdrew water from the following
sources:

• Public supply – 3,109,583 m3
• Private wells – 1,769,740 m3
• Rivers – 871,116 m3
• Other (including tankers) – 329,360 m3

RB has reduced water discharges by 32 percent per unit of production but increased them in absolute terms by 9 percent since 2000. In 2011, its water discharges decreased by 2 percent per unit of production.

The company created 0.010 tonnes of waste for every 1,000 CUs of
production in 2011, of which 12 percent or 0.001 tonnes
per 1,000 CUs is classified as hazardous. This was 1 percent per unit of production lower than in 2010, but RB’s hazardous waste production was 20 percent higher per unit of production.

RB’s total waste in the year increased by 12 percent and hazardous waste increased by 36 percent, the report says. Since 2000, the company has reduced its total waste generation by 7 percent per unit of production since but its total waste volume increased by 50 percent.

Click through for Environmental Leader’s coverage of earlier RB reports from 2007, 2008 and  2010. In last year’s report the company was three-quarters of the way towards its 2020 carbon reduction goal.

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