Approach to Environmental Sustainability in Home Care

January 2023

This briefing discusses the home care industry’s approach to environmental sustainability at a time of economic turmoil. Consumer demand for sustainable product solutions is growing. However, price remains a barrier to wider adoption. The industry has reached a point where being more sustainable equates to improving on profitability. The last section of this report provides a summary of the leading players’ sustainability goals and achievements to date.

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Key findings

Consumer attitude towards climate change is evolving

Environmental consciousness continuous to grow among consumers globally. For many, the pandemic experience has re-emphasised the fact that individual behavior has a direct impact on the environment. More time spent at home revealed the amount of waste households accumulate over time. This growing base of conscious consumers demands for real sustainable solutions and guidance towards improving their environmental footprint.

Price as a barrier to broader adoption

Decisively green home care brands and products continue to only account for a small percentage of total sales in a highly commoditized industry. Many consumers are either unwilling or financially incapable of paying a premium for a more sustainable product. In addition, these products compete directly with efficacy as a consumer priority.

Sustainability goals are now profitable goals

Industry players have started to realize that achieving their sustainability targets can also translate into improving on profitability. At the end of the day, saving on resources, and cutting down on material use and waste reduces overall manufacturing cost. On-going supply chain issues paired with high net material inflation has made this relationship even more apparent.

Industry players set ambitious sustainability goals

All leading home care players have announced long-term sustainability goals. Emphasis is placed on reducing CO2 emissions across Scope 1-3, minimizing plastic waste through packaging innovation and improved recycling processes, the preservation of the planet’s finite water resources, and a more responsible sourcing of raw materials.

Scope
Key findings
Climate empowerment is growing among consumers
Environmental consciousness among consumers is growing
Affordability versus sustainability: a dilemma in times of crisis
Premium price tags hinder mass adoption (1)
Premium price tags hinder mass adoption (2)
Learning from other industries
Penetration of sustainable home care products by region
Reuse and refill solutions offer better plastic savings
Refillable solutions an approach to affordable sustainability
Despite challenges, sustainability is considered a priority for businesses
The strong link between sustainability and business resilience
An inflection point: sustainability goals are now profitable goals
Consumer goods companies investing in sustainable products
Paving the way towards a low-carbon economy
Aiming for responsible sourcing of ingredients
Packaging: reducing plastic footprint
Tackling the global water crisis
Procter & Gamble: sustainability commitments and policies
P&G includes water conservation in its “Ambition 2030” plan
Water scarcity has turned into a focus area for Procter & Gamble
A new line of laundry and home care products launched to combat water issues in the US
P&G addresses solutions to plastic packaging with “Ambition 2030” action plan
Black items cannot be identified by ultraviolet visual sorting systems
P&G placing sustainability at the forefront: a reprise for cold water washing strategy
Tide followed suit in the US with a clear cold wash message
Unilever: sustainability commitments and policies
Investing in renewable sources of carbon
New technology set to support Unilever in achieving net-zero ambition (1)
New technology set to support Unilever in achieving net-zero ambition (2)
Unilever Vietnam deploying greener sources of carbon
Seventh Generation reduces CO2 footprint through concentration and compaction
“Dirt is Good” rolls out concentrated formulation in dilute-at-home scheme
In-store refill stations propagate Unilever’s “No Plastic” efforts
Tapping into computer-designed enzymes to offer more sustainable products
Henkel: sustainability commitments and policies (1)
Henkel: sustainability commitments and policies (2)
Henkel invests in switch to renewable feedstock in partnership with BASF
Brand incubator Love Nature launches new product development in Germany
Henkel improves on circularity and recyclability across its product portfolio
Henkel is working on multiple solutions to recycle black plastic
Henkel introduces cold wash claims to dishwashing category
Reckitt: sustainability commitments and policies (1)
Reckitt: sustainability commitments and policies (2)
Finish 0% turns to nature for delivering powerful cleaning
Sustainable innovation through formulation: Veja Power Nature
Sustainable innovation to reduce plastic: Lysol Smart
Reckitt develops paper-based dishwashing tablets packaging with global launch pending
Incentivising shoppers to help close the loop
In-store refill: refill options are spreading across the globe
Progress on sustainable development is slowing down
Key sustainability legislation drivers in Home Care
Zero pollution ambitions: Chemical Strategy for Sustainability (CSS)
Preserving water resources: an aspect of the European Green Deal (EGD)
Green claims rationalisation : a single market for green products and their verification
Defining “safe and sustainable” in home care: the task ahead
Key sustainability legislation drivers in packaging
Plastic regulations already require industries and retailers to find better packaging solutions
Singapore’s packaging reporting framework a step towards a circular economy
Key takeaways

Home Care

This is the aggregation of laundry care, dishwashing products, surface care, chlorine bleach, toilet care, polishes, air fresheners and insecticides.

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