RB to focus sustainability messaging on saving money

Reckitt Benckiser (RB) is to focus its sustainability communications around the added money-saving benefits to being environmentally friendly rather than leading with its green credentials.

The company, which owns brands such as AirWick, Cillit Bang and Vanish, says it will not “shout” about its sustainability credentials but instead will focus on advising consumers on using their products in the right way and saving money as a result.

Dave Challis, director of global sustainability, environment and health and safety at RB, says: “Only a small proportion of consumers make active purchases based on sustainability criteria. It’s not our role to make consumers care [about sustainability issues], our role is to make products that meet consumers’ needs in a sustainable way.”

He adds that some consumers deem environmental and eco brands as “worst performing” and says RB will not roll out a separate eco or sustainable product line as the company wants to ensure that all of its popular products are sustainable.

The strategy will help consumers to reap the rewards of the cost-saving benefits to buying sustainable products, RB will grow and the environment will also profit, Challis says.

“RB hasn’t been shouting about its sustainability record despite being industry leading. We are letting the numbers speak for themselves and if people are interested, they can find out more by reading our sustainability report or visiting the Our Home Our Planet website,” he says.

The RB sustainability report claims that the company has reduced its total carbon footprint by 15% since 2007. It is now three quarters of the way towards reaching its 20% reduction goal by 2020.

As RB reaches its carbon reducing target, Challis says it will review its sustainability programme and set further goals to reflect “how the world has changed”.

Consumers can find out more information about being sustainable on the Our Home Our Planet, which was launched in 2008 and gives tips on activities consumers do using RB products, such as laundry and dish washing, without “telling people what to do”.

Internally RB has developed a carbon calculator for employees working on new product development to assess the small sustainability changes that could add up to “big differences” across the organisation in reaching its “Carbon20” target.

RB is also working with consumer electricals companies, such as dishwasher and washing machine manufacturers, to make sure their products work well in harmony in a sustainable way.

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