The Virtuous Circle is Alive at Clorox

Feb 23, 2011 9:07 AM ET

From the CSRHUB Blog - A Post by Cynthia Figge

The following is part of the Crowds of Ratings series originally featured on Triple Pundit – offering free sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on over 5,000 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies.

Clorox Headquarters. Photo: jtjdt on Flickr

By Cynthia Figge for the CSRHUB Blog

Unfortunately, there’s no playbook for the successful corporate merger of sustainability, growth and employee engagement. But there are living examples to help C-level executives navigate corporate sustainability.

Speaking at the recent GreenBiz Forum in San Francisco, Don Knauss, CEO of Clorox, explained how Clorox’s 2007 introduction of its Green Works line successfully merged the three. Clorox wanted to grow into the green area and its employees became really engaged in the process. The line quickly grew to $100 million in sales in one year – although sales dropped in the recession to follow. The repositioning of Brita and acquisition of Burt’s Bees also contributed to growth, and enhanced Clorox’s reputation for producing sustainable products.

Clorox’s ethnographic research found that consumers want to get toxics away from their kids and out of the home and only then express concerns about environmental damage. In addition to the movement toward sustainable products, Clorox committed to four goals: reduce production of solid waste, and reduce use of carbon, energy and water. These goals are now part of the Clorox executive scorecard and how executives are compensated, and part of its Board obligations.

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Cynthia Figge, Cofounder and COO of CSRHUB is a forerunner and thought leader in the corporate sustainability movement. In 1996 she co-founded EKOS International, one of the first consultancies integrating sustainability and corporate strategy. Cynthia has worked with major organizations including BNSF, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Dow Jones, and REI to help craft sustainability strategy integrated with business. She was an Officer of LIN Broadcasting/McCaw Cellular leading new services development, and started a new “Greenfield” mill with Weyerhaeuser. She serves as Advisor to media and technology companies, and served as President of the Board of Sustainable Seattle. Cynthia has an MBA from Harvard Business School. Cynthia is based in the Seattle area.

CSRHUB is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings tool that allows managers, researchers, consultants, academics and individual activists to track the CSR and sustainability performance of major companies. We aggregate data from more than 90 sources to provide our users with a comprehensive source of CSR information on about 5000 publicly traded companies in 66 countries. CSRHUB is a B Corporation. Browse our ratings at