Colgate-Palmolive
Personal care and cleaning products manufacturer
Has operations in over 70 countries and sells its products in more than 200 countries.

Overall

Owned USA
Rating D
About the Ratings
Colgate-Palmolive Company
USA

Company Assessment

Colgate-Palmolive Company
Praise
In 2023, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change risk. Responding companies are scored across four key areas: disclosure; awareness; management; and leadership. This company received a CDP Climate Change score of A-.
Source: CDP (2023)
In 2023, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to manage and govern freshwater resources. Responding companies are scored on six key metrics: transparency; governance & strategy; measuring & monitoring; risk assessment; targets & goals; and value chain engagement. This company received a CDP Water Security score of A-.
Source: CDP (2023)
America's Most Responsible Companies 2022 by Newsweek and Statista recognises the Top 500 most responsible companies in the United States. Companies were evaluated in three areas: environmental (waste, energy use, etc.), social (leadership diversity, employees and philanthropy) and governance (transparency and economic performance). This company received a total score of 86.5/100, ranking 4th in the Consumer Goods sector, and 29th overall.
JUST Capital polls Americans every year to identify the issues that matter most in defining just business behaviour. For their 2024 rankings the public identified 20 issues, which are organised under the headings Workers, Communities, Customers, Shareholders and Environment. JUST Capital then define metrics that map to those issues and track and analyse the largest, publicly traded U.S. companies. This analysis powers their rankings, in which this company ranked 93rd of 937 companies, and 2nd of 10 Personal Products companies.
In 2023, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts towards removing commodity-driven deforestation and forest degradation from its direct operations and supply chains. Responding companies are scored across four key areas: disclosure; awareness; management; and leadership. This company received a CDP Forests score of B.
Source: CDP (2023)
The 2024 WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard evaluates the progress and performance of 285 major retailers and manufacturer companies, focusing on actions companies have taken to ensure their own palm oil supply chain is sustainable and free of deforestation, natural ecosystem conversion, and human rights abuse. This company is rated 'well on path' with a score of 17.72 out of a possible total of 24.
This company is listed as having best practice on a report card on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in corporate America.
This company received an S&P Global ESG Score of 77/100 in the Household Products category of the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment, an annual evaluation of companies' sustainability practices (last updated 21 Oct 2022). The rankings are based on an analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, assessing issues such as corporate governance, risk management, environmental reporting, climate strategy, human rights and labour practices.
Criticism
This company sources palm oil from at least 20 of the 25 dirty palm oil producers identified in the 2018 Greenpeace report "The Final Countdown". In addition to deforestation, the 25 individual cases in the report include evidence of exploitation and social conflicts, illegal deforestation, development without permits, plantation development in areas zoned for protection and forest fires linked to land clearance.
The Talking Trash 2020 report by Changing Markets investigates the corporate playbook of false solutions to the plastic crisis. It found that the industry is actively delaying and derailing ambitious action on plastic pollution in its fight to maintain business as usual for as long as possible. For example, this company is signed up to 3 nice-sounding voluntary initiatives to address plastic waste, while also participating in two industry associations which lobby against legislation that could restrict plastic, or make corporations responsible for managing the waste they create, financially or otherwise.
As You Sow's 2019 report, Mining the Disclosures, is a deep analysis of 215 companies' human rights performance in relation to sourcing conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This company's score was 34.9% (Weak).
The Green Supply Chain Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI) evaluates consumer-facing companies that have a sizeable supply chain in China. The evaluation uses government supervision data and public information to assess the environmental management of their supply chains in China. This company received a score of 18.62/100 (retrieved 24 Nov 2023).
Source: IPE (2023)
A 2022 BBC News, Mongabay and the Gecko Project released a joint investigation that looked into a scheme that was intended to help lift millions of Indonesians out of poverty and cut them in on the spoils of the global palm oil boom, but has instead been plagued by allegations of exploitation and illegality. They identified 13 companies, including this one, that have sourced palm oil from producers alleged to have withheld plasma (a portion of large-scale plantations to be shared with local communities), or the profits from plasma, from Indonesian communities over the past eight years. The losses suffered across Indonesia by communities owed plasma could stretch into the hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Protests by local tribes over plasma are violently suppressed by Indonesian authorities.
Rainforest Action Network's 2022 report and scorecard "Keep Forests Standing" assessed 17 brands and banks on their efforts to address their contribution to the destruction of forests, ongoing land grabs, and violence against local and Indigenous communities. This company received a 'D' grade in the evaluation.
Source: RAN (2022)
The PalmOil Scan app, produced by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), rates companies on their commitment to sourcing sustainable palm oil. Companies are scored on their use of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), commitment to sourcing CSPO, on-the-ground conservation action, and membership to the RSPO. Companies can earn a rating of Excellent, Good, Poor or No Commitment. This company is rated "Poor" (retrieved 18 Nov 2023).
Source: WAZA (2023)
In 2021 Break Free From Plastic engaged 11,184 volunteers in 45 countries to conduct 440 brand audits. These volunteers collected 330,493 pieces of plastic waste, 58% of which was marked with a clear consumer brand. This company ranked as one of the world's top 10 plastic polluters.
This company appears on PETA's (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, USA) 'Companies Working for Regulatory Change' list, that is, they conduct tests on animals only when required by law, are actively working for the replacement of animals with non-animal methods, and release to PETA all information about tests and what is done to avoid them.
Source: PETA (2022)
In 2022 the median pay for a worker at this company was US$39,370. The CEO was paid 367 times this amount. Exorbitant CEO pay is a major contributor to rising inequality. CEOs are getting more because of their power to set pay, not because they are increasing productivity or possess specific, high-demand skills. The economy would suffer no harm if CEOs were paid less (or taxed more). In contrast, the CEO-to-typical-worker compensation ratio was 20-to-1 in 1965 and 58-to-1 in 1989.
Information
In March 1992 thousands of protesters took to the streets of Mexico City to protest against the polluting practices and excessive water consumption of the company's local factory. Demands for relocation of the plant to outside the city have been made by local officials amongst others and have so far been ignored. Talks with local citizens were called off in November 1991. (Noted here as 'additional information only' due to age of report).
This company uses plastic microbeads in some of its personal care products. These particles are not retained by wastewater treatment so end up in the ocean where they contribute to ocean plastic pollution, and are hazardous to sea life. While the effects of microplastics on human health are not completely understood, there are concerns about plastic additives, such as phthalates, which are known endocrine disruptors which are shown to have harmful effects on life.
During the apartheid years, Colgate had subsidiaries in South Africa and in 1990 had a 27% share in the South African detergents market. (Noted here as 'additional information only' due to age of report).
In 2015 Colgate Palmolive bought an end to years of litigation by agreeing to hand over US$2 million to settle a class action suit over its Softsoap Antibacterial liquid soap. The multidistrict litigation alleged that Colgate Palmolive misled consumers with claims that the soap killed '99 percent of germs' thanks to key ingredient triclosan. The plaintiffs argued that Colgate's statement was deceptive and unfair as the antimicrobial pesticide has been proven to be no more effective at killing germs than regular soap and water.
EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning provides safety ratings for household cleaning products, with over 2,500 products rated from A (lowest concern) to F (highest concern). This company's score range is C to F, with over 83% of products scoring an F.
Consumer goods giants Colgate-Palmolive, Henkel and Procter & Gamble were fined 361 million euros by French regulators in Dec 2011 for fixing soap prices in France.
In Dec 2014 this company and 12 other consumer goods firms were fined a total of 951m euros by the French competition watchdog for price fixing in supermarkets. The regulator said the companies colluded on price increases between 2003 and 2006. This company was one of three who alerted the competition watchdog and therefore had a reduced fine.
In 2016 Greenpeace East Asia ranked the world's 30 biggest personal care companies on their commitment to eliminating microbeads from their personal care products. The scorecard was based on four main criteria: commitment & transparency, definition, deadline and global application. This company ranked joint first. Microbeads are not retained by wastewater treatment and end up in the ocean where they are a threat to the marine environment.
As listed on the We Mean Business website, this company has committed to the following climate action initiatives: adopt a science-based emissions reduction target.
This company is listed on the EPA Green Power Partnership website (USA) as using renewable energy for 22% of its organisation-wide electricity use in the USA.
Source: EPA (2023)
This company was named in Seramount's 100 Best Companies 2022 for being a mum-friendly employer. Listed companies provide inclusive benefits for families, including paid gender-neutral parental leave, phase-back programs, bereavement leave after miscarriage, reimbursement for fertility expenses, and increased mental health benefits for employees.
This company is a member of The Sustainability Consortium, an organization of diverse global participants that work collaboratively to build a scientific foundation that drives innovation to improve consumer product sustainability. They develop transparent methodologies, tools, and strategies to drive a new generation of products and supply networks that address environmental, social, and economic imperatives.
This company is a member of How2Recycle. The How2Recycle Label is a voluntary, standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public. It involves a coalition of forward thinking brands who want their packaging to be recycled and are empowering consumers through smart packaging labels. Companies must be a member of the program to use the How2Recycle Label.
This company is a member of the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex), a not-for-profit, membership organisation that leads work with buyers and suppliers to deliver improvements in responsible and ethical business practices in global supply chains. Tens of thousands of companies use Sedex to manage their performance around labour rights, health & safety, the environment and business ethics.
This company is a signatory to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, whose goal is to eliminate plastic pollution at its source.
This company is a member of the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3), a business-to-business forum that advances the application of green chemistry and design for environment across supply chains. It provides an open forum for cross-sectoral collaboration to share information and experiences about the challenges to and opportunities for safer chemicals and products.
Source: GC3 (2019)
This company is a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, whose stated mission is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works with business, government and academia to build a framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design.
This company is a signatory to the US Plastics Pact, a collaborative effort organized by The Recycling Partnership and the World Wildlife Fund, launched as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's global Plastics Pact network to unify diverse public-private stakeholders across the plastics value chain to rethink the way we design, use, and reuse plastics, to create a path forward to realize a circular economy for plastic in the United States. In line with the Ellen McArthur Foundation's vision of a circular economy for plastics, which unites more than 850+ organizations, the US Plastics Pact brings together companies, government entities, NGOs, researchers, and other stakeholders to work collectively toward scalable solutions tailored to the unique needs and challenges within the U.S. landscape, through vital knowledge sharing and coordinated action.
In 2022 after more than 170 nations backed a historic UN resolution to end plastic pollution, global businesses across the plastics value chain, financial institutions, and NGOs came together to announce a common vision for an effective and ambitious Global Treaty to End Plastic Pollution. The vision will form the basis for future policy engagements with governments through a newly launched Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty which will be convened by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and WWF. This company has endorsed the vision statement of the treaty.
Forest 500 identifies the 350 companies and 150 financial institutions with the greatest exposure to tropical deforestation risk, and annually assesses them on the strength and implementation of their deforestation and human rights commitments. This company received a score of 55.8%.
As You Sow's 2024 Plastic Promises Scorecard measures the corporate ambition and action of 225 large companies across six industries on six core pillars of plastic packaging pollution prevention: 1) Recyclability, 2) Reduction, 3) Recycled Content, 4) Recovery, 5) Reuse, and 6) Producer Responsibility. This company received a grade of C+.
Skin Deep is an online safety guide to cosmetics and personal care products and their potential hazards and health concerns, with over 75,000 products rated from 1 (low hazard) to 10 (high hazard).
California, the UK and Australia have all enacted legislation requiring companies operating within their borders to disclose their efforts to eradicate modern slavery from their operations and supply chains. Follow the link to see this company's disclosure statement.
This company received a score of 59.2/100 in the Newsweek Green Ranking 2017, which ranks the world's largest publicly traded companies on eight indicators covering energy, greenhouse gases, water, waste, fines and penalties, linking executive pay to sustainability targets, board-level committee oversight of environmental issues and third-party audits. Ranking methodology by Corporate Knights and HIP Investor.
OpenSecrets.org tracks the influence of money on U.S. politics, and how that money affects policy and citizens' lives. Follow link to see this company's record of political donations, lobbying, outside spending and more.

Company Details

Type:
Private company
Revenue:
15.5 billion USD (2018)
Employees:
34,500 (2018)
Subsidiaries:
Colgate-Palmolive (Australia) Pty Ltd
Body care and cleaning products manufacture
Australian operations commenced in 1921. Operates two manufacturing sites. Sold its laundry brands to Henkel Australia in 2015.
Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc.
Pet food makers
Makers of specialist pet food. Sold in over 90 countries.

Contact Details

Address:
New York, New York, USA
Website:
www.colgatepalmolive.com

Products / Brands

Colgate-Palmolive Australia
Ajax Multi-Purpose Cleaners
Ajax Window & Glass Cleaners
Ajax Kitchen & Oven Cleaners
Ajax Bathroom Cleaners
Ajax Floor Cleaners
Cashmere Bouquet Soap
Colgate Dental Floss
Colgate Mouthwash
Colgate Toothbrush
Colgate Toothpaste
Cuddly Fabric Softener
Fluffy Fabric Softener
Hello Toothpaste
Hello Toothbrush
Hello Mouthwash
Mennen Deodorant
Nifti Multi-Purpose Cleaners
Palmolive Body Wash
Palmolive Dishwashing Detergent
Palmolive Shampoo
Palmolive Hand Wash/Sanitiser
Palmolive Soap
Palmolive For Men Mens Grooming
Sanex Body Wash
Speed Stick Deodorant
Hill's Pet Australia
Hill's Science Diet Cat Food
Hill's Science Diet Dog Food