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Embracing a New Era of Corporate Citizenship

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Local United Way volunteers supporting installation of period product dispensers at Red Deer Public Schools. (Source: United Way Central Alberta)

Created for P&G

The world has experienced multiple and simultaneous disruptions over the past year. The shocks of a global pandemic, economic downturn, social unrest, and climate change have given many of us pause–both to look at ourselves and our communities, and to ask what’s most important and what comes next. Questions of how we can live more sustainably and more equitably, and how we can do good while continuing to grow, have become more urgent than ever. With each decision they make, Canadians are actively shaping the society they want to live in. It’s up to companies to reflect these shifting values and needs by offering products, services, and initiatives that make a positive impact.

P&G Canada has a long history of being a force both for good and for growth. For generations, the company’s culture of responsibility has led it to support consumers and communities across the country–whether by helping to lift up vulnerable populations or by committing to and achieving ambitious sustainability goals to reduce their environmental footprint. When people trust that big companies are going to be responsible and they experience it, they’re more likely to buy from those companies. “The more we grow, the more we can give back,” says Geraldine Huse, president of P&G Canada. “It’s a virtuous cycle.”

Coming together to create social value

The pandemic, in particular, demonstrated what is possible when individuals, brands, governments, non-profit organizations, and advocacy groups work in tandem to address big-picture challenges. Everyone has a role to play.

“As a market leader, we have a responsibility to steer discussions that can benefit society and to use our corporate voice and the voices of our brands to spark conversations, open hearts and inspire people to take action,” says Huse. “This is where partnering across sectors can create social value and meaningful solutions.”

One such solution is found in P&G’s partnership with disaster-relief organization GlobalMedic. P&G has worked with the Canadian charity for more than a decade to deliver everyday health and hygiene essentials to communities in need. During the pandemic, those same hygiene kits were distributed at pop-up vaccination clinics, which GlobalMedic supported in priority neighbourhoods in Toronto.

GlobalMedic volunteers at a pop-up vaccination clinic handing out P&G hygiene kits to local community. (Source: GlobalMedic)

“During times like these, people will often prioritize rent, food and other needs so they often cannot afford or forget to purchase hygiene items,” says Rahul Singh, executive director of GlobalMedic. “The items give people a sense of dignity and normalcy regardless of what they’re going through.” Singh adds that a P&G grant has been vital to the operation of pop-up vaccination clinics that GlobalMedia helps support, which have helped more than 100,000 Torontonians get their COVID-19 jabs. Another grant has enabled the hygiene program’s expansion to Indigenous communities across Canada.

Similarly, P&G has partnered with the Government of Alberta and the United Way’s Period Promise campaign to support menstrual equity. Starting in fall 2021, free dispensers will be installed at more than 100 Alberta schools through a two-year pilot program funded by Alberta taxpayers, and P&G’s Always brand will donate period products to help support the program. The effort builds on more than 35 years of work by Always to nurture positive social norms around menstruation and give young people confidence in their day-to-day activities. “It’s an excellent example of how we can all work together to make a difference for students across Alberta,” says Leela Sharon Aheer, the province’s Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women.

Period product dispensers for Red Deer Public Schools. (Source: United Way Central Alberta)

Helping consumers make sustainable choices

When it comes to environmental sustainability, positive change can come from a different kind of partnership–one between business and consumers. P&G’s Huse recognizes that Canadians expect corporations and brands to actively be part of the solution in combating climate change. P&G has been ahead of the curve in this regard: Since 2010, the company has set and achieved a number of ambitious sustainability targets, including a 52% reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions and a doubling of the use of recycled resin in its plastic packaging.

And P&G is helping families make sustainable choices at home, too. The Tide brand’s #TurnToCold campaign, for example, highlights the energy-saving benefits of using cold water for washing clothes, with the goal of having three out of every four loads of laundry in Canada washed in cold water by 2030.

“Tide’s commitment and actions to help solve this societal challenge, together with consumers making helpful choices available to them, makes us a collective force for good,” Huse says.

Canadians can turn everyday actions into acts of good, whether related to sustainability or other important causes, by signing up for the P&G Good Everyday program. They can select from a variety of charitable causes and P&G makes a donation each time a user signs up, takes a quiz, or scans a receipt. Users will also collect points that can be redeemed for rewards or donated to their selected cause.

Doing good isn’t just for difficult times. Everyone benefits when consumers, corporations, and their community partners embrace their social and environmental responsibilities–day in, day out.

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