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Better design

Product Innovation

Better design is about considering the choices we can make before our products are even launched.

By 2020, one third of net revenue will come from products that are significantly more sustainable than their predecessors.

Our priorities are:


1/3 of our net revenue will come from products that are significantly more sustainable than their predecessors while continuing to deliver excellent product performance

In 2014, a total of £325 million (about 5%) of our total Q1-Q3 net revenue came from more sustainable products. With a significant portion of our net revenue from innovations launched over the last three years, we focused on improving the sustainability profile of our pipeline in 2014. Over 50% of our pipeline consisted of more sustainable products at year end. Since products can take a few years from concept to launch, we’ve laid a good foundation to meet our 2020 goal.

100% of product innovations assessed by our Sustainable Innovation Calculator

Since 2012, we’ve assessed over 700 product innovations with our Sustainable Innovation Calculator. It guides the development of low-impact products by showing designers the environmental impacts of their decisions in real time. RB’s entire product pipeline is continually assessed by the tool. By end 2014, 50% of the pipeline consisted of innovations that are more sustainable than existing RB products.

100% compliance with RB’s Restricted Substances List and committed to 100% transparency

The consumer is at the heart of everything we do and our goal is to provide safe and effective products; so, when we can, we will go above and beyond regulatory requirements in implementing our Restricted Substances List. RB has been formally monitoring and reviewing ingredients since 2001 under the umbrella of the Restricted Substances List programme. Our objective is to continually improve the environmental and safety profile of our products, by systematically removing specific ingredients from products, where alternatives exist.

Ingredient transparency continues to be important to our consumers. We publish lists of ingredients for our products:

• EU
• North America and Canada

We also supported an educational website, which explains more about our ingredients for selected products.

100% responsibly-sourced natural raw materials

We believe in responsibly sourcing all of our natural raw materials.

We are committed to:

• Zero deforestation
• Zero development on peatlands (of any depth)
• Zero exploitation of workers or communities
• Being transparent on our requirements and our progress with implementation

Our Policy and Standard for the Responsible Sourcing of Natural Raw Materials outline the minimum requirements that natural raw materials used in our products, and product packaging, must meet. Our Standard also outlines requirements that suppliers of these materials must meet.

Our Sustainability Guide for Suppliers provides further details on our requirements and we have programmes in place for key natural raw materials to monitor compliance with our policies.

We report details of our approach and progress annually via our Sustainability Report.

Responsible Palm Oil Sourcing

RB is a relatively small user of palm oil in a consumer goods context and 95% of the palm oil we use is bought indirectly (i.e. from suppliers that use palm oil as an ingredient in the raw materials they supply to us).

Nonetheless, RB is committed to helping address the issues around palm oil sourcing.

RB fully supports the goal of no deforestation or degradation of peatlands (of any depth), primary or High Carbon Stock forests, or High Conservation Value areas, associated with the cultivation of palm oil.

We are a member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and are working with suppliers and others in the industry to transform the global palm oil supply chain to ensure palm oil supplies come from traceable, responsible sources. In 2014, we delivered our goal to buy Green Palm certificates to cover all our palm purchases for 2014.

Engaging with suppliers

We are a member of TFT, the international non-profit organisation working to build responsible product supply chains. Working with TFT, we have reviewed and updated our sourcing standards and are undertaking a detailed review of our physical palm oil supply chain.

As part of this work, we’ve achieved traceability to refinery for 100% of our palm volumes (excluding surfactants) and carried out pilot supplier risk assessments in 2014.

Following on from this, our next steps are to:

• work with palm oil suppliers to trace palm oil back to mills by end 2015
• roll out supplier assessments to our key palm oil suppliers by end 2015
• define and implement next steps (including defining the timeline for full compliance) following completion of risk assessments by end 2015


Working with TFT, RB hosted a workshop in 2014 to discuss how to build palm oil traceability and deliver responsible palm oil collectively in India.

We also supported external research into approaches and opportunities to increase smallholder farmer resilience and responsible farming approaches.

We will continue to work with expert groups to help raise awareness of the importance of sustainable palm oil and promote best practice.

Download our Policy & Standard for Responsible Sourcing of Natural Raw Materials
Download our Supplier Sustainability Guide

Sustainable Innovation Calculator

RB’s Sustainable Innovation Calculator is an online tool that shows the lifecycle impacts of different ingredient or packaging alternatives in real time. Our development teams use it at key decision points to ensure we are making more sustainable choices affecting the carbon footprint, water impact, packaging or ingredients.
RB Sus Report 2013 better design gauges


rb-idealink logo

Idealink is our open innovation forum – where we invite new ideas, products and technologies. This includes our big sustainability challenges such as materials with lower embedded carbon and reducing water consumption in the consumer use of products. Visit the Idealink website

Vanish Laundry Bar

Vanish pack shot
Our new Vanish laundry bar, launched in Brazil, is long-lasting and helps families keep their laundry clean, and stain-free, enabling them to keep clothing for longer. With a film wrap instead of a box, it has 90% less packaging than our existing Vanish laundry bar. As a result it costs less and has lower carbon and water impacts.

Durex Fetherlite

DurexOur Durex Fetherlite Ultra condoms are the thinnest condoms in our latex range. They are 20% thinner and 25% lighter than standard latex condoms and still provide the same high level of reassurance and protection.
  • Lysol
  • Mucinex
  • Frenchs
  • Airwick
  • Nurofen
  • Vanish
  • Durex
  • Clearasil
  • Dettol
  • Cillet Bang
  • Strepsils
  • Scholl
  • Gaviscon
  • Mortein
  • Woolite
  • Veet
  • harpic
  • Calgon
  • Finish

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