Some facts from their website Sustainability at Colgate is

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Some facts from their website….

Sustainability at Colgate is:

  • Always meeting or exceeding our financial goals

  • Developing a talented, diverse workforce

  • Optimizing use of natural resources, not polluting, and obtaining our raw materials responsibly

  • Serving the communities where we live

Our long-term sustainability strategy is focused on three areas: People, Performance and Planet.

Colgate-Palmolive Company's growth from a small candle and soap manufacturer to one of the most powerful consumer products giants in the world is the result of:

  • aggressive acquisition of other companies

  • persistent attempts to overtake its major U.S. competition

  • an early emphasis on building a global presence overseas where little competition existed.

Well-known brands:

  • Colgate toothpaste

  • Irish Spring soap

  • Softsoap liquid soap

  • Mennen deodorant

  • Palmolive and Ajax dishwashing liquid
    Ajax cleanser

  • Murphy's oil soap

  • Fab laundry detergent

  • Soupline and Suavitel fabric softeners

  • Hill's Science Diet

  • Hill's Prescription Diet pet foods

Colgate-Palmolive generates about 70 percent of its revenue outside the United States.

History (from website):

More notable events, in my opinion, have been highlighted.

William Colgate starts a starch, soap and candle business on Dutch Street in New York City.

First Colgate advertisement appears in a New York newspaper.

Colgate establishes a starch factory in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Upon the death of founder William Colgate, the company is reorganized as Colgate & Company under the management of Samuel Colgate, his son.

B.J. Johnson opens a soap factory in Milwaukee, WI, which later becomes the Palmolive Company.

Colgate introduces perfumed soap and perfumes/essences.

Peet Brothers establish soap company in Kansas City, Kansas where they make Crystal White soap. 

Cashmere Bouquet, the first milled perfumed toilet soap, is registered as a Colgate trademark.

Colgate introduces toothpaste in jars.

Gerhard Mennen establishes a pharmacy in Newark, NJ, later becoming the Mennen Company.

Colgate introduces toothpaste in a collapsible tube.

B.J. Johnson Soap Co. introduces Palmolive Soap.

Today, the Palmolive equity is sold in over 88 countries in 54 variants.

Colgate wins top honors for its fine soaps and perfumes at the World’s Fair in Paris.
Stylish Palmolive advertising begins, emphasizing ingredient purity and product benefits.

Colgate & Company celebrates its 100th anniversary. Product line includes over 800 different products.

Colgate is incorporated by the five sons of Samuel Colgate.

Ribbon opening added to Colgate tube: “We couldn't improve the product so we improved the tube.”

Colgate distributes two million tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes to schools, and provides hygienists to demonstrate tooth brushing.

William Mennen introduces the first American shaving cream tube.

Colgate establishes its first international subsidiary in Canada.

Colgate begins establishing operations in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Soap manufacturers Palmolive and Peet merge to become Palmolive-Peet Company.

Colgate merges with Palmolive-Peet to become Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company.

On March 13, Colgate is first listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Dr. Mark L. Morris develops a pet food to help save a guide dog named Buddy from kidney disease. This breakthrough leads to the first Hill's Prescription Diet product.

Ajax cleanser is launched, establishing a powerful now-global brand equity for cleaning products.

Colgate-Palmolive Company becomes company's official name.

Colgate opens corporate headquarters at 300 Park Avenue in New York City.
Colgate opens research center in Piscataway, NJ.

Fabric conditioner is launched in France as Soupline. Today, fabric conditioners are sold in over 54 countries around the world.

Palmolive dishwashing liquid is introduced and today it is sold in over 35 countries.

Colgate toothpaste adds MFP Fluoride, clinically proven to reduce cavities.

Irish Spring launches in Germany as Irische Frühling and in Europe as Nordic Spring. In 1972, Irish Spring is introduced in North America.

Colgate acquires Hoyt Laboratories, which later becomes Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals.

Caprice hair care launches in Mexico. Today, hair care products are sold in over 70 countries, with variants to suit every type of hair need.

Colgate-Palmolive acquires Hill's Pet Nutrition. Today Hill's is the global leader in pet nutrition and veterinary recommendations.

Colgate Plus toothbrush is introduced. Today over 1.6 billion Colgate toothbrushes are sold annually worldwide. If you lined them up end to end, they would circle the globe 16 times.

Protex bar soap is introduced, and today offers all-family antibacterial protection in over 56 countries.

Colgate-Palmolive enters into a joint venture with Hong Kong-based Hawley & Hazel, a leading oral care company, which adds strength in key Asian markets.

The Chairman's You Can Make A Difference Program is launched, recognizing innovation and executional excellence by Colgate people.

Colgate acquires Softsoap liquid soap business from the Minnetonka Corporation. Today, Colgate is the global leader in liquid hand soap.

Annual Company sales surpass the $5 billion mark.
Colgate acquires Murphy Oil Soap, the leading wood cleaner in the U.S. Today, its product portfolio has expanded to include all-purpose cleaners, sprays and wipes.

Colgate acquires the Mennen Company. Today, Mennen products are sold in over 52 countries.

Colgate Total toothpaste introduced.

Colgate enters Central Europe and Russia, expanding into fast-growing markets.

Colgate acquires Kolynos Oral Care business in Latin America and launches market-leading Sorriso toothpaste.

Bright Smiles, Bright Futures oral health education program expands to 50 countries, and today reaches over 50 million children annually.

Colgate Total toothpaste is introduced in the U.S. and quickly becomes the market leader. Only Colgate Total, with its 12-hour protection, fights a complete range of oral health problems.

Colgate acquires the GABA oral care business in Europe, with its strength in the important European pharmacy channel and its ties with the dental community.

Colgate enters the fast-growing Naturals segment by purchasing Tom’s of Maine, a leader in that market in the United States.

Today …
Today, with sales surpassing $15 billion, Colgate focuses on four core businesses: Oral Care, Personal Care, Home Care and Pet Nutrition. Colgate now sells its products in over 200 countries and territories worldwide.

Wikipedia’s summary of history:

  • 1806: William Colgate opened starch, soap and candle factory in NYC under the name "William Colgate & Company"

  • 1857: William Colgate died and the company was reorganized as "Colgate & Company" under the management of Samuel Colgate,

  • 1872: Colgate introduced Cashmere Bouquet, a perfumed soap.

  • 1873, the firm introduced its first toothpaste, an aromatic toothpaste sold in jars.

  • 1896: Sold first toothpaste in a tube, Colgate Ribbon Dental Cream, in 1896. Hred Martin Ittner and under his direction founded one of the first applied research labs.

  • By 1908: initiated mass selling of toothpaste in tubes.

  • 1928: Palmolive-Peet bought Colgate Company to create the Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company.

  • 1953 "Peet" was dropped from title, leaving only "Colgate-Palmolive Company"

  • George Henry Lesch was president, CEO, and chairman of the board of Colgate-Palmolive in the 1960s and 1970s, during that time transformed it into a modern company with major restructuring.

  • 2005: Sold the under-performing brands Fab, Dynamo, Arctic Power, ABC, Cold Power and Fresh Start, as well as the license of the Ajax brand for laundry detergents in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, to Phoenix Brands, LLC as part of their plan to focus on their higher margin oral, personal, and pet care products.

  • 2006: Colgate-Palmolive announced intended acquisition of Tom’s of Maine

Information from

Specific notes from “Beginnings:”

  • Founded by 23-year-old William Colgate in 1806

  • In the beginning, concentrated exclusively on selling starch, soap, and candles from its New York City-based factory and shop

  • In the 2nd year, partnered with Francis Smith became Smith and Colgate. Colgate purchased Smith’s share, partnered with brother, Bowles Colgate called William Colgate and Company

  • Opened factory in Jersey City in 1820; produced Windsor toilet soaps and Pearl starch, its two major products

  • Changed name to Colgate & Company after W. Colgate’s death, run by Samuel Colgate for 40 years (until his death)

  • In 1873 Colgate began selling toothpaste in a jar, followed 23 years later by the introduction of Colgate Ribbon Dental Cream, in the now familiar collapsible tube. By 1906 the company was also producing several varieties of laundry soap, toilet paper, and perfumes. Colgate & Company shifted its headquarters to Jersey City in 1910.

  • Soap factories were opened in 1864 by B.J. Johnson in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (under the name B.J. Johnson Soap Company), and in 1872 by the three Peet brothers in Kansas City, Kansas.

  • In 1898 Johnson's company introduced Palmolive soap, which soon became the best-selling soap in the world and led the firm to change its name to the Palmolive Company in 1916.

  • Peet Brothers merged with Palmolive in 1926, forming Palmolive-Peet Company. Two years later that firm joined with Colgate & Company to form Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company, with headquarters in Jersey City. Palmolive-Peet's management initially assumed control of the combined organization.

  • In 1929, stock market crashed Colgate family regained control of Colgate-Palmolive-Peet and installed Bayard Colgate as president in 1933.

Some notable facts on International Expansion

  • Created a Canadian subsidiary in 1913

  • Created subsidiary in France in 1920

  • Expanded into Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Mexico in 1920s

  • Created subsidiaries in the Philippines, Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa in the late 1920s.

  • Moved into India in 1937

  • By end of the 1940s had operations in most of South America

Colgate has business relationships with numerous suppliers and contract manufacturers around the world. Colgate's aim in conducting procurement operations is to ensure continuing, reliable sources of supply. Honest dealing with suppliers is essential to sound, lasting relationships. Thus, we view our suppliers as partners and expect them to make a reasonable profit. We give all potential suppliers fair and uniform considerations.

Colgate's commitments to suppliers are the following:

  • We will proactively facilitate the participation of diverse suppliers in our competitive bid processes

  • We will effectively communicate our needs and expectations to suppliers

  • We will provide timely and objective feedback to suppliers on their performance in bid processes and as ongoing suppliers

Global Indirect Materials

Indirects are non-production materials. This category encompasses a wide range of products and services. There is significant potential for business for suppliers capable of delivering savings, efficiency and simplification.

Some examples of indirect materials and services are:

  • Temporary services

  • MRO

  • Office supplies

  • PCs

  • Relocation

  • Travel

  • Express mail

  • Marketing & Advertising Goods and Services

If you are a marketing & advertising goods or services provider, please click here to provide further information on your company and services.
Global Packaging Materials

The quality of our packaging materials is key to our finished product on-shelf presence.

  • Bottles

  • Tubes

  • Caps

  • Corrugate

  • Folding cartons

  • Pumps

  • Films

  • Displays

  • Aerosol cans

  • Labels

Global Raw Materials

We purchase the highest quality raw materials for use in all of our products which include:

  • Surfactants

  • Sweeteners

  • Emulsifiers

  • Humectants

  • Abrasives

  • UV Absorbers

  • Brighteners

  • Colorants

  • Thickeners

  • Preservatives

Our Mission

To provide Colgate with a significant competitive advantage by reducing total delivered cost, extending technology resources and developing excellence in purchasing, logistics and sourcing processes.

Achievements and Past Successes

We strive for continuous improvements with our supplier teams.

  • A multidisciplinary team from Colgate and JM Huber, a key oral care raw material supplier, identified potential savings across the supply chain. This team realized savings in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This supplier relationship was featured in a Colgate-Palmolive Company Annual Report and is one example of the several preferred suppliers teaming with Colgate.

We aim for cost reduction across every category.

  • A major contract for preservatives used in personal care and household care products was awarded to a single supplier, delivering significant savings and leading to a unique research agreement.

  • Three-year globalization contracts with key suppliers enabled reduction of the supplier base for a critical global surfactant from 11 to 4 suppliers.

  • For a key toothpaste ingredient, the supplier base was reduced from 7 to 3, regional multi-year contracts with on-site manufacturing programs were put in place and record savings and total cost reductions were achieved over 5 years.

We are on the forefront of innovation.

  • In our Global Fragrances category, we had multiple suppliers, high cost structures, limited innovation, average quality fragrances and long lead times. Focused partnerships were initiated with two key external suppliers. As a result, new initiatives were developed including annual “Top to Top Meetings” (CEO/CEO), project and savings grids, cost improvement teams and detailed supply chain maps.

  • Many “superior” fragrances have since been developed. In the household care category there were 7 for cleansers and 7 for light duty liquids. In personal care there were 4 for liquids and 5 for bar soaps. In fabric care, there were 7 for softeners and 5 for detergents.

Growth Strategies

Colgate-Palmolive’s strategy is to focus on global new products to drive growth. In the early 90’s, we were launching an average of 256 new products a year. By the mid 90’s that number grew to 469 per year. And recently that number has jumped to over 797 per year.

Colgate makes very limited use of contract manufacturers. In 2008, more than 90% of Colgate's products were made in Colgate facilities. The use of contract manufacturers allows us to optimize our supply chain capabilities, deliver innovative technologies, provide a strategic alternative to in-house manufacturing, increase speed to market, reduce capital investment and manufacturing costs as well as increase flexibility in a rapidly changing marketplace. While contract manufacturers and suppliers are not Colgate employees, we consider them partners and crucial to our business success. As such, we expect every organization that we do business with to share our values and maintain the same high ethical, social and environmental standards as our own employees. These are defined by our Global Contract Manufacturing Standards, our Code of Conduct and local regulations.

The Global Contract Manufacturing Standards serve as a basis for developing successful relationships with contract manufacturers. They include information on our business practices and how Colgate selects and manages suppliers and contract manufacturers. For example, in addition to meeting quality and safety requirements, the Standards explain that Colgate considers human rights and Environmental, Occupational Health and Safety (EOHS) in the decision-selection process and that the Company expects that suppliers and contract manufacturers have appropriate programs and policies in place to meet such requirements.

Colgate gives all potential suppliers fair and consistent consideration. Decisions are based on objective criteria, such as price and quality as well as reliability and integrity. A selection process includes use of a multi-functional team, who ensures that all commercial, financial, technical and supply chain requirements are considered. The final contenders may be audited, and the selection team reviews all information before making a single recommendation for management approval.

Before suppliers or contract manufacturers are approved, they are provided a copy of the Colgate Code of Conduct, which reinforces our corporate culture and addresses issues of law, ethics and fairness. In addition, the following Code of Conduct clause is included in supply contracts and purchase orders: "Supplier agrees to comply with Buyer's Code of Conduct as it may be amended from time to time." If they fail to adhere to the policies, they risk losing the business.

Managing our supply partners is an ongoing process that includes actions for establishing expectations, operational management and continuous improvement. This includes monitoring systems and reporting the results. Colgate reserves the right to conduct quality audits of suppliers and contract manufacturers' facilities, and does so as part of our Enhanced Supplier Management program.
Design: Ingredients
Colgate-Palmolive offers a line of cleaning products that have been granted the EPA ‘Design for the Environment’ (DFE) seal. This seal is given to products that offer more positive environmental characteristics than conventional cleaning formulations. Included in this line are floor cleaners, glass cleaner, degreaser product, dishwashing detergent, wood cleaners and multi-use cleaners.

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