Clorox goes green with new natural product line
Clorox Green Works is probably not a new product line to you, but last week Clorox got a stamp of approval that's sure to bolster and validate their green marketing image. In this article posted on SFGate.com Carolyn Said notes the Green Works brand recently earned the
"imprimatur of the Natural Products Association, a 75-year-old trade
group for health and well-being retailers such as Whole Foods." This approval ensures that products cannot be linked to health risks, are not tested on animals, and are not created using complex chemistry. According to the article, the growth potential for green products is huge and this announcement by Clorox will only endorse this research.
Posted August 10, 2010
By Carolyn Said, SF Gate
a white lab coat and blue plastic gloves, Inderjeet Ajmani needed just a
few minutes and five ingredients to whip up a batch of dish soap in her
lab at the Clorox Co.'s research and development facility in
Ajmani, a master technician who holds five patents
related to Liquid-Plumr, was promoting the eco-friendliness of Clorox
Green Works, the company's line of "natural" cleaners derived from
The Oakland firm whose name is synonymous with bleach is
working hard to develop green credibility.
introduced in early 2008, comes as consumers increasingly seek
sustainable products. Clorox was the first major consumer products
company with green cleaning products (SC Johnson has followed suit), and
its mega-muscle has helped the category go mainstream at supermarkets
and mass retailers. It now offers 10 Green Works products, including
cleaning wipes, laundry detergent and bathroom cleaner.
Clorox declined to break out revenue figures, industry research says
that Green Works accounts for about half that $100 million annual market
for eco-cleaners. That's a fraction compared to Clorox's overall
revenue, which was $1.52 billion in the most recent quarter. But the
growth potential is big: Research firm Mintel estimates that green
products will account for 30 percent of the household cleaners market by
2013, up from 3 percent in 2008.
Recently Green Works earned the
imprimatur of the Natural Products Association, a 75-year-old trade
group for health and well-being retailers such as Whole Foods.
The NPA certification, a kind of Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for
green goods, requires that products be primarily composed of plant-based
ingredients, "made with kitchen chemistry, nothing that goes through
harsh chemical processing," said Daniel Fabricant, NPA vice president.
"These should be things our great-grandparents could have made over a
stove or in a Mason jar with a little pressure."
ingredients can't be linked to any health risks and can't be tested on
Clorox is trumpeting the NPA seal because the word
"natural" now gets slapped on everything from toilet paper to chewing
gum without any regulation of what it means. NPA's approval validates
Green Works' earth friendliness, it says.
The company also points
to its recent decision to list ingredients for all its cleansers,
including conventional ones, on a website, although it doesn't specify
what goes into the colorants and fragrances (Green Works ingredients
also are printed on the bottle).
But some watchdogs charge that
Clorox still raises environmental concerns, especially in its
"Clorox has taken steps in the right
direction toward greener practices with their Green Works line and their
new Corporate Social Responsibility website, but their regular line
still has products that contain chemicals of concern and consumers are
still left in the dark about some of their ingredients, such as
chemicals in their fragrances and dyes," e-mailed Jamie Silberberger,
director of programs and policy at the environmental group Women's
Voices for the Earth.
She said the company still sells cleaning
products "that contain potentially hazardous chemicals," including ones
linked to asthma, birth defects and reduced fertility.
should extend the philosophy behind Green Works to all of their
products," she wrote.
At independent testing magazine Consumer
Reports, Urvashi Rangan, director of technical policy, said Green Works
cleaners generally live up to claims to perform as well as conventional
products, although some, such as its toilet cleaner, "need to be used a
little more frequently with more elbow grease."
Rangan echoed the
complaints of some environmentalists, which is that some ingredients,
despite being plant-based, still may be problematic.
"They use a
lot of corn-based ethanol, which has environmental sustainability
questions, and there are issues with coconut-based ingredients and
Still, she added, "It's a really positive step
that companies like Clorox have decided to market to consumers who are
looking for a greener product."
Clorox wrapped up a big
endorsement before product launch: The Sierra Club reviewed the products
and allowed its logo to appear on them in exchange for an undisclosed
fee. That stirred some backlash among grassroots members.
R&D lab in Pleasanton, Michael Ott, director of new products for
cleaning, said Clorox is committed to continually improving the green
products' performance while making the ingredients greener. Currently a
fraction of ingredients, such as colorants, are artificial because no
natural options are available.
"We won't sleep until we can get
them all natural," he said. "They can't just be green – they have to
work as well (as conventional products). People are not willing to
compromise – and why should they be?"