The use of everyday products is what most of us take for granted. It is everyday products that are used the most and at the same time are not considered for their environmental impact. This essay is a case study analysis of a product that we use almost every day-toothpaste. In 2007 it was alleged that more than 300 people died because of the use of toothpaste which has diethylene glycol. This is a substance that is commonly made use of in antifreeze. The use of this substance could cause such issues as kidney failure, paralysis and more. In investigation on this allegation, it was established that the substance could not have been introduced after the toothpaste was manufactured; it was probable that the substance was introduced in the lifecycle of its manufacture (Delmas, and Blass, 2010). Not all toothpaste products could have a direct negative impact on the health of the individual or the environment, and only a sustainability triple bottom line analysis could reveal the negative impacts that such a production and lifecycle process might have. It is the intention of this chosen case study to not only include the negative impacts but also the positive ones.
Ecological / Environmental questions
The natural resource that goes into the product is something that cannot be replaced. These resources are however renewable. For instance, in the case of the product used in the form of palm oil the palm plantations can be grown again. However, the environmental impact element to be understood here is whether the products are having a higher demand than the rate at which they are manufactured. In the situation where there is a high demand, the rate at which the palm oil and other sources are manufactured will actually go down. So speeding up production will become necessary for manufacturing more of these sources, which would in retrospect lead to the problems of deforestation, climatic changes and more (Attaran, and Attaran, 2007). Colgate attempts to balance this by ensuring that there is a balance between the environment and the production and supply processes.
In order to reduce the greenhouse gases that are emitted, the company is seen to work with a project called the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Supply Chain Leadership Collaboration Project. This project was incepted in the year 2008 and is seen to create a form of awareness for its suppliers. In this program, it becomes easier for Colgate to understand the overall carbon footprint of all its suppliers. It was able to find out through surveys that around 85 percent of its suppliers could report on the direct sourcing and expenditures which would enable the company to understand the demand to sourcing relations. With these data forms, Colgate plans to achieve energy reduction in its manufactory and distributions. In particular, the company aims to work with a “Supplier Enhancement Program” where the overall competition among the suppliers would be increased but would be done in a way that sustainability becomes a key important criteria. This is now a positive end when it comes to the TBL as it is seen that the company directly encourages its suppliers to build on sustainability and also ensures that they focus on sustainability as a competitive advantage (Ethical Consumer, 2016).
Waste is produced from manufacture to the final disposal of the element. In the case of Colgate, the issues raised in terms of waste management shows that the company aims to reduce its wastes by focusing on the landfills created in production. As much as 10 percent in landfills are reduced now and the company aims to reduce further by more than 15 percent. While the company has been focusing on reducing wastage for years, it was the 2010 wastage reduction program that enabled the company to make the drive more formalized in structure. The company works with waste vendors who would be able to convert the waste generated into something useful. Also the company makes use of standardized scorecards that are useful to make the waste management policy more visible. The use of waste vendors can be considered as a positive step in TBL as the waste is converted to something useful for society (Choi, and Gray, 2008).
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