P&G keeps commitment to Earth with expansion of Future Friendly

NEW YORK Many consumers are interested in buying products with an environmental benefit, but they are not likely to trade up in price or sacrifice product performance or value. That’s what recent research has shown, and it is that key finding that helped shape the expansion of Procter & Gamble’s major Future Friendly environmental responsibility and educational platform.

“When we talk about sustainability issues, it started with the consumer. What does he or she know about sustainability? What does she care about? Where is she in her mindset? What we found out was that they are a very confused lot about ‘green,’” Glenn Williams, P&G external relations, told members of the trade media during a special presentation Tuesday in New York City to discuss the initiative.

In fact, consumer confusion as it relates to “green” is a leading factor as to why consumers don’t purchase more environmentally friendly products. Enter Future Friendly.

Future Friendly is an educational platform designed to help educate consumers on how to use such leading P&G products as Tide, Pampers, PUR and Duracell, to achieve savings in water, waste and energy. For example, nearly 80% of the energy used in the typical load of laundry is in heating water at the consumer’s home. By washing in cold water with a detergent formula for that application, like Tide Coldwater, consumers can conserve energy and help reduce their utility bills. So now Tide Coldwater will carry a Future Friendly seal to indicate their energy-savings capabilities.

“It is this resurgence, even internally, of how do we start talking about the products that have even been on the shelf for awhile and we’ve just not talked about their performance in that way. It has always been about cleaner, brighter, faster or smoother but never about what are we doing internally for the last 10 years of impacting the environment in the way we produce products and how do we talk about the way consumers can use our products, and this platform is set for that,” said P&G’s Maurice Coffey, marketing director of Future Friendly. “It is a different tactic than you’ve seen in the marketplace … and we felt we could meet the consumers’ need in a greater way.”

Future Friendly has operated as a multi-brand effort in the U.K. and Canada since 2007. It was first introduced to U.S. consumers during a pilot executed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that launched on Earth Day in April 2009.

Now P&G is deploying a full media platform starting the week of March 29 and consumers will begin to see Future Friendly-labeled products on store shelves in early April. More than 15,000 retail locations will participate in the initial phase of the initiative as P&G works toward its goal of providing conservation education to at least 50 million U.S. households by the end of 2010.

A TV campaign will begin airing nationally the week of March 29. P&G’s April edition of its BrandSaver newspaper supplement, delivered to more than 50 million households, will feature information about and coupons for Future Friendly products. A full suite of digital and social media engagement activities, a P&G employee communications campaign, signature event sponsorships and other programs in partnership with experts in conservation education will further supplement the campaign.

To help educate consumers and spread the word, P&G has teamed up with three third parties. The partnerships include:

  • National Geographic: P&G has partnered with National Geographic to provide consumers with in-home conservation and educational materials highlighting methods to save energy, save water and reduce waste
  • Earth Day Network: Future Friendly will be the Presenting Sponsor at the official Earth Day Network 40th Anniversary Celebration at the National Mall in Washington DC on April 25. Future Friendly will also be the exclusive sponsor the “Billion Acts of Green” iPhone and Facebook applications
  • Clinton Global Initiative: P&G is partnering with CGI on two multi-year commitments to improve the lives of millions across the globe and this includes the Future Friendly commitment.

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