The product and brand that has been chosen is that of the Colgate toothpaste brand. Colgate is part of the current Colgate-Palmolive Company which was incorporated in the year 180 as ‘The Colgate Company’. It originated as a candle and soap making company and as of current times has organized its core business processes for health care and oral hygiene. For more than two generations after its inception, the company focused on selling soap, starch and candles, and only in the year 1873 started selling toothpaste. Later in the early 1900s, the company formed agreements with other companies and in 1913 was able to expand internationally into countries such as France Australia, United Kingdom and more. Smaller consumer Product Company’s cam is to be assimilated under the Colgate brand in order to obtain strategic advantages.
The product as with other toothpaste manufacturing companies, even in its early stages was seen to suffer in terms of environmental concerns. In the 1970s, there were concern raised in the form of phosphate and the enzymes used in toothpaste and also other products of the company. However, during this time, even amidst the environmental concerns raised, the company found the need to diversify, also addressing the concerns at the same time. With further acquisitions and strategy implementations that were successful from 1983, Colgate was able to become a more solid brand as of the 1990s. Its most successful product was Colgate Total. Extensive testing was done on Colgate Total around this time where the drug was tested for its multiple claims on fighting mouth issues like plaque and gingivitis. Successful testing, combined with its marketing strength has made the brand and product quite successful till date.
Description of lifecycle and the nature of the impacts at each stage
The social impact in terms of sourcing is that of labor issues in the oil plantations. The palm oil that is sourced is useful not only for toothpastes but also useful for a variety of product manufacturing. For instance, as company sustainability reports for soaps and other daily use, manufacturing indicates that palm oil would be made use of in an extensive scale. So it follows that each of these competitive companies would hence focus on manufacture within the same area. Labor issues become predominant in the area as there are conflicts between companies, the government policy with respect to labor and more. Companies have to be careful in order to ensure that land issues, human rights issues and more are protected in the context of the conflicts. Furthermore, it is also noted that in these situations for the lack of adequate labor, child employment might become an issue, too. Families at the point of sourcing, in order to meet their everyday needs, might send children or young adults to work in the factories or plantation sites.
In terms of manufacture, the sustainability initiatives for company like Colgate can be considered from the economic, social and ethical perspective. For instance, Colgate manufacturing units need to consider the form of carbon footprint that is created in the manufacturing. Secondly, the energy that is made use of in manufacturing has to be considered. These are impacts related to the economic and the social context. In terms of manufacturing and distribution, there is carbon footprints created. The more the distance between the site of manufacture and the site of distribution, the more the carbon footprint. In addition, there is labor issues involved from sourcing to final distribution that could have a social impact. Waste management is also an issue from the point of sourcing to the final consumption. Waste management becomes an issue because this is a product with a package, both of which have a use till the end. So how the consumers make use of the product and how they dispose the product into recycling will have an impact. There are ethical issues involved in the form of testing. The company till current date has not ruled out animal testing.