Colgate-Palmolive: Company Profile

Colgate-Palmolive is a US  multinational making everything from toothpaste to dog food.
The company's many brands are well recognised in the UK and thoughout the world but do their ethics match their global reach?  

Last updated: March 2016

Annual Revenue£1.2 billion


Other BrandsOver 20 including: Ajax, Plax, Hill's, Colgate and Palmolive.


Company Score6 out of 20




Ethical Consumer Best Buy?No


Ethical issues by category

In March 2016 Colgate-Palmolive received a worst rating for its Supply Chain Management from Ethical Consumer.

It scored a poor rating for its supply chain policy, only had poor stakeholder engagement, poor auditing & reporting and there was only a brief discussion of difficult issues.

The company also had operations in a number of oppressive regimes including: China, India, Thailand, Venezuela, Vietnam, Nigeria, Myanamar, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.

In March 2016, Colgate scored Ethical Consumer's middle rating for environmental reporting. The report showed a clear understanding of the company's key environmental impacts and contained more than two quantified future targets. However the report was not independently verified.

In March 2015, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) published a report called 'Fries, Face Wash, Forests: Scoring America’s Top Brands on Their Palm Oil Commitments.' In the report Colgate received a score of 88 (out of 100) and was considered by UCS to have a strong commitment to sourcing palm oil sustainably. The company also scored a best rating from Ethical Consumer for its palm oil rating.

In 1999, Colgate declared a voluntary moratorium on all animal testing of its adult Personal Care Products and the ingredients. But because the company did not rule out the use of animal testing for all its products, including household products, the company received our worst rating for animal testing.

However Colgate were engaged in a transparency initiative with PETA. They not only committed to conducting as few tests on animals as legally possible but were also actively working to promote the development, validation, and acceptance of non-animal testing methods in the US and elsewhere. It also releases to PETA all information about tests and what is done to avoid them. It supported the ban on animal testing in India which came into force in November 2014.


The company sold pet food containing meat, therefore it was considered likely that it was selling products containing both genetically modified grains and animal products from animals fed GM crops. 

A Soil Association report published in November 2008, entitled 'Silent invasion: the hidden use of GM crops in livestock feed', estimated that around 60% of the maize and 30% of the soya in the feed used by dairy and pig farmers is GM. 

Therefore without a policy to the contrary we would assume there was a high probability that such products would be derived from animals fed GM feed.

As the company is in a sector likely to employ GMO a negative mark was awarded in this category.  

In-Depth Information

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