Colgate-Palmolive Co

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 throughout the world but do their ethics match their global reach? 


Colgate-Palmolive receives a worst rating for its Supply Chain Management from Ethical Consumer.

Colgate's Third Party Code of Conduct did not define the age below which a person is considered a child for purposes of employment. It didn't make reference to paying a living wage to suppliers' employees and did not limit a working week to 48 hours and 12 hours overtime. 

The company also had operations in a number of oppressive regimes including: China, Colombia, Phillippines, Venezuela and Vietnam. 


On 30th November 2016 Amnesty International released a report called “The Great Palm Oil Scandal: Labour Abuses Behind Big Brands Names.” The report investigated labour exploitation on plantations in Indonesia that provide palm oil to Wilmar, one of the world’s largest processor and merchandiser of palm and lauric (palm kernel) oils and controls over 43% of the global palm oil trade.

Amnesty International found serious human rights abuses on the plantations of Wilmar and its suppliers. These included forced labour and child labour, gender discrimination, as well as exploitative and dangerous working practices that put the health of workers at risk.

Colgate-Palmolive was said to have be sourcing palm oil from refineries where the palm oil has been directly supplied or, at the very least, been mixed with palm oil produced on plantations where there are severe labour rights abuses


According to Colgate's Global Sustainability Report 2015 seen by Ethical Consumer in January 2017: "Tallow is a key ingredient in bar soap production and is a cattle by-product. Colgate sources tallow from suppliers in North America, Latin America and Europe. In Brazil, there are concerns that rising demand for beef as a food source is prompting farmers to clear part of the Amazon rainforest for cattle ranching". 

As tallow is a slaughterhouse by-product the company lost half a mark in the Animal Rights category.


According to the Open Secrets website, viewed by Ethical Consumer in December 2016, Colgate-Palmolive's PAC or employees and their family made political donations of $15,079 during the 2016 election cycle.

According to Colgate's Political Contribution Policy viewed by Ethical Consumer in December 2016, Colgate has: "a long standing policy against making contributions to political parties or candidates."

Image: Palmolive
  • Ethical Consumer Best Buy: No
  • Boycotts: No

Company information

Company Ethiscore

Company Address:

300 Park Ave
New York, New York, 10022-7499
United States

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Associated brands

  • Ajax
  • Palmolive
  • Fabuloso
  • Colgate
  • Hill's Science Plan
  • Tom's of Maine
  • Sanex

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