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Clorox Highlights Diversity with First CR Report

By Melissa J. Anderson

The Clorox Company recently released its first ever corporate responsibility report [PDF]. According to the company, “Since we started our business in 1913, corporate responsibility (CR) has been at the core of The Clorox Company. It’s part of our DNA and a driver of engagement for Clorox people around the world.”

According to the report, the company’s CR efforts revolved around 5 Pillars: Performance, Products, People, Planet, and Purpose. According to Donald R. Knauss, Clorox’s Chairman and CEO, the company just put together its CR plan this year. He writes in the report:

“We understand that now, more than ever, the choices we make can have a significant impact on people, our planet and our communities. I believe our strategy and our commitments will guide our company toward long-term, sustainable growth, while enabling us to positively contribute to the communities in which we conduct business.”

The company acknowledges that it is at the beginning of the CR journey, and has a long way to go. It received a GRI rating of B. Additionally, the report frequently seeks outside input, asking readers to comment and providing contact information.

But what is most interesting about the report is that even though Clorox’ CR plan is very customer facing, the company does offer a significant amount of data on its employees (including leadership and development, employee engagement, and diversity statistics), showing keen focus on internal responsibilities.

Diversity as a Business Imperative at Clorox

Clorox says it values its diverse workforce because it is representative of its customer base as well. The report says:

“At Clorox, diversity is much more than an initiative or a mission statement. Having a diverse workforce drives competitive advantage for us. We grow and learn more when we are around people with different perspectives and experiences. And, having a workforce that mirrors our consumer base allows us to gain better consumer insights and drive meaningful innovation in the marketplace.”

How diverse is the workforce? According to the report, “30 percent of U.S. Clorox employees and 22 percent of U.S. managers are minorities, including Native American, Asian, African-American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander and multiracial.” The report points out that the percentages of ethnic minorities employed by Clorox are higher than those of the US population, as indicated by the US Census.

Additionally, “51 percent of all Clorox employees and 40 percent of our managers in the U.S. are women. In a 2009 UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders, Clorox ranked 14th out of 400 companies for having women in director and executive officer positions.” The company has also received a 100 rating on the HRC’s equality index for the past four years.

According to the report, “Creating a culture of inclusion is an integral part of Clorox’s history that is evident throughout the company. Our hiring and promotion decisions are based on employees’ abilities, and we expect our suppliers to adhere to those same standards.” The company has recently instituted the following councils to advance leadership diversity: Executive Leadership Council, Hispanic Advisory Council, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, and the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

Employee Engagement

Additionally, the company conducts annual employee engagement surveys, and according to the results, the company’s workforce engagement is slightly above industry average (81% compared to an 80% baseline).

According to Jackie Kane, SVP–HR & Corporate Affairs, “Another area in which corporate responsibility creates value is employee engagement. We hear time and again that Clorox people are proud to work here because they know we live by our core value of doing the right thing.”

This may seem a bit fluffy, but given the company’s low rate of turnover, it seems that most people do like working for the Clorox company.

So while they company is only just now embarking on its corporate responsibility program, it seems to be doing the right thing, at least in terms of its employees.

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