SLOUGH, UK: Anglo-Dutch household products giant Reckitt Benckiser is toeing the current ecological line with the launch of its Carbon 20 programme.

The company is attempting to lessen its impact on climate change by 20% per unit before 2020 and will do so, in part, through the education of consumers to use its products in greener ways.

The maker of Calgon, Lysol, Harpic and many other brands, plans to examine the whole life cycle of its products. It will measure the carbon impact of raw materials, manufacturing, logistics and distribution; also consumer use and disposal of products.

Reckitt Benckiser's research has found that between 50% and 70% of carbon emissions come from the consumer end of the chain.

Accordingly it will, for example, encourage customers to use dishwasher detergents at 50C rather than 65C, and will advertise them as a more efficient alternative to the old-fashioned method of washing dishes by hand at the kitchen sink.

Observes Reckitt Benckiser ceo Bart Becht: "People are not willing to give up the performance of their products, but they want more environmentally friendly choices."

The company says progress will be measured by independent experts, verified by third parties and reported annually.

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff