Innovating Sustainable Home Care with Ashley Fill of Procter & Gamble

June 4, 2024

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At Procter and Gamble, Ashley Fill leads the sustainability strategy for top home care brands across North America including Cascade, Swiffer, Dawn, and Febreze. Through understanding consumer behavior she led a project to communicate water conservation from using the dishwasher over handwashing through signage and packaging. She is also tackling the brand’s circularity strategy for Swiffer, Mr. Clean and Dawn packaging.  

John Shegerian: Do you have a suggestion for a rock star? Impact podcast guest? Go to impact and just click. Be a guest to recommend someone today. This edition of the impact podcast is brought to you by ERI. ERI has a mission to protect people, the planet and your privacy and is the largest fully integrated IT and electronics asset disposition provider and cybersecurity focused hardware destruction company in the United States and maybe even the world. For more information on how ERI can help your business properly dispose of outdated electronic hardware devices, please visit This episode of the Impact podcast is brought to you by Closed Loop Partners. Closed Loop Partners is a leading circular economy investor in the United States with an extensive network of Fortune 500 corporate investors, family offices, institutional investors, industry experts and impact partners. Closed Loops platform spans the arc of capital from venture capital to private equity, bridging gaps and fostering synergies to scale the circular economy. To find Closed Loop Partners, please go to

John: Welcome to another edition of the Impact Podcast. I’m John Shegerian, I’m so excited and honored to have with us today Ashley Fill. She’s a director of sustainability and strategy for the homecare North American division of Procter & Gamble. Welcome Ashley to the Impact Podcast.

Ashley Fill: Thank you, John. I am so excited to be on here. I listen to your podcast all the time, so I can’t wait to get into it.

John: That’s so nice of you and you know, I got the chance and the pleasure of meeting you at Green Biz a little while back and we had our common friend who’s been on the show, Todd Cline, made it introductions and things of that such. So thank you for coming on the show and it means a lot to me that you’re here today.

Ashley: Amazing and thank you for Todd Cline for connecting us.

John: Correct. You know, Ashley, we’re going to talk about some really important things today and some brands that we’re all very familiar with such as Cascade and Swiffer and Dawn and Febreze and others. But before we get into the great stuff, you and your colleagues are doing at Procter & Gamble. I want to hear a little bit about you. Where did you grow up? And how do you get on this inspiring and impactful and important Journey that you’re on?

Ashley: Yeah, thank you John. Unlike like most P&Gers out there. I actually am born and raised in Canada. So I’m located in Toronto, Ontario. And uniquely. I went to study mechanical engineering at Queen’s University which is based out here in Canada. And it was really, when I was studying mechanical engineering, I was introduced to this group called Engineers Without Borders, which is a non-governmental organization all about using root systems thinking to solve things that you can’t really use a calculator to solve. And that was my first introduction to the planetary boundaries that we have today, some of the challenges we have in global development and advancing global wealth. So that really set me on this journey to think about how can we develop from the inside of organizations a more prosperous world. So out of engineering I joined Procter & Gamble, been here for just under eight years now, and I’ve been really privileged to see the transformation of sustainability at this business and from a macro lens as well. So when I first started I was actually in sales. I was not sustainability coded whatsoever. And it was definitely a little bit different than studying mechanical engineering, but I knew that I had more interpersonal skills that I wanted to explore and in my second year at PNG I got the opportunity to take over our sustainability network here. At the time, the sustainability network was this grassroots employee organization. People who are just passionate. We wanted to go clean up, litter off streets. We wanted to use less coffee cups and plastic utensils in our office. Some of the most minimal changes that just to inspire our own organization and over the past decade I’ve been working with this network to really shift it to become integrated into our business. So I now lead a team that we operate in three pillars of training and development, employee engagement and sustainability commercialization where I partner with the top retailers across Canada to bring sustainability initiatives to life. Now, what was really lucky, I know you want to ask if you know, but I’ll say [crosstalk] what I’m really looking for is that P&G saw that this was an emerging area of increased focus for our stakeholders and they were able to make me my own role leaving sustainability for Canada enterprise, but also for North America homecare which includes brands like Cascade, Dawn, Swiffer, Febreze, Mr. Clean. Hopefully household brands, John, I hope you have some of those in your house[crosstalk] and we’ll talk a little bit about how we’re trying to make these brands better for the planet and for the people that use them.

John: You know you’re a very humble person. I met you at Green Beze, so I’m not going to let you go without noting for our listeners and viewers that in 2022 Green Beze named you one of the 30 under 30 honorees in sustainability for all the great work that you’re doing in sustainability and impact and circular economy work. So that is itself an honor but then also you were getting your master’s in sustainability and leadership at Cambridge University and you were first in your class. So I mean like, you’re already, for such a young woman you’re already a sustainability rock star as far as I’m concerned. So this is great to have you on the show today. I got to just tell you that Ashley.

Ashley: Well John, thank you for the ego boost. I’ll take that any day. Sustainability is a core pillar of mine. I think there’s so much opportunity for businesses to thrive, but it’s also something that I really take to heart and I like to lead by example. So studying mechanical engineering, going into sales, talking about sustainability, wanted to make sure it was talking about the right things for such a major organization. So the master’s in sustainability leadership at Cambridge has really helped me find in those skills, gained exposure into different Industries like sustainable finance, circularity, designing for the built environment that it wouldn’t necessarily had exposure to within just my scope of P&G. And so that is honestly one of the best things I’ve done just to expand my scope in my own learning. So thanks for calling that out and I’m a big advocate for upskilling and consistently learning more in this space.

John: As you and I know, sustainability now can be read very broadly or very narrowly depending on the mission, depending on the organization and things of that such. Talk a little bit about what your title really means and what your day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter, year-to-year looks like as director of sustainability strategy home care North America, like let’s just frame that up first before we get into the whole Procter & Gamble on the brands and other great things you’re doing there with your colleagues.

Ashley: Yeah, great question. So let’s take a step back. At Procter & Gamble, we have ambition 2030 and that is our commitments and targets to improve the world for generations to come through superiority that is sustainable. Within that, we have four environmentally based pillars which include climate, water, nature and waste. And within that we have different targets. So for instance, we have a goal of being net zero on carbon emissions or carbon equivalent emissions by 2030, scope one and two and then expanding to scope one, two and upstream scope three, sorry downstream scope three for 2040. We also have 100% recyclability reusability goals by 2030, a reduction of virgin plastic by 50%. We aim to be a water positive company meaning we’re going to return more water to the natural resources than we use in our production and some targets on responsible sourcing of palm oil and forestry. And so what that means is that we have all of these goals in corporate targets, but then how does that actually manifest? Because we don’t sell Procter & Gamble soap. We sell Cascade, we sell Dawn, we sell Swiffer, so my job is to connect the dots between our corporate strategies to our physical Brands. And so we’ll talk a little bit more about how our brands are doing that but I think it’s a really interesting position to play because it’s how do you bring the strategies to life at the brand level. So my day-to-day looks like advancing those ambition 2030 strategies, keeping a pulse on the regulatory environment, helping consumers shift their habits and lifestyles to be more sustainable by using less water and resources at home and kind of everything in between of working and partnering across our organization for manufacturing supply chain to the upstream of commercialization and marketing.

John: That’s so fascinating. First I have to just say, you growing up in Canada and managing the Canadian assets in terms of sustainability strategy and things of that such and also over North America. I grew up in New York City and then lived a long time in now Los Angeles and then California and of course, I love United States. But I have to tell you every time I’ve come to Canada, Toronto especially, Vancouver especially, Ontario, I’m always impressed. I’ve historically been oppressed. I’ve been coming to Canada since I’m 14 or 15 years old. It’s always a very clean country. It seems to be sustainability has been baked into the DNA of Canada on a long-standing basis in terms of you just feel that people care about the environment and care about their ecosystem there and that seems like it’s been a long-standing thing. This is not something new that’s come to Canada. Is that, am I right? Am I in my notion here?

Ashley: You know, John it’s an interesting question and I think what I’ve seen in my experience looking out over both the US and Canada is that both regions have pockets of high passion sustainability consumers and pockets of maybe consumers that are less motivated by sustainability behavior. What I do know, is that no matter what benefit or who you’re talking to, sustainability isn’t all there is to a purchase decision. It needs to also work for the consumer. So what I mean by that is, just because something it’s recyclable or using recycled content, that might not motivate every single consumer in every single region to make that purchase decision. There has to be more in it for the consumer and that comes to consumer behavior change. So I think yes, I’d love to say Canada is [crosstalk], I think you do have pockets[?] but I think so does the US. Like think about California and the amazing work happening in that space.

John: That’s right. Great Point, great point. I’m going to fall on the sword, I mean I remember going back to my conversation with Todd and just, I grew up in a generation where hot meant clean. You know the hotter your washing machine was cleaning your clothes, the cleaner your clothes got in theory. The same thing goes for the dishwasher, was fairly a modern device growing up in New York City with a dishwasher, was wonderful to have it. But again hot meant that everything you put in the dishwasher got cleaner. Now, of course on the clothes washing side and learned a lot from Todd that hot doesn’t mean clean, it has a lot of other factors in but we could cold water wash and come out with a tremendously great result. Talk a little bit about hot washing in the dishwasher and how for 61 years. I’ve had this wrong and there’s really a better and smarter way if we’re all trying to decarbonize this
planet and make the world a better place. There’s a better way to be.

Ashley: Yes, and we’ve learned a lot from our friends over on the tide side about how to think about our Emissions on our dish care side. So I’ll start by saying we’re a little different verses laundry care. We have two ways that consumers wash their dishes. The first way is classically at the sink, I turn on my tap and I put the dishes in, I scrub and then I put them over to dry or I use the dishwasher. Now, how many consumers are using hand washing for their choice of laundry care these days? So for us our challenge is actually a little bit different in trying to figure out how do we encourage our consumers to use less water and energy while washing their dishes. Similar to what we’ve learned on tide is that most of our emissions from a cradle to grave analysis using life cycle assessment does happen in the NUspace, so with our consumers, so John depending on whether you decide to turn on that tap to super super hot, get it steaming, get the [inaudible] it’s bubbling and throw all your dishes in there and then rinse them off with even hotter water or if you decide to put your dishes in the dishwasher, incompletely change the profile of how many missions are generated when we’re washing our dishes and I will caveat that first and foremost P&G and what I’m working on is absolutely to make sure that what’s in our control, which is our supply chain our operations, our packaging is doing the best work that we can do to reduce our emissions. But we know that a majority comes from the button use phase. So how do we help influence consumers to shift behaviors to more sustainable choices? So question for you John, if we know that the average dishwasher cycle uses about four gallons every load, how much water do you think comes out of your sink per minute?

John: That’s a, you know what? A brilliant, brilliant question. I have zero idea. I don’t know, but I want to know.

Ashley: The answer is two. So every two minutes your sink uses about four gallons of water and your dishwasher uses four gallons per cycle. And that is a huge misconception that consumers have. It’s nice when you look at the laundry machine, you see the clothes tumbling around you, what’s happening in there. The dishwasher is a black box either, put the dishes in there, you close and kind of hope for the best [laughter]. We’ve actually put a GoPro in a dishwasher to show consumers this is what happens inside of there and it’s shocking what consumers think go on in there because you don’t really think about it. You’re doing your dishes. It’s a chore to get done. So as we think about how do we get consumers to rethink the sink, there’s two things we’re doing. The first is how do we have consumers use less water when they are washing their dishes by hand and creating technologies and different solutions to reduce water usage at the sink. And then how do we motivate more consumers to use their dishwasher because A, who really wants to wash their dishes by hand. It’s a huge reduction in mental load and B, it uses so much less water and energy versus hand washing your dishes. So that’s our journey John. Let’s get people out of the sink and into the dishwasher.

John: Wait a second, but historically if you were to ask me the question slightly different, John, do you think washing the dishes in the sink you’re saving water as opposed to putting in the dishwasher? My answer would have been, “Oh, Ashley, of course it’s saving water as opposed to the dishwasher”. Is that the majority of consumer thinking that they’re saving water by doing their dishes in the sink as opposed to put in the dishwasher?

Ashley: That’s where we started, we found that as we were serving consumers, a lot of consumers did think the dishwasher was more wasteful versus[crosstalk] hand washing.

John: A hundred percent.

Ashley: So that’s the journey we’ve been on to communicate and educate and leverage our marketing to discuss this. It is better to wash your dishes in the dishwasher than it is to run them by hand.

John: So the dish washing [inaudible]. Wait a second, the dishwashing industry that diss the people, they only have to make dishwashers [laughs] sending [inaudible] and check. What’s going on here? This is incredible. Alright. Okay. So we’ve got that baseline, anyway for our listeners and viewers who’ve just joined us, we’ve got Ashley Fill with us. She’s a director of sustainability strategy at home care North America at Procter Gamble. To find Ashley and all of our colleagues and all the important and impactful work they’re doing in sustainability and circular economy, please go to Click on about us and then click on our commitment to the environment. I’m on their website now. It is chock-full of tons of great information. Please go to We will put all of their websites in our show notes. It’s going to make it easy for everybody to find and also they have a wildlife initiative also that will be on our website Ashley, wait a second. So now that we know that the dishwashing is better in the dishwasher than the sink, talk about behavioral change. I’m in the recycling business, recycling rates across Canada and the United States are at very low rates unfortunately. For even in 2024 and even for the fact that all of us want to do the right thing and want to make the world a better place everyone wants to drink cleaner water, breath cleaner air, want to live a better environment for our children and for our grandchildren, recycling rates are very low. There’s a lot I can learn from you here because, talk a little bit about how then that you have these facts and science that doing the dishes in the dishwasher is better than doing it in the sink. We’ve got to rethink the sink as you just said a little while earlier. How do you go about at Procter & Gamble changing consumer Behavior?

Ashley: It’s a great question John and I think what you’re hitting on there is the intention versus action gap. So we know that consumers, everybody for the most part wants to do the right thing. They want to use less energy, water, create less waste, but the reality is there’s three main barriers that we found at P&G. One, that consumers perceive it as an expensive choice to make and they don’t necessarily have the funds to take those choices. Two, it’s inconvenient or it takes too much effort or three, they simply don’t know how. There’s too much information out there and they can’t really make those decisions. So how I see the role of Cascade and Dawn is to really help educate our consumers on what they can do, that not only saves them money, time and water but also creates a better experience for them. So what we did is we dove in to the consumer psyche. If we know that dishwashers theoretically are the easier choice what is preventing consumers from using them and what we found was kind of shocking actually. Is that when you run your average dishwasher, about 20% of those loads would fail. And what I mean by a failure just like envision opening up your dishwasher and you’ve got stuck on food, it’s maybe a little smelly, you’ve got water spots or your dishes are still completely wet and you need to like leave them their to dry. So we found that consumers just don’t trust their dishwasher and that’s a main barrier to using them. And they don’t feel like they can quite delegate their dishwasher all of the work. And what’s interesting about dishwashers is that if you were actually to run a dishwasher without any chemistry in it, so no Cascade 20 years ago versus today, your dishwasher 20 years ago would do a better job most likely and that’s because as we’ve partnered with energy star and we have appliances that are using energy more efficiently, it means we’re not using as much hot water and we’re not using as much water volume to get our dishes clean in the dishwasher. For that reason, we need to rely more on the chemistry within the dishwasher. So about a year ago, we launched Cascade Platinum Plus, which is a new version of our Cascade. It comes in a purple box. And it’s not just purple that makes it different, it’s actually a much, it’s an innovative pod that helps us drive more cleaning and less failures, so much so that we can now talk about not needing to pre-rinse or re-wash your dishes before they go to the dishwasher because we’re that confident that the chemistry we’re creating and delivering within that dishwasher is going to get your dishes clean. So step one is get people from a sink to the dishwasher, step two is to reduce the pre-rinsing and the rewashing, and by doing that we now make it such an easy task for consumers to do. Instead of spending 30 minutes, which by the way is what an average person spends per day washing dishes. We can now give that 30 minutes back to them and they can trust that they can run it fully automated in their dishwasher. And to kind of share something with you, 150 billion gallons per year of water is used just to pre-rinse dishes in North America and you’re probably like, “Wait, that’s a lot of water, that’s a billion”. And so I want you to visualize an Olympic-sized swimming pool and you’re swimming it. Now I want you to envision 225,000 of those back to back to back to back to back. That’s what 150 billion gallons of water represents. Enough to get you from basically like Cincinnati to London or back or something like that. So a ton of water is used to pre-rinse dishes because consumers don’t trust that when they put it in the dishwasher it’s going to do it right the first time. So how do we develop chemistry and education to help bust that myth?

John: And I’m part of that group. I mean again, you’re preaching to the choir here that needs the information. But again, how let’s go back even one step further. The chemistry’s one thing and obviously with Cascade Platinum Plus you’ve done that, you’ve broken that coat but let’s go back to rethink the sink. How do you get folks like me that don’t even know this information that I shouldn’t be pre-washing, number one and I shouldn’t be using the sink, number two. I should just be putting the dishes and the other stuff I’m going to wash utensils ,pots, pans into the dishwasher. Go back to that step. How are you spreading that information, as you said expense inconvenience and void of information are your three hurdles? Go back to the void of information. How is it best now in the modern times that we live and given that you’re a digital native. I’m not a digital native. I had to learn on the fly in my 30s and 40s about information and digital. How are you now spreading that information to fill that void of information to get us to rethink the sink?

Ashley: Yeah, great question. So I think the first part that I hit on was product innovation. How do we design the right chemistry to deliver? Because the number one thing is make it work and the consumers will trust that it works.

John: Okay. Okay.

Ashley: Kind of need this. We need the product innovation. And then the second piece you’re hitting on is the commercial innovation. How do we design the right strategy to communicate to our consumers the habits and nudge them into the behavior that we think that we know will reduce energy and water. So there’s a couple different ways to achieve that that we’ve been working on. So the first is on the packaging itself, how do we demonstrate with really key visuals that it show four gallons of water in one dishwasher load and four gallons of water in the sink. That addresses maybe some of that, I don’t know how. The second campaign we’ve put together is we can demonstrate that when you choose to use your dishwasher over hand washing over the course of a year you can save about $150 on your energy bill. So that basically pays for the cost of Cascade for a year. When you switch from the sink to the dishwasher and that helps overcome that barrier that it’s too expensive because there are savings on the utility bills as well as think about the time savings and that mental load savings and then the third part is to make it fun. So we launched our myth-busting campaign and encourage your viewers to go ahead and look it up on YouTube or wherever they get their media. But it talks about using the dishwasher every night or we like to say it do it every night. So it’s just a fun spin on talking about your dishwasher is there to help you and it saves water versus doing your dishes. So how do we myth burst the fact that consumers mostly think it’s more wasteful and that’s how we’ve gone about it. With really fun engaging media that is accessible to the consumer demographic. We’re trying to reach, so for you that might be on sports TV, for me that might be on my social media platform. So making that content engaging, kind of fun, but then also influencing at the point of purchase. So if you’re at your local grocer or mass retailer and you’re choosing it, you can see directly on the packaging this saves water versus hand-washing. So that’s all the different ways we are nudging consumer behavior and leveraging claims and the right tactics to bring that to life.

John: And please, I would love for you to send us and we’re going to post it during the show and on your episode. We will post any of those videos that you’d like to share that will show our listeners and viewers what you’re talking about in terms of the water savings and everything else. I’d love to share those YouTube videos and any other educational material with our listeners and viewers. So now you’ve invented Cascade Platinum Plus, so you got the science stamp and now you have videos in the campaign. So the world is changing and this is easy now, basically you’ve checked that box. Tell me how difficult this really is. Of course, I’m being facetious, how difficult is this process to create consumer behavioral change that is locked and loaded from decades upon decades of legacy behavior. How do, change great change typically come slowly, how is it going? Talk about the journey and talk about how do you stay encouraged during, typically, what is a slow process?

Ashley: You’re hitting a couple themes there, but I always say progress over perfection. That is the number one thing we need to focus on. I recognize that tomorrow, the whole world isn’t going to use their dishwasher. But hey, John, in this conversation if I can convince you to stop pre-washing your dishes, I’m making a dent in that 150 million gallons annually per year. So I think what’s really motivating and inspiring for me is that as we do this, as we invest in the resources to make dishwashing more accessible and easier and advantageous. We see consumers coming along on the journey and we see our course stakeholders coming along on the journey too. So retail, their partnerships are really important to us because Cascade doesn’t sell directly to consumers. We sell through retailers to consumers. So partnering with retailers has been really powerful to make sure that we’re nudging consumer behavior at the point of purchase. So making sure that dishwashing products are available, they’re attractive, they’re seen as popular and good choices, that really motivates me because we now have, it’s not just P&G on this journey. We’re transforming an industry, we’re transforming consumer behavior and we can’t do that alone. And what’s motivating is that more and more we have our stakeholders coming along on this journey with us and I’ll also say that another barrier that we’ve seen as we try to progress consumer behavior is, people don’t always have dishwashers and I want to take a second to address that because there’s also ways to save water when you’re at the sink and one thing we’ve really also been trying to learn on is how do we nudge consumer behavior at the sink to turn off the tap faster. And that, talk about a consumer behavior change, we’ve actually gone the opposite way a little bit like growing up I, my mom used to turn on the tap, plug the sink, it would be like literally if you touch the water, I think your hand would melt off. It was so hot and that’s how she washed her dishes, but she had the sink closed and we call that close tap behavior. So sink full, steaming hot pots and pans get in there, you rinse and rub them off and then you pass them along to dry and then my mom’s case, I think they self steamed off because the water was so hot. But what we’ve seen a shift in consumer behavior to is an open tap behavior. So more clean as you go. So now if I think about myself and how I cook at home, I will do a dish and then I’ll turn on the tap, will kind of keep it running and then clean it off and then rinse it off and then put it to the side. So that tap is on for a lot longer percentage of time because consumers are busy. They don’t have the time to fill the sink all the way up and do the full chore. They’re trying to do it as they go and so to address that concern we developed Dawn Powerwash. So Dawn Powerwash is a completely different formulation versus our based on Ultra and the way it works is you can think of it as a trigger and it sprays suds onto your dish and what that means is you don’t need water to activate the suds, your classic dish cleaning processes you get the plate wet, you put the soap on it and then you rinse it off. With Dawn Powerwash, you don’t actually need water to start the cleaning process. And again, it’s the chemistry, it’s completely different from the chemistry we have in our base Dawn. It actually works to rehydrate food on contact and you can literally see the like sludge and food start to drip off your plate. That’s how cool the technology I get really excited about chemistry within dish soap apparently. [crosstalk] It’s really cool. And then all you need to do is rinse off, you need to scrub a little bit and then rinse off your plate and so we’ve actually seen that when used as directed that saves 50% of the water that you would typically use versus a classic hand dish. So also trying to help consumers think, how do I turn off that top faster? How do we demonstrate in like the simplest things of commercials of turning off the tap while you wash your dishes or using the dishwasher? These are all nudges in consumer behavior that we’re trying to learn on. To your point, it’s not an easy journey, but we need to meet consumers where they’re at and give them the resources, the tools, both from a product and a commercial innovation sense to help them along that journey, and we need to do our own part within our operations of course.

John: So you have Dawn Powerwash, so you can help us rethink the sink in terms of help us to wash better in the sink if I don’t have a dishwasher and you have Cascade Platinum Plus for use of my dishwasher so I can rethink the sink, stop using the sink and get things into the dishwasher.

Ashley: Yep.

John: Okay.

Ashley: Solution for every consumer.

John: All right. I love it. So now talk about this. You’re in a strategy meeting with your colleagues and you’re daming[?] this whole thing out in terms of strategy you’re thinking about, “Okay, we’ve got to science down, our great engineers and formulation experts have created the AHA products that we needed to go make the world a better and more sustainable place, now you got to change consumer behavior. So you’re sitting there and you’ve got the whiteboard and you and you’re smart colleagues have come up with, “If we do A, B”s going to happen if we do B, C’s going to happen and if we do C, D’s going to happen”. Tell me in retrospect now, what great lesson or lessons have you learned where the A to B the B the C the C the D logicality and sequential things that you thought were going to happen broke down and what did you learn that is, what was your biggest learning when it comes to educating consumers and consumer behavioral change?

Ashley: Yeah, that’s a great question. And I think there’s a lot of things that we continue to learn as we continue to go on and on. I think like what we’re learning is just nobody likes washing dishes and as funny as you think our commercials are and as much as fun I have talking about dishwasher formulation. The average person does not want to think or talk about washing their dishes as much as I do. It’s a chore and it’s an overwhelming chore. And there’s a huge mental load that goes along with this chore. And when I mean by mental load is for washing dishes, it’s not just the washing of the dishes but it’s like the thinking I’m going to make dinner, but then I’m going to have all these dishes and then I have to clean those dishes and then I have to wait for those dishes to dry. Then I need to put those dishwasher, those dishes away. So yes, it might be 30 minutes a day that you’re washing your dishes, but it actually kind of sits in the back of your mind as this never ending chore and it’s actually quite overwhelming to consumers. Because of that, most consumers are just trying to get the job done as fast as they possibly can and that’s where the compensating behaviors come in. And that’s what we’ve learned a lot about is what compensating behaviors are consumers doing just to get out of the kitchen faster and enjoy life again, and that’s where the pre-rinse comes in because if I’m busy I don’t want to have to think about, “Oh, I opened up my dishwasher, half of it’s clean, now I have to go clean the other half and then start the process again”, or “I’m going to soak my dishes before I put them in and I’m going to let, basically clean them and then I’m going to use the dishwasher, this finishing machine” or a bunch of other examples of consumers getting really creative in their houses because they just don’t want to have to deal with dishes. So from getting from point A to B to C to D, dish washing’s probably never going to be like the sexiest thing alive. So I think it’s about how do we engage consumers in a meaningful way that really addresses their concerns and helps them overcome those barriers, but recognizing that we don’t have all day to be thinking about washing our dishes. So I think understanding the distressed and the desire for efficiency and completing our task gives our R&D teams ideas for new solutions for sustainable habits, and that is what has led to the development of all of our different innovations, like Platinum Plus and power wash. It really sits at the root of the consumer behavior and they’re helping us identify how to get from point A to D because at the end of the day, we’re just trying to make their lives like a little bit better every time. Little bit less hard to wash dishes.

John: Now I have a very selfish question. I need a coach and obviously you’re much smarter than me Ashley. So I need you to be my coach for a second here. You know, I’ve been recycling electronics for 22 years and it’s going well. It’s a great business and it works and we need to recycle more electronics [inaudible]. We need to recycle more of everything frankly in Canada and North America and around the world. But as we know recycling rates are historically low and they’re still embarrassingly low for as much as everyone wants to do the right thing and recycling also isn’t a sexy business either just like you said, it’s not really, it’s a, people want to wash their dishes and get on with their night or their day. Same thing with recycling, how do we nudge consumers to certain sustainability behaviors that are better for everyone when it’s hard? How do we do it? I need a coach, Ashley, you got to coach me here.

Ashley: It is hard and we haven’t really talked about recyclability yet. But that is also something we’re working on. We know that majority of emissions come from the consumer NUspace but we also have opportunities to make sure that our dish soaps and Cascades are all recyclable and you know trying to create that circular economy by using recycled content. So relating back to those ambition 2030 goals of getting Cascade and Dawn to 100% recyclability or reusability and 50% reduction of virgin plastic. But what we also know is, John, we can’t do it alone, not even a little bit. So I think both on recycling and on the consumer NUspace of nudging consumer behaviors. What I’ve learned is that there’s a couple different points of interaction that you get with the consumer. And the first one is at that point of purchase. So how do you communicate to them at the point of purchase that these are the sustainable attributes that you should be aware of. And one of the things on recycling for example is making sure that we have very clear labeling in partnership with the how to recycle team to make sure that everything is properly labeled based on what we know to be true about the industry and acceptability rates. Of course, there’s always opportunity for those to be improved and we’re continuing to learn about the ongoing landscape of recyclability, but making things standardized and easy to understand is really important. How to recycle has been a great partner for us because it allows us to have a consistent label that helps consumers understand simply and easily what the recyclability of a package is. Now, that’s the first point of purchase. They’re looking at that box and they are thinking, “Do I need this?” Big, big words. Dishwashers save water, make it simple, easy to understand and clear. That’s first point of purchase and then we go through and then we think about how do we nudge consumer behavior during the process. Again, when they look at that package they can see you don’t need to pre-wash your dishes, great. So that’s the second point. But then also all the little interactions in between. That’s where the social media comes in. That’s where the TV comes in. So, how are we meeting consumers where they’re at? And then the third point of differentiation, specifically recycling, is at that intersection of their Cascade is empty and they’re gonna throw it away. So P&G can control and what I can make sure is that I’m using the right materials that can be recycled. So I’m using the right materials that have a high acceptability rate and we’re designing our labeling, our packaging to be recyclable. That’s what’s with on our control. But what we need is an industry shift and so to do that, that’s where we’re partnering with industry associations looking to establish more collaboration between all of the different stakeholders of the waste management cycle to really help drive that industry forward to increase recyclability rates as an example and make those things more accessible. The same thing is true for the NUspace. If I’m a consumer and I’m opening up my dishwasher, how does my dishwasher help me understand that I don’t need to pre-rinse or re-wash dishes? These are different opportunity areas that we’re continuing to explore. To answer your question, there is no simple A, B, C methodology, but I think the point is to think of all of the points of where the consumer is interacting with the brand, the product, the package from the start of purchase to the end of light[?] and how do you intervene and help them understand what are we asking them to do? Because again, they’re just trying to do their best.

John: So you’re talking about is a holistic solution. It’s a whole ecosystem solution, number one. Number two, just like sustainability is a journey, it’s a journey in terms of consumer Behavioral change and we just got to get on it and just keep making progress in the right direction that makes a lot of sense Ashley. I got to tell you, that’s a very, it’s a better answer than I could have ever given because it’s difficult. I’ve recognized over the years it’s difficult and people want to do the right thing. But again, there’s a void, like you said, a lot of it comes down to in the marketplace, a void of information. So continuing to educate the consumer at every touch point you have is such a smart, smart process and approach. I love it. Even though I know Proctor & Gamble’s a publicly traded company, we can’t talk about everything in terms of trade secrets, talk a little bit about what you’re excited about in terms of what’s coming next the to drive consumer behavior change. What are you working on for 2024 and beyond?

Ashley: Yeah, it’s a great question. A lot of exciting things. So I think the first thing you’ll continue to see us do is educate. Educate, educate. Talk to our consumers, our stakeholders, which is why I’m so thankful that you’ve had me on this podcast because it’s another venue to share more about the work we’re doing to try to shift consumer behavior and create new dishwashing habits. So I think 2024 and beyond you’re not going to see a stray away from this messaging but we are going to try to continue to make it easier, more exciting for consumers to do so. I think one thing that we also think about is as technology adapts in those dishwashers, how do we also start thinking about what else can we learn about in NUspace. We know within a dishwasher that there are different types of cycles, different amount of energy that are used. How do we start to think about innovating for the dishwasher of the future that can help us really design to modes that don’t use much water, modes that are water less, modes that are new and exciting and in the future. That’s one thing that we’re keeping our eye on and then the second thing is, how do we just simplify the chore? And I always use the example of if you look at most of our commercials we often have children helping load the dishwashers within family households because we believe that washing your dishes have to be so easy that your five-year-old could do it and you don’t even have to think about whether they’re going to do it right or wrong because the dishwasher is going to take care of it when you use the right detergent and that is key. The right detergent can get the dishes clean because of the chemistry in there. So how do we think about fully automating the dishwasher process so that you, John, when you go home you can just ask your five-year-old to do it and have full faith that those dishwashers are going to come up clean because then you don’t have to think about it. Your mental load is gone. You’ve got a fully automated dishwasher in a sense. So really trying to make sure that those failures, the complexity of not trusting that the dishes are going to get cleaned the first time is eliminated. So we’re going to continue to take that science-based approach and make sure that our chemistry is the right thing for driving consumer change as well as the right thing for the environment. So that’s what I have cooking for now and you’ll see more to come.

John: Let’s go back to what you just were talking about the first thing, the OEM’s. So are there certain OEM’s because I’m sure when you’re scientists, engineers and the people who invent these wonderful products such as Cascade Platinum Plus and Dawn Powerwash. I’m sure they some of these work better with it all, especially Cascade Platinum Plus works better with some machines, dishwashing machines rather than others. Are you going to collaborate with some of the OEM’s and in terms of your marketing in your messaging in terms of to the market strategy and the education of consumers and trying to change consumer behavior?

Ashley: Yes, absolutely. So today we already have, if you ever are in Cincinnati, let me know John and we’ll give you a little tour of our R&D site. But we essentially test with all the dishwashers on the market how our product performs in there and then we make sure that the products we’re putting out in the market work within the dishwashers available. So that’s number one. We recognize that there are many different models and styles and our number one is to make sure that it works within the dishwashers available in the market. But then we certainly are looking at how do we partner even further with dishwashers? And I’m sure you’ve heard Todd talked about this with Electrolux and so on about how they’re working on this on the laundry side. I’d say that’s also something we’re thinking about on the Cascade side. We’re thinking about [inaudible] operations like the 50-litre home, which was one of the things that P&G founded where it’s how do we think about taps that help, nudge consumer behavior to turn off faster. How do we think about the technology within dishwashers that help drive some of those Eco-habits faster. So absolutely there’s many, many partnerships on the horizon on how we think about [inaudible] to a home that uses less water and resources in partnership with all the other P&G brands that use water and energy at home. How do we design for that? 50-litre home?

John: I’m a big proponent in modern times, remember going back to their 20, 30, 40 years. There used to be the celebration of the sole entrepreneur and it doesn’t mean we’re not going to continue to celebrate the Steve Jobs of the world, the Bill Gates of the world, the Elon Musk of the world, the Sara Blakely’s is of the world, but I just believe it’s even a better approach when possible to collaborate because collaborations can create meaningful change and impact that are sustainable and also scalable and I think that collaborations are wonderful. I love to hear that. I want to change topics a little bit, go from consumer behavior change and I want to go to another hat that you wear that is a topic that’s near and dear to me. The topic of circularity and I know you’re heading up or one of the leaders in the Swiffer circularity strategy. Talk a little bit about wearing the hat of circularity and how circularity is an important trend in the sustainability ecosystem that’s only here to stay but it’s very important to the future of the planet and the decarbonization of this world and making the world a better place.

Ashley: Yes, absolutely. Love that you asked this question. So circularity was the topic of my thesis for school as well and it’s kind of the intersection of circularity and collaboration and how that is critical to advance the circular economy. So first with for, that’s definitely something that is top of mind for us of how do we design the right product that again can deliver that specific need of washing dishes or some, not washing dishes, we’re changing, washing floors. Getting floors clean and getting dusted of the air, reducing allergens and doing it in a way that effectively traps and locks your dust In but also trying to reduce the amount of waste that that generates. We’re on a journey here and there’s lots of things cooking but one of the partnerships, I think that’s really exciting that we can we can share a little bit more about is our partnership exploring how do we find new partnerships that recycle hard to recycle items. So we have a partnership TerraCycle that we’ve had for several years and that’s really helped us understand. How do we recycle these materials that aren’t easily accessible within curbside recyclable systems today? And how do we think about expanding what we learn from those partnerships to new areas and there’s some exciting progress that we’ve started to make in terms of understanding how do we get more Swiffer out of the landfill stream and innovate to make it more curbside accessible through recyclability. So that’s something we’re currently exploring and that’s one aspect and I think we often talk about recyclability and circularity, they do go hand in hand but there’s also, we’re exploring across all of our packaging products. How do we mitigate the waste we’re generating and that comes back to ambition 2030. So 100% recyclable or reusable packaging and a reduction of Virgin petroleum plastic by 50 percent by 2030 and there’s several different strategies we’re working across the board on this. To give you an example on Dawn Powerwash that trigger are typically the most difficult things to recycle within the homecare space. So our packaging development technologists have figured out a way to remove the little metal spring in our triggers that typically would make them not curbside recyclable. So now Dawn Powerwash is curbside recyclable through that innovation by just removing, it seems small but it’s significant. So that’s one example, another example is absolute reduction in plastic by eliminating unnecessary materials. So if you look at our Febreze packages, we used to have like a little plastic layer that we call a blister pack over our plug items, but we’ve actually figured out a way to now redesign our Cardin, so that we don’t need that plastic at all. So it’s a fully recyclable 100% Cardin packaging and that just increases recyclability rates and it reduces the reliance on plastic and I could go on and on and on about all the examples of where we’re trying to drive a reduction in absolute weight, start to introduce re-usability and helping consumers understand the benefits of re-usability by creating more value for them and then all the way down to how do we make each and every tiny little aspect of our products and packaging recyclable. And again, that’s where it comes to collaboration because we can only move as fast as the industry here. We have a role to play in influencing what is acceptable by the industry, but we also know that within our box, within our control is definitely to start to integrate recycled content and a reduction and recyclable materials.

John: I love it Ashley, you know you’ve been so kind to give me an hour of your time today to join us on the Impact podcast. I’m so grateful for our listeners and viewers to financially and all the important impactful sustainable work her and her colleagues are doing at Procter & Gamble. Please go to, click on about us and then our commitment to the environment. We’re going to give that website and many other websites and many other areas to learn more about all the great products that Procter & Gamble make such as Cascade Platinum Plus and Dawn Powerwash and many other great products on our website on Ashley show. They will all be in the show notes, Ashley, thank you for not only the time today you spent with us on the Impact podcast explaining so many of the initiatives and all the important things you’re doing at Procter & Gamble and sustainability and circularity and way beyond, but also thank you and all your colleagues at Procter & Gamble for making the world a more sustainable and better place.

Ashley: And thank you John for taking the time to spend with me and talk about dishwashing, not everybody’s most favorite topic, but I appreciate the time and for you listening to me share more about the journey we’re on. So thank you. It’s been such a pleasure to join you today.

John: This edition of the Impact Podcast is brought to you by Engage, Engage as a digital booking platform revolutionising the talent booking industry with thousands of athletes, celebrities, entrepreneurs and business leaders engage as the go-to spot for booking talent for speeches, custom experiences, livestreams and much more. For more information on engage or to book talented a visit, This edition of the impact podcast is brought to you by ERI. ERI has a mission to protect people the planet and your privacy and it’s the largest fully integrated IT and electronics asset disposition provider and cybersecurity focused hardware destruction company in the United States and maybe even the world. For more information on how ERI can help your business properly dispose of outdated electronic hardware devices, please visit

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