October 4, 2007 —
Proctor and Gamble, the largest manufacturer of household products in the U.S., conducts inhumane animal testing for many of its products. Activists charge the company with spending only a fraction of the billions they use toward advertising on finding humane ways to test their products. According to studies, the company spent $3 billion (with a "B") on advertising in 2004—compared to the $64 million spent over a 14 year period on alternative testing methods.
The company has been accused of using toxic phthalates in cosmetics and other products. It has been accused of undue influence in the media as well as a general conservative ideology and some have boycotted on the basis of the company’s vast political contributions to the Republican Party. The maker of Pringles, P&G uses Monsanto-made genetically modified potatoes to make the chips, which concern many people due to health risks. P&G has slowly incorporated Fair Trade coffee into Millstone brand, but not Folgers (and only about 5 percent of Millstone is certified Fair Trade).
Despite its reputation as a supporter of “family values,” P&G was the target of conservative groups in the mid-2000s. The American Family Association and Focus on the Family (led by James Dobson) urged that opponents of gay marriage should boycott the company because of its “tacit support” of same-sex marriage, or at least providing benefits to “domestic partners.” The company received support from GLAAD for removing itself as a sponsor of Dr. Laura Schlesinger’s show after anti-gay comments made by the host. The company’s Corporate Equality Index rating (a “report card” on GLBT equality among American companies) improved from 65 to 85 (out of 100) in the Human Rights Campaign’s 2008 report.
P&G also scored highly on the latest scorecard from ClimateCounts—its score of 53 is low, but better than many others. The company was ranked No. 14 in Diversity Inc’s top 50 companies for diversity.
Nonetheless, the sticking point for many ethical shoppers is P&G’s continued use of animal testing. Many people have boycotted cosmetic and other products directly related to animal testing while others have decided to boycott the entire company. Among their most recognizable products are Arial, Head & Shoulders, Max Factor, Tampax, Old Spice, Pampers, Pringles, Folgers, Tide, Mr. Clean, NyQuil, Crest, Charmin, Zest and Vicks.