P&G Calls Africa Next Frontier on Philanthropic Effort
(Corrects developing market revenue in third paragraph of story originally published Jan. 19.)
Procter & Gamble Co. Chief Executive Officer Robert McDonald said the world’s largest consumer- products company is increasing sales and philanthropic efforts in regions such as Pakistan and parts of Africa.
“We have an amazing congruence between what other people call corporate social responsibility and our business-building efforts,” McDonald said yesterday in an interview in Washington, where P&G (PG) was one of two companies receiving the 13th annual Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence.
Political and military tensions haven’t stymied expansion in Pakistan, where P&G’s business has grown fivefold in the past decade, McDonald said. Growth there will continue at the same pace or faster, he said. Last year, 35 percent of P&G’s $82.6 billion in revenue came from developing markets.
At yesterday’s event, where P&G’s award was presented by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the company was recognized for programs including water-purification projects, mobile health clinics in Nigeria and Pakistan, and relief work in the latter following the extensive floods in 2010.
“It’s not like because people are rioting in the street, you’re suddenly not going to wash your clothes,” McDonald said. “The big issue, frankly, is water. To use our products you need water.” He said the average woman worldwide walks 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) a day to procure water.
P&G is working to have 5 billion customers by 2015, a milestone it plans to achieve by adding products and categories in markets around the world. Only seven of its 39 categories currently sell in Pakistan.
“I don’t think that the people of the world think of Procter & Gamble first and foremost as an American company,” he said. “I have not seen where it’s problematic.” And people need the company’s products, he said. P&G brands include Pampers diapers, Tide detergent and Pantene shampoo.
Clinton called U.S. corporations “key actors” in international affairs. The winners “have shown the compassionate face of caring Americans,” she said.
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