As a strong believer in rewarding exceptional accomplishments, Colgate has always publicly recognized employees whose achievements exceed expectations. The Chairman's "You Can Make a Difference Award" Program, introduced in 1986, was created to reward Colgate people all over the world and at all levels who exhibit innovation, ingenuity and performance excellence. Since 1986, more than 17,000 Colgate people have been honored through the Chairman's "You Can Make a Difference Award" Program.
Hundreds of projects are nominated each year. Three times a year, local winners are selected and from these "period" winners, local annual award winners are named. These semifinalists are evaluated annually by senior management; the winners receive Company stock with values ranging from $250 for period winners to $2,500 for global winners.
In 2009, a team from Colgate's Morristown, NJ manufacturing facility was awarded the Chairman's You Can Make a Difference Award for increasing sustainability with a new plant water-recycling system. In support of Colgate's commitment to sustainability, this team found a way to reduce both waste and costs. Because high-purity water is a key ingredient in all of the Softsoap formulas, significant quantities of regular tap water with trace elements not suitable for use in the product are discharged from the plant at approximately 30 gallons per minute.
This team developed a way to recover the rejected water by redirecting it and putting it through a water purifying system in the plant. After it is put through this purification process, the water can be reused in the Softsoap production process as well as for other purposes in the plant. By purifying and recycling the rejected water, the plant is able to recover more than 26 gallons of water per minute, reducing water waste by almost 95% and resulting in savings of $250,000 per year.