Tech & Sustainability: A Closer Look with P&G, Philips

Overview The intersection of technology and sustainability stretches beyond recyclable materials in our favorite products. Technological innovations are helping global companies such as Procter & Gamble and Philips keep sustainability as a business imperative across industries.

“Sustainability development is the number one topic of our time,” said Robert Metzke, head of sustainability, strategy and innovation, Phillips, during a CES® 2021 session. “It’s morally imperative, but more than that, it is needed for the stability of our society to grow and it’s a precondition to any business no matter where we are.”

More than environmentally friendly tech products and zero-emission vehicles, technology plays an integral role in championing a greener future.

“Technology will help you accelerate the circular economy,” said Virginie Helias, chief sustainability officer of Procter & Gamble (P&G). “It is absolutely critical [to what we do].”

In essence, technological innovations can help create value and meet necessary needs without using new materials. Both global leaders have harnessed the power of tech to help create and encourage sustainable behavior in their industries.


Tech Addresses Issues in Water and Waste

Helias highlighted major examples of how critical tech developments have helped P&G start important sustainability initiatives.

Combatting Waste

A challenge in waste management is the supply of recycled plastics and how ineffective sorting at recovery facilities can impact the quality of recycled material. P&G led a coalition of companies to create Holy Grail, an intelligent sorting technology that embeds digital watermarks in packaging. The result is more accurate — and faster — sorting of recyclables, so that the right plastics go into the right recycling stream.

“At the end, the quality of the recycled plastic is much higher,” Helias explained. “It is a transformative technology.”

Conserving Water

Highlighted in the P&G LifeLab at the company’s CES 2021 exhibitor showcase is P&G’s 50L Home experience. The concept tackles the urban water crisis with scalable innovations at home based around water consumption of 50L of water per person per day. P&G and the coalition working on 50L Home sees opportunities for tech innovation, including smart home devices, to address water repurposing and efficiency.


Digitization for Sustainable Health Care

Phillips believes that digitalization and sustainable use of resources are catalysts for a shift toward sustainable health care models, which includes wider access to health care.

Tech innovations have allowed Phillips to make the critical switch to its business models, making operations more service-oriented and outcome-based.

Metzke highlights the example of how artificial intelligence can help create more personalized and specific care plans, reducing the need for extra resources for each patient.

On the Phillips blog, Metzke also outlines how for radiology or oncology departments, instead of getting a physical scanner and products, tech developments in imaging and analytics services can support precision diagnosis while helping reduce materials needed and used.

Online ecosystems of care “reduces upfront costs and improves patient access to innovative care, for example in remote areas,” Metzke said.


The pandemic has brought into sharper focus how public health and the health of the planet depend upon each other. It is initiatives such as P&G’s and Phillips’s that can leverage the transformative power of technology to fuel sustainable behavior, accelerate the growth of circular economy and ultimately keep us healthier and safer.

On-demand programming from the all-digital CES 2021, including Building Sustainability and Battling Climate Change, is now available for all to view. The industry-changing insights and announcements shared by tech visionaries at CES 2021 are key to the continued growth and advancement of your business and our tech ecosystem. With that in mind, we’ve opened the CES sessions to everyone.

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