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Industry NewsCRISIS LEADERSHIP: In Their Own Words – Dave Iacobelli, Clorox Company of...

CRISIS LEADERSHIP: In Their Own Words – Dave Iacobelli, Clorox Company of Canada


Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures; grocery retailers and food manufacturers have implemented such measures to ensure that Canadians continue to have access to safe food. Grocers have modified their in-store practices and suppliers have changed manufacturing processes and their supply chains to address unprecedented demand. “In Their Own Words”  brings the behind-the-scenes stories to Grocery Business’ readers.

Dave Iacobelli, president and general manager, The Clorox Company of Canada

Crisis leadership initiatives

Since our inception more than 100 years ago, Clorox has been a health and wellness company. The power of that mission has never been clearer. 

Clorox disinfecting products are helping to keep Canadians safe, and we take that responsibility very seriously. COVID-19 brings difficult challenges, but we remain focused on public health and the health of our communities. In the midst of this uncertainty, we are seeing the best of people — their courage, their commitment, their kindness. 

Our top three priorities are: protect the health, safety and well-being of employees ; maximize supply to get products where they are needed; and support caregivers on the front lines fighting COVID-19 

To date, Clorox has donated more than $14 million in cash and products to fight the pandemic. We have also committed a $1 million to our employee relief fund to help our employees who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.  

We’ve enhanced pay and incentives for our production workers and are supporting greater flexibility around sick-pay and work hours. We’ve continued to enhance our infection prevention measures, including temperature scans, staggered meals and breaks, physical distancing practices, and increased disinfection protocols at all facilities. It’s essential that we keep our plant staff safe, informed and connected during times of uncertainty.  

Impact on supply chain

To support these objectives, we are maximizing production on our disinfecting products and diverting them to the places with the greatest need. This includes our traditional retailers, but also workers on the front lines of public health, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, and first responders. Working together, we can continue to help prevent the spread of infection during these uncertain times.

Clorox has taken an agile approach to meet the significantly increased demand, literally working around the clock. Our customers, suppliers and other partners have been extraordinarily flexible to help us to maximize supply. We are working tirelessly with them to make this happen, and we appreciate their partnership. 

We are also especially grateful when people buy only what they need.

We also want to ensure that everyone has access to our disinfecting products at standard prices. We are taking aggressive action to combat third-party price gouging.

Your business takeaways from this experience

Our teams in Asia have been exceptional leaders and helped us prepare in other parts of the world. These lessons have helped us keep our employees safe and helped us continue to deliver essential products.  

Most people know Clorox for our bleach, but we have many other household brands like Glad, Brita, and Burt’s Bees. Most of our categories have experienced sales growth, but especially the ones focused on health and wellness. 

For example, people want healthy, great-tasting water from Brita. Or they want to maintain a healthy immune system, so they are turning to our Renew Life probiotics. Consumer attitudes are evolving toward healthier choices, and we anticipate this will continue.   

Even our Kingsford charcoal business has increased dramatically. Consumers are stuck at home and looking for ways to connect. What better way to than to enjoy some time around the barbecue? Kingsford’s slogan is “slow down and grill.” Never has this slogan been more appropriate.


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