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Dawn Expands Efforts to Save Wildlife Once Again

New commitments will continue to protect wildlife at the shore and enable conservation efforts at the sink. *Learn more about Dawn’s efforts in the LogNewsCast on May 2.

On April 12, Dawn announced a set of expansive sustainability and purpose-driven commitments to help create a cleaner world for wildlife. For many years, Dawn has had goals to help at the sink and on the shore to build upon the brand’s existing sustainability actions and long history of partnering with rescue and rehabilitation experts to save wildlife.


At the sink, Dawn saves Wildlife, a non-profit created by Dawn has redesigned their products to clean dishes faster and use less water by formulating its dish liquid to break down grime and grease without water needing to be used to clean, only rinse. On shore, Dawn has expanded its efforts to work with wildlife rescue experts to protect and care for aquatic wildlife.


Through the launch of new efforts, Dawn hopes to empower people to help protect wildlife at our shores and begin making small changes at the sink that can significantly impact the world. Dawn now works with P&G Good Everyday, a reward program for people who want to make an impact, as well as the Marine Mammal Center, the largest teaching marine mammal hospital that works to advance global ocean conservation through recue and rehabilitation, education, and scientific research.


The International Bird Rescue began using Dawn dish soap to clean oiled wildlife in the wake of a catastrophic spill in 1971 when 800,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the San Francisco Bay. Since then, Dawn has expanded its efforts, forming a partnership with The Marine Mammal Center and investing significant funds to support environmental advocacy and research. Dawn has helped care for more than 150,000 birds and marine mammals through these efforts. The brand will build on this legacy by working with these longstanding wildlife partners on commitments to protect aquatic wildlife and encourage positive human interactions with birds and marine mammals.


Dawn will further its efforts by partnering with International Bird Rescue and The Marine Mammal Center to help raise and provide funding to accomplish:

  • Protecting and caring for one million birds and marine mammals through direct rescue and rehabilitation efforts and advocacy and work in habitats to keep wildlife safe and in the wild.
  • Inspire and empower one million people to become Wildlife Heroes – people who take small, positive actions in their daily lives to create a cleaner world for wildlife. Some of these actions will include:
    • Interactive quizzes that promote positive behaviors to protect wildlife
    • At-home activities like recycling and reducing water and energy use
    • Opportunities to engage directly with experts at International Bird Rescue and The Marine Mammal Center.


Jeff Boehm, the Chief Executive Director of the Marine Mammal Center and veterinarian, has worked closely with Dawn in recent years to expand on the shared goal of helping preserve and enhance marine mammals.


“I began in my role here in 2008,” said Boehm. “Our neighbors at the International Bird Rescue, who had been working with Dawn since the late 80s, brought our work to their [Dawn’s] attention. In a very wonderful, collegial situation.”


The Executive Director of The Marine Mammal Center, prior to Boehm’s employment, was close friends with her counterpart at the International Bird Rescue, who had already been working alongside Dawn for many years. It was then that her counterpart presented Dawn with the idea to include the Marine Mammal Center in the program as well.


“It was really a winning formula to bring the three of us together,” said Boehm. “What Dawn does is, in a few ways, it supports us—through the very direct provision of their dishwashing liquid to us to use at our facilities. We have four facilities. We are in Monterey and San Luis Obispo County, in addition to our facility in Hawaii and our headquarters up here in Sausalito. And you could find that product at every site.”


In addition, Dawn financially supports the Marine Mammal Center to help run its operations.


“And the real sweet spot that we have arrived at now is leveraging the good work of the International Bird Rescue and the Marine Mammal Center alongside the very forward-thinking approach of Dawn with regard to being a responsible contemporary provider of materials that we need in everyday life,” said Boehm.


A 2021 study by Procter & Gamble found that 72 percent of people want to do more to be sustainable at home, yet less than half make environmentally conscious choices as often as they would like.


Every product has a lifecycle. It starts with ingredient sourcing, manufacturing and processing, distribution, consumer use, and disposal. Using a science-based Life Cycle Assessment, product developers can understand the environmental impact of each of these phases and determine levers to pull at each stage to reduce carbon impact. For example, upon studying the lifecycle of a hand dish soap, it is evident that more than 80 percent of its total estimated impact comes from the ‘in-use’ phase, or the energy and water used to clean dishes. This has compelled Dawn to innovate products for cleaner continually, faster dishwashing using fewer resources.


“Many people are surprised to learn that the biggest impact from a dish soap’s product lifecycle comes from how it is used at the sink,” said Terry Hare, R&D Senior Director, Dawn, in the April 12 press release. “We design with all parts of the product lifecycle in mind but recognize the biggest opportunity and toughest challenge we have is reducing the water and energy needed to clean dishes.”


This insight is the foundation of Dawn’s work to enable a 25 percent reduction in water usage during in-home hand dishwashing in North America by 2030. The brand plans to deliver this commitment through product innovation and consumer education, enabling households to conserve water, energy, and time. For example, Dawn Power wash Dish Spray was designed to work on contact without requiring a running tap to create soapy suds. Dawn is keeping the water tap off until the rinse can help households save up to 120 gallons of water per week. The product also features a reusable trigger that allows people to use 55 percent less plastic with each refill than purchasing a bottle with an attached sprayer. In 2020 alone, this refill model helped save 400 metric tons of plastic.


“What they [Dawn] found is that the biggest impact is the use of water at the sink, and if they can develop a product and have marketing that reinforces the best practices that reduces water consumption while folks are scrubbing up at home, that’s a huge win,” said Boehm. “It’s an addition that they’re using their great platform and their many followers to amplify the messages of International Bird Rescue, and of us, that’s another phenomenal win.”

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