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An Open Plea to Alan Lafley in His Last 2 Weeks as CEO of Procter & Gamble


An Open Plea to Alan Lafley in His Last 2 Weeks as CEO of Procter & Gamble

Jessica Assaf

Jessica Assaf and Kiran Gandhi are two non-traditional MBA students at Harvard Business School dedicated to changing the status quo and using their platform to improve the health of women. Here is an open letter we sent Alan Lafley, HBS Class of 1977, to demand safer feminine products. Join us and sign the petition to tell P&G we want to know the ingredients in our tampons and pads. 

Dear Alan,

We are writing to you because we believe you are one of the most influential businessmen in the world. As two young women at Harvard Business School, we have every reason to believe that you are one of the business school’s most powerful graduates. You are powerful because you have the power to change industries overnight. And in your last two weeks as CEO of Procter and Gamble, we have a question for you:

Will you set new standards to improve the safety of our feminine products?

We have reason to be concerned. Two years ago, Women’s Voices For The Earth commissioned laboratory testing of Always brand pads and found that the products emit potential carcinogens and reproductive and developmental toxins. Feminine products are considered “medical devices” and as a result, ingredients do not have to be listed on the label or disclosed by the manufacturers. Millions of women like us use these products every month, and we demand to know the undisclosed chemicals entering the most absorptive parts of our bodies.

More specifically, we are asking you to share the full list of ingredients and materials used to make Tampax tampons and Always pads. P&G promises leadership, ownership, integrity and trust, yet Tampax and Always brands refuse to disclose the ingredient lists of their products. As a result, women all over the world are unknowingly exposing their bodies to unidentified compounds that may be harmful to our health. As P&G customers, we have the right to assess your products based on our own standards of health and safety.

In business school we learn that every problem is an opportunity for improvement and innovation. As you prepare to leave P&G, we ask that you consider our plea as an opportunity to create new standards for the safety of our products.

Here are two strategic benefits to taking action now:

  1. As competitors in the market like LOLA and Conscious Period emerge to provide women with non-toxic, all natural alternatives, the consumer population will become more educated about their range of choices. They will become increasingly concerned that P&G and other market leaders actively choose not to list the ingredients in their products. P&G has a reason to be proactive instead of waiting to lose market share to take action. Your company could be a market leader, produce cleaner products, and re-educate consumers about their own purchasing power, which will drive long-term customer loyalty.
  2. This is a rebranding opportunity. P&G has a longstanding reputation as American innovators and now the company has the opportunity to build upon its incredible Always “Unstoppable” ad campaign by continuing to support women.

As P&G customers, we should not have to choose between your products and our health. Please consider our perspective, as we represent thousands of likeminded women who want to believe in P&G’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. But first, take action to protect the health of women globally and #detoxthebox.


Jessica Assaf and Kiran Gandhi