The White House Conference on Aging: A Perspective from Clorox CEO Benno Dorer
By Benno Dorer, CEO of The Clorox Company
On Monday, July 13, I had the honor of attending the White House Conference on Aging. The conference was timely as 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. That’s particularly relevant, given in the next 50 years, the number of Americans age 65 and older is expected to more than double, and the number of people age 85 and older is expected to triple. In light of these facts, it was valuable to participate in conversations covering such themes as healthy aging, services that can help Americans remain independent as they age, as well as retirement security.
That’s where Clorox comes in and why I was invited to attend the conference. The main way America’s workers save for retirement is a job-based 401(k) plan. However, effective retirement programs are far from the norm. In fact, only an average of 78 percent of U.S. workers with access to an employer-based program participate in the plan. And, about one-third of American workers don’t have access to a retirement plan at work. While workers without access to a workplace plan can save on their own using an IRA, only a small fraction does so.
At the conference, Clorox was one of four companies highlighted for exemplary employee retirement programs. It was a proud day, considering the deep thought we’ve put into our program. Clorox provides a total company contribution of up to 10 percent of pay, consisting of a 4 percent employer match and a 6 percent annual company contribution, and has included auto-enrollment and auto-escalation features for many years. This has led to 97 percent employee participation, with an average employee contribution of more than 10 percent. Clorox also offers financial planning services to help employees manage their retirement-plan and other aspects of their personal finances to ensure their financial well-being.
Attending the conference also reinforced how Clorox makes a positive difference in the increasing number of aging Americans through our products. We have a comprehensive portfolio of disinfecting products that can help stop the spread of healthcare-related infections in healthcare settings, including hospitals and nursing homes. I was inspired by the opportunity to explore the possibilities of further innovation.
I was incredibly proud to represent The Clorox Company at the White House for such an important event. I’m proud of Clorox’s leadership in supporting retirement security, which makes such a difference in our employees’ lives. Importantly, attending the event was a good reminder that supporting the well-being of seniors is going to be critical for the long-term health of society as a whole.