We discuss expectations regarding future performance, events and outcomes, such as our business outlook and objectives, in annual and quarterly reports, press releases and other written and oral communications. All such statements, except for historical and present factual information, are “forward-looking statements,” and are based on financial data and our business plans available only as of the time the statements are made, which may become out-of-date or incomplete. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or other factors. Forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain and investors must recognize that events could be significantly different from our expectations. For more information on risks that could impact our results, refer to Item 1A Risk Factors in our most recent 10-Q, 10-K and 8-K filings.
Ability to Achieve Business Plans. We are a consumer products company and rely on continued demand for our brands and products. To achieve business goals, we must develop and sell products that appeal to consumers and retail trade customers. Our continued success is dependent on leading-edge innovation with respect to both products and operations and on the continued positive reputations of our brands. This means we must be able to obtain patents and respond to technological advances and patents granted to competition. Our success is also dependent on effective sales, advertising and marketing programs in an increasingly fragmented media environment. Our ability to innovate and execute in these areas will determine the extent to which we are able to grow existing sales and volume profitably, especially with respect to the product categories and geographic markets (including developing markets) in which we have chosen to focus. We operate in an increasingly volatile economic environment with high levels of competitive activity. To address these challenges, we must respond to competitive factors, including pricing, promotional incentives, trade terms and product initiatives. We must manage each of these factors, as well as maintain mutually beneficial relationships with our key customers, in order to effectively compete and achieve our business plans. As a company that manages a portfolio of consumer brands, our ongoing business model involves a certain level of ongoing acquisition and divestiture activities. We must be able to successfully manage the impacts of these activities, while at the same time delivering against base business objectives. Our success will also depend on our ability to maintain key information technology systems.
Cost Pressures. Our costs are subject to fluctuations, particularly due to changes in commodity prices, raw materials, cost of labor, foreign exchange and interest rates. Therefore, our success is dependent, in part, on our continued ability to manage these fluctuations through pricing actions, cost savings projects, sourcing decisions and certain hedging transactions. We also must manage our debt and currency exposure, especially in certain countries with currency exchange controls, such as Venezuela, China and India. We need to maintain key manufacturing and supply arrangements, including sole supplier and sole manufacturing plant arrangements. We must implement, achieve and sustain cost improvement plans, including our outsourcing projects and those related to general overhead and workforce optimization. Successfully managing these changes, including identifying, developing and retaining key employees, is critical to our success.
Global Economic Conditions. Economic changes, terrorist activity and political unrest may result in business interruption, inflation, deflation or decreased demand for our products. Our success will depend, in part, on our ability to manage continued global political and/or economic uncertainty, especially in our significant geographic markets, as well as any political or economic disruption due to terrorist and other hostile activities.
Regulatory Environment. Changes in laws, regulations and the related interpretations and enforcement actions may alter the environment in which we do business. This includes changes in environmental, competitive and product-related laws, as well as changes in accounting standards, taxation requirements and enforcement penalties. Our ability to manage regulatory, tax and legal matters (including product liability, patent, intellectual property, competition law matters and tax policy) and to resolve pending legal matters within current estimates may impact our results.