Unilever’s new Durban plant a model of sustainable savoury dry food production

Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Rob Davies, today officially opened Unilever’s R670-million state of the art savoury foods plant at Riverhorse Valley in Durban, and endorsed it as one of the largest private investments in South Africa since the 2010 World Cup.

Insulated roof

We'll use the 22,000 square metres of roof space (the size of three football pitches) to collect rainwater - the equivalent of the average daily water use of 200 South African families.

Insulated roof

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The new plant is named Indonsa, meaning “Morning Star” in IsiZulu, and produces renowned brands such as Knorr, Robertson’s, Knorrox, Aromat and Rajah. It is in start-up phase and will be in full production by the first quarter of next year.

The Indonsa plant has the ability to become the biggest dry food site in Unilever world-wide. It has been designed to produce 65 000 tonnes of product per year and has an expansion capability of up to 100 000 tonnes. The 22 000 square metre factory is equivalent to three soccer fields and is situated on 78 000 square metres of land.

Minister Davies said the investment resonates well with the objectives and priorities of South Africa’s Industry Policy Action Plan (IPAP).

”It is also the first major green field investment since the World Cup, giving a boost to manufacturing investment, production and building local capacity for such products. Such investments confirm that South Africa is indeed a preferred destination for investment.”

Davies added that investments such as Indonsa clearly demonstrate the confidence in South Africa as an investment destination and our manufacturing capability.

“Our National Industrial Policy Framework (NIPF) has confirmed that government sees the manufacturing sector continuing to play a pivotal role in ensuring that South Africa achieves higher rates of economic growth that we need. Unilever has been a critical part of the process and we look forward to it continuing to play a role in ensuring that South Africa becomes an even more globally competitive manufacturing location, especially through increased investment in modern plant and energy efficiency, as well as skills development” he added.

Indonsa is a global first for the group in terms of advancing its focus on advanced sustainable “green” technology. It is Unilever’s second largest plant in the world and its 5th plant in South Africa. Globally Unilever operates 250 plants selling about 170 billion products in 180 countries annually.

The global Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) and local chapter, aim to reduce the environmental impact of its entire products by 50%, source 100% of its agricultural raw materials sustainably, and assist a billion people to improve their wellbeing and general health. Indonsa is an example of the USLP delivered in practice.

“The advanced technology in operation at Indonsa sets new global standards in responsible and sustainable dry food production. It embodies our resolve to simultaneously improve the lives of people and to entrench respect for the environment,” said chairman for Unilever South Africa, Marijn van Tiggelen.

He added that Unilever viewed sustainability as a strategic economic and business imperative and vital element of its vision. “For us sustainability now implies responsibility, integrity and moral obligation,” he said. In line with this, the group plans to redress the needs and priorities of South Africa, while contributing to its global targets through its operations and brands.

According to Unilever’s chief supply chain officer, Pier-Luigi Sigismondi, the group aims to globally reduce CO2 emissions from manufacturing and logistics by over 40% by 2020 from its 1995 baseline, at a rate of almost 5% a year.

“It is imperative for Unilever to respond positively to growing global demand for sustainably sourced products. We will continuously reduce our impact across the entire lifecycle of our products and intensify the advancement of new technologies such as used here at Indonsa to achieve our global sustainability objectives,” Sigismondi said.

Carbon reduction is achieved by using energy efficiently controlled zoned lighting throughout the plant, while innovative insulation methods reduce heat loads from the sun to minimise air conditioning requirements.

Super-efficient motors drive mixers and air compressors, reducing energy requirement levels substantially.

Rain falling on the 22 000 square meter roof is channelled into a 1,5 million litre tank, treated and added to recycled water. The application of smart water efficiency technology virtually eliminates municipal supply, enabling the recovery of 70% of all water used in production phases.

Other examples of water saving include capturing and treating condensate from air-conditioning, and using it to clean toilets. All process and shower water is recycled via biological and reverse osmosis treatment.

Indonsa’s solid waste is recycled to levels where nothing goes to landfill. This achieved by using recoverable packaging materials. Product waste will be designated for composting in local gardens that support poor communities, while excess is converted by a waste energy plant and the resultant energy is fed back into the national energy grid.

Unilever directly employs 2 700 people full time in South Africa. Head office is in Durban with manufacturing plants in Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Boksburg. It currently has a level 6 BBBEE rating and in 2011 was ranked as one of the country’s best employers, best FMCG employer and best large sized employer. For further information, visit: www.unilever.co.za(Link opens in a new window)

Safe Harbour

This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including ‘forward-looking statements’ within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as ‘expects’, ‘anticipates’, ‘intends’, ‘believes’ or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results, and their negatives, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Group. They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance. Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including, among others, competitive pricing and activities, economic slowdown, industry consolidation, access to credit markets, recruitment levels, reputational risks, commodity prices, continued availability of raw materials, prioritisation of projects, consumption levels, costs, the ability to maintain and manage key customer relationships and supply chain sources, consumer demands, currency values, interest rates, the ability to integrate acquisitions and complete planned divestitures, the ability to complete planned restructuring activities, physical risks, environmental risks, the ability to manage regulatory, tax and legal matters and resolve pending matters within current estimates, legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments, political, economic and social conditions in the geographic markets where the Group operates and new or changed priorities of the Boards. Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group’s filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Group’s Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2010. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this document. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Group’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

Unilever PLC

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EC4Y 0DY

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Unilever NV

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www.unilever.nl(Link opens in a new window)

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mediarelations.rotterdam@unilever.com

South Africa

Elizabeth Pretorius
Communications Director
Unilever

+27 31 570 3711

South Africa

Sidwell Medupe
Departmental Spokesperson
Department of Trade and Industry
Unilever
Mobile: 079 492 1774

+27 12 394 1650
MSMedupe@thedti.gov.za

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