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Sustainable Living

How and why we're making Sustainable Living Commonplace

Our purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace. We are developing new business practices that grow both our company and communities, meeting people's desire for more sustainable products and creating a brighter future. The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan will help us double the size of our business while reducing our environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact. And we're working in partnerships where we can help change things on a global scale: deforestation and climate change; water, sanitation and hygiene; and sustainable agriculture and smallholder farmers.

The world is changing climate change is here

Temperatures are rising

Water Shortages are more frequent

Food Supplies are increasingly scarce

Populations are growing fast

Making basic hygiene and sanitation even more of a challenge

And stretching the planet's resources further still

Yolanda Kakabadse President WWF International

At Unilever we can see how people the world over are already affected by these changes

And the changes will pose new challenges for us too, as commodity costs fluctuate, markets become unstable and raw materials harder to source.

There is no 'business as usual' anymore. The old economic systems are no longer fit for purpose.

With products used by millions of people, we have an enormous opportunity to create change and are developing a new sustainable business model. A model in which:

Workplace rights and opportunities are improved and women get a fair deal

People's health & well-being are a priority

All agricultural raw materials come from sustainable sources

The Environment is Safeguarded for future generations

In 2010 we launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan which will help us double the size of our business while reducing our environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact.

We have set three big goals.
By 2020 we will:

Improve the health and well-being of more than a billion people

Halve

Halve

The environmental impact of our products

Enhance the livelihoods of millions working across our value chain

By driving sustainability into every corner of our business the plan is opening up new opportunities and driving growth

Brands

More and more people are choosing brands with a social purpose, such as Dove and Lifebuoy.

Innovation

As consumers' needs change, we're concentrating on innovations such as laundry products that use less water.

Supply Chain

We are making our supply chain more secure by working with smallholder farmers to improve farming practices and livelihoods.

Promoting Sustainable Living

Through our brands we are also encouraging people to make smarter shopping choices and take sustainable actions at home.

Partnerships also give us the potential to change things on a global scale

There are three big issues we're working on with others

Tackling deforestation & climate change

Improving sanitation, hygiene & access to water

Championing sustainable agriculture & smallholder farmers

We are at a turning point in history

A point where we all need to change for human life on the planet to continue to prosper

The world needs a new business model with sustainability at its heart

Only the businesses that grasp this will survive

Only those who grow sustainably will thrive

There has never been a better time to create a brighter future

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The world is changing. Climate change is here.

Populations are growing fast, making basic hygiene and sanitation even more of a challenge and stretching the planet's resources further still.

At Unilever we can see how people the world over are already affected by these changes. And the changes will pose new challenges for us too, as commodity costs fluctuate, markets become unstable and raw materials harder to source.

There is no 'business as usual' anymore. The old economic systems are no longer fit for purpose.

With products used by millions of people, we have an enormous opportunity to create change and are developing a new sustainable business model. A model in which:

In 2010 we launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan which will help us double the size of our business while reducing our environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact. We have set three big goals. By 2020 we will:

By driving sustainability into every corner of our business, the Plan is opening up new opportunities and driving growth:

Through our brands and Project Sunlight we are also encouraging people everywhere to make smarter shopping choices and take sustainable actions at home.

Partnerships also give us the potential to change things on a global scale. There are three big issues we're working on with others:

We are at a turning point in history, a point when change is needed for the sake of all life on the planet.

The world needs a new business model with sustainability at its heart.

Only the businesses that grasp this will survive. Only those who grow sustainably will thrive.

There has never been a better time to create a brighter future.

News

Farmers growing sustainable tomatoes for Knorr

Latest stories and videos showing what we are doing to make sustainable living commonplace.

Join in

Shruti N.K, Bright Future Speeches activist from India.

Get involved and help us create a brighter future for millions of people around the world.

What matters to you

Man reading the label on a Knorr stock pot

Sometimes we are asked specific questions about our business. Here we address some of the topics that matter most to you.

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is our blueprint for achieving our vision to double the size of the business, whilst reducing our environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact.

The Plan sets stretching targets to achieve by 2020 and includes how we source raw materials and how consumers use our brands. The scale of our ambition means that we are finding new ways to partner with others in business, government and society.

Faced with the challenge of climate change and the need for human development, we want to move towards a world where everyone can live well and within the natural limits of the planet. That’s why our purpose is ‘to make sustainable living commonplace’.

Find out more about Our strategy for sustainable business

Improving Health
and Well-being

By 2020 we will help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being.Read more about our big goal
  1. Health & hygiene

    By 2020 we will help more than a billion people to improve their health and hygiene. This will help reduce the incidence of life-threatening diseases like diarrhoea.

    • 397 million people reached by end 2014
    • Reduce diarrhoea and respiratory disease through handwashing
    • Provide safe drinking water
    • Improve access to sanitation
    • Improve oral health
    • Improve self-esteem
    Find out more
  2. Improving nutrition

    We will continually work to improve the taste and nutritional quality of all our products. The majority of our products meet, or are better than, benchmarks based on national nutritional recommendations. Our commitment goes further: by 2020, we will double the proportion of our portfolio that meets the highest nutritional standards, based on globally recognised dietary guidelines. This will help hundreds of millions of people to achieve a healthier diet.

    • 33% of our portfolio by volume met highest nutritional standards in 2014
    • Reduce salt levels
    • Saturated fat:
    • Reduce saturated fat
    • Increase essential fatty acids
    • Reduce saturated fat in more products
    • Improve heart health
    • Remove trans fat
    • Reduce sugar
    • Reduce calories:
    • In children’s ice cream
    • In more ice cream products
    • Provide healthy eating information
    Find out more

Reducing Environmental
Impact

By 2020 our goal is to halve the environmental footprint of the making and use of our products as we grow our business.*Read more about our big goal
  1. Greenhouse gases

    Our products’ lifecycle:
    Halve the greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of our products across the lifecycle by 2020.

    Our manufacturing:
    By 2020 CO2 emissions from energy from our factories will be at or below 2008 levels despite significantly higher volumes.

    • 4% - our greenhouse gas impact per consumer use has increased by around 4% since 2010*
    • 37% reduction of CO2 from energy per tonne of production since 2008
    • Reduce GHG from manufacturing:
    • Renewable energy
    • New factories
    • Reduce GHG from skin cleansing and hair washing
    • Reduce GHG from washing clothes:
    • Concentration
    • Reformulation
    • Consumer behaviour
    • Reduce GHG from transport
    • Reduce GHG from refrigeration
    • Reduce energy consumption in our offices
    • Reduce employee travel
    Find out more
  2. Water

    Our products in use:
    Halve the water associated with the consumer use of our products by 2020.+

    Our manufacturing:
    By 2020 water abstraction by our global factory network will be at or below 2008 levels despite significantly higher volumes.

    • 2% - our water impact per consumer use has reduced by around 2% since 2010*
    • 32% reduction in water abstraction per tonne of production since 2008
    • Reduce water use in manufacturing process:
    • New factories
    • Reduce water use in the laundry process:
    • Easy rinse products
    • Products that use less water
    • Reduce water use in skin cleansing and hair washing
    • Reduce water use in agriculture
    Find out more
  3. Waste

    Our products:
    Halve the waste associated with the disposal of our products by 2020.

    Our manufacturing:
    By 2020 total waste sent for disposal will be at or below 2008 levels despite significantly higher volumes.

    • 12% - our waste impact per consumer use has reduced by around 12% since 2010*
    • 85% reduction in total waste per tonne of production since 2008
    • Reduce waste from manufacturing:
    • Zero non-hazardous waste to landfill
    • New factories
    • Reduce packaging
    • Recycle packaging:
    • Increase recycling and recovery rates
    • Increase recycled content
    • Reuse packaging
    • Tackle sachet waste
    • Eliminate PVC
    • Reduce office waste:
    • Recycle, reuse, recover
    • Reduce paper consumption
    • Eliminate paper in processes
    Find out more
  4. Sustainable sourcing

    By 2020 we will source 100% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably.

    • 55% of agricultural raw materials sustainably sourced by end 2014
    • Palm oil: sustainable
    • Palm oil: traceable
    • Paper and board
    • Soy beans and soy oil
    • Tea
    • Fruit
    • Vegetables
    • Cocoa
    • Sugar
    • Sunflower oil
    • Rapeseed oil
    • Dairy
    • Fairtrade Ben & Jerry's
    • Cage-free eggs
    • Increase sustainable sourcing of office materials
    Find out more

Enhancing
Livelihoods

By 2020 we will enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business. Read more about our big goal
  1. Fairness in the workplace

    By 2020 we will advance human rights across our operations and extended supply chain.

    • 85% of our strategic suppliers met our Responsible Sourcing Policy’s mandatory criteria by March 2015, covering around 80% of our spend
    • Implement UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
    • Source 100% of procurement spend in line with our Responsible Sourcing Policy
    • Create a framework for fair compensation
    • Improve employee health, nutrition and well-being
    • Reduce workplace injuries and accidents
    Find out more
  2. Opportunities for women

    By 2020 we will empower 5 million women.

    • 238,000 women provided with access to training and skills, including 70,000 Shakti microentrepreneurs trained in India
    • Build a gender-balanced organisation with a focus on management
    • Promote safety for women in communities where we operate
    • Enhance access to training and skills
    • Expand opportunities in our value chain
    Find out more
  3. Inclusive business

    By 2020 we will have a positive impact on the lives of 5.5 million people.

    • 800,000 smallholder farmers gained access to training and support via partnerships with our agricultural suppliers and other partners
    • Improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers
    • Improve incomes of small-scale retailers
    • Increase participation of young entrepreneurs in our value chain
    Find out more

Key

  • Achieved
  • On-plan
  • Off-plan
  • Of target achieved
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