Safe and sustainable by design

How we build safety and environmental sustainability into every product innovation

Safety and sustainability process flow

We ensure that our product innovations are safe for consumers and workers and better for the environment.

Our scientists work with teams across Unilever, particularly those in R&D, at every stage of a product’s ‘life’: from discovering and designing new concepts and products to their ultimate use and disposal by consumers. Understanding each stage gives our scientists the information needed to provide essential safety and environmental sustainability guidance and expert scientific evidence at every crucial point.

Q. What is the value of SEAC scientists working closely with R&D?

A. Working closely with our R&D scientists allows SEAC to clearly understand which ingredients are being considered for a new product, as well as any manufacturing processes that will be used to make it. The R&D teams also share their insights of how the product will be used by consumers. These are all fundamental pieces of information that SEAC’s experts consider when completing a thorough assessment of the safety risks and environmental impacts of a product.

Q. What is the benefit of involving SEAC scientists from the start of a product’s life?

“By being involved from the very beginning SEAC scientists help to design safety and sustainability into Unilever’s product innovations at every stage.”

A. By being involved from the very beginning SEAC scientists help to design safety and sustainability into Unilever’s product innovations at every stage. This enables us to create products and manufacturing processes that are safe and sustainable by design.

This means new products and processes are always designed to ensure that Unilever supplies products that are safe for our consumers to use, for our workers to make and for the environment.

It also enables us to support Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), for example, by identifying how Unilever can minimise the environmental impacts of our products and manufacturing processes, notably in regard to energy, water and waste across their life cycle.

Case study: Closing the lid on germs

New Domestos Atomizer is a perfect illustration of how we design in safety and sustainability.

The new product, which attaches to the underside of the toilet lid, automatically sprays and sanitises the entire toilet bowl every time the lid is closed. The innovation – and its bespoke package labelling and instructions – drew on a cross-section of SEAC scientists. The team included analysts who measured potential lung exposure to spray products, toxicologists who assessed any safety risks of the spray being inhaled or getting on skin or in eyes, and scientists who assessed the physical hazards (features of the product beyond the formulation that could cause harm) and the environmental sustainability of the device itself.

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