Nine ways we made a difference in 2015

We’re not just in the business of doing business. Through our Sustainable Living Plan we are proving that sustainability can drive business growth, empower people, protect our planet and reduce poverty.

2015 has been another fantastic year, and there have been many successes to share. Here are our top stories of 2015…

1: We reached zero waste to landfill across our factory network and celebrated with the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra

Girl playing violin

“Reaching this landmark is the result of a huge mindset shift throughout our organisation. Thousands of employees from across the business have developed some really innovative solutions to eliminating waste.” – Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Chief Supply Chain Officer

Read more here: Zero waste

2: We committed to empowering women in developing countries through giving them access to clean water and unlocking their time

Womann carrying water on head

“The private sector can – and should – make a huge contribution to development issues. In this case that is giving time back for girls to finish school, time for women to earn a living, time for everyone to reach their full potential.” – Hanneke Willenborg, Sunlight, Unilever VP, Global Dishwash

Read more here: Improving water access to empower women

3: With WWF we pledged to protect 1 million trees

The Walking Tree

“Forests are second only to the oceans as the largest global store of carbon and support 80% of terrestrial biodiversity across the globe.” – Paul Polman, CEO

Watch the film and make your pledge here: WWF and Unilever announce partnership to protect a million tress

4: We saw consumers back our sustainable living brands with their wallets

A bar of Lifebuoy soap

“Consumers are increasingly demanding responsible business and responsible brands. Our experience is that brands whose purpose and products respond to that demand – ‘sustainable living brands’ – are delivering stronger and faster growth. These brands accounted for half the company’s growth in 2014, and grew at twice the rate of the rest of the business.” – Paul Polman, CEO

Read more here: Sustainable living brands delivering business growth

5: We scaled up our Disaster and Emergency Response for Syria and saw first hand how our partner, Save the Children, is helping refugees

Young Syrian refugees

“If people who have been living in a refugee camp for four years can be positive and dream big, why should I be any different?” – Unilever Foundation Ambassador Mohsin Zaheer

Read more here: Unilever voices - Mohsin Zaheer

6: We announced first-of-its-kind human rights report

Unilever R&D employees in the lab

“Our ambition is to embed the promotion of human rights into every function, every role, and every corner of our organisation... We have a long way to go and we cannot do this alone – but being honest about the challenge we face is crucial to making progress.” – Marcela Manubens, Global VP, Social Impact

Read more about our human rights reporting here: Unilever releases first-of-its-kind human rights report

7: We shared our revolutionary compressed deodorant technology to reduce aluminium waste and the industry’s carbon footprint by 25%

Science behind deos

“There are three billion aerosol deodorants sold every year worldwide. If they were all compressed, we could save 21,000 tonnes of aluminium – enough to build 10 million bicycles!” – Alan Palmer, Vice President of Research and Development for Deodorants

Read more here: Unilever invites competitors to use emissions-saving compressed deos technology

8: We gave our backing to the UN’s Global Goals

Paul Polman infront of a crowd

“There’s no business case for enduring poverty. Not that I know of. No business case for starving our planet of the resources needed for future generations. No business model that succeeds by perpetuating the old, flawed way of doing things.” Paul Polman, CEO

Read more here: Paul Polman speech to the Global Citizen Festival

9: We planned our farewell to fossil fuels and pledged our support for COP21

Carbon Positive Kids

“Unilever will be ‘carbon positive’ by 2030, eliminating fossil fuels from our business and directly supporting the generation of more renewable energy than we consume. Let’s make future generations proud of what we’ve achieved.” Paul Polman, CEO

Read more here: Unilever to become ‘carbon positive’ by 2030

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