Good progress against sustainability targets

Unilever is making good progress against its Unilever Sustainable Living Plan targets and intends to expand its sustainable living ambition to bring about broader change on a global scale.

Driving growth and change

Addressing around one hundred senior sustainability experts at the ‘Making Progress, Driving Change’ event on 28 April in London, CEO Paul Polman said, “In the three years since we launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan we have learned that sustainability drives business growth and a much deeper connection with our employees and consumers.”

We made good progress in 2013, particularly against targets within our direct control, including:

  • 48% of agricultural raw materials are now from sustainable sources, up from 14% in 2010.

  • We helped 303 million people improve their health and well-being through Lifebuoy, Signal, Pureit and Dove brands, up from 52 million in 2010.

  • The majority of our foods and beverages meet nationally recognised nutritional standards and 31% meet the highest nutritional standards, based on globally recognised dietary guidelines.

  • We helped and trained over 570,000 smallholder farmers and increased the number of Shakti women micro-entrepreneurs in India that we employ from 48,000 in 2012 to 65,000 in 2013.

Stepping up our efforts

While we will continue to focus our scale, influence, expertise and resources on making a fundamental change to entire systems, not just incremental improvements, there is more to do.

“We have always recognised the bigger role that businesses need to play, and now is the moment for Unilever to step up and expand efforts in key areas, driving transformational change where we know we can make the biggest impact,” Paul explained.

We will be stepping up our plans to tackle several major global sustainability challenges, including:

  • Helping to combat climate change by working to eliminate deforestation, which accounts for up to 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Improving food security by championing sustainable agriculture, and improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers who produce 80% of the food in Asia and Sub-saharan Africa.

  • Improving health and well-being by helping more than a billion people gain access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation and good hygiene habits.

And in the area of social compliance, the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan has now been expanded to include a more substantive Enhancing Livelihoods programme, focusing on:

  • Fairness in the workplace

  • Opportunities for women

  • Developing inclusive business.

“In this way we will leverage our scale and work collaboratively in partnership with others to reach a tipping point in areas that will make a significant difference,” concluded Paul.

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