Skip to content

Doing good, busting myths. How sustainable living brands drive growth


With more than 60% of our growth last year coming from our Sustainable Living Brands, it’s increasingly clear that consumers love brands with a powerful purpose.

Indonesian children washing with Lifebuoy

Consumers say they want their products to make a difference to the world, but does that translate to them buying brands with purpose?

Research – and our results – suggest the answer is ‘yes’.

In 2016, more than 60% of our growth came from what we call Sustainable Living Brands, and they grew 50% faster than the rest of our business. These brands are at the heart of our Sustainable Living Plan (USLP). Check out our latest progress report (PDF 3.3 MB)to see how we’re getting on against targets.

In the meantime, to whet your appetite, here are some things you may not know about the brands that are making a massive contribution to our business and to society.

This is not a niche for us or our consumers

Some of our biggest household names are Sustainable Living Brands. In fact, 18 of our top 40 are in this group, from Knorr to Dove, Dirt is Good to Hellmann's, Lipton to Rexona.

And consumers like them. According to a recent survey, a third of people are buying brands with sustainability in mind, and another 21% are on the verge of doing so. Importantly, this isn’t confined to a single group or the preserve of millennials. It’s across the board. What’s more, the sentiment is strongest in developing markets, from where we get almost 60% of our business.

More than 60% of our growth in 2016 was driven by our Sustainable Living Brands

The rewards are potentially huge

Sustainable Living Brands combine a powerful purpose with products that contribute to at least one of our USLP goals. And the size of the prize could be huge. Not just for people and the planet, but for our brands too. The sustainable consumer goods market could be worth more than US$2.5 trillion.

Woman washing her clothes with Sunlight
Some of Unilever product's being displayed

The impact is big...and getting bigger

Since we began classifying Sustainable Living Brands in 2014, their contribution to our growth has been building. Rapidly. In 2015, they accounted for an impressive 46%. In 2016, that figure jumped to an even more impressive 60%.

Value and values

Our brands are making a real difference, to the environment and to millions of people in our value chain. Connecting consumers to that sense of purpose helps brands grow sales and market share.

Read more about our progress against our USLP ambitions (PDF 3.3 MB), through brands like Vaseline, Hellmann's and Dove.

Back to top