Ten years ago we set out on a journey to become the world’s most sustainable business. As we celebrate a decade of our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, we're reflecting on what we've learnt and what comes next.
One of the three big goals of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan was to improve health and wellbeing for more than 1 billion people, part of which was about continually working to improve the taste and nutritional quality of our products.
As Knorr is our largest food brand, it had a major role to play in achieving that goal.
While Knorr has worked closely with farmers for 183 years, for the last decade it has been striving to make a positive change right across the food system – from the way food is grown to the way it’s consumed.
Sustainable agriculture and farming
In 2010, Unilever began rolling out the Sustainable Agriculture Code and in 2011 we set up the Knorr Partnership Fund, which supports sustainable farming projects that improve soil health, water use and biodiversity.
As Giulia Stellari, Global Sustainable Sourcing Development Director, says: “The problems in farming are inherently local and they must be addressed in the context where they happen. That means you need to upskill your farmer and understand what it is that will make a difference.”
As from 2019, 95% of all herbs and vegetables used in Knorr products worldwide have been sustainably sourced.
Improving the nutritional value of our products
With a high percentage of the world’s population consuming too much salt, sugar and saturated fat, we needed to reformulate our products to enable people to eat better.
Improving the nutritional quality of our products is a challenge, but we’ve made great strides. In fact, we’re on track for 70% of our portfolio to meet the Highest Nutritional Standards – a benchmark based on World Health Organization recommendations – by the end of 2022.
We have made great strides and we have more to do.
Helping consumers make better choices
To feed the world’s growing population sustainably, there needs to be a shift in the types of food we eat.
So we set out, together with partners, to create programmes that enable and inspire people all over the world to eat foods that are better for them and for the land, while being affordable and tasting great.
For example, our Green Food Steps programme in Nigeria, Lutong Nanay in the Philippines and our Nutri Menu programme in Indonesia help millions of consumers eat in a way that’s better for them and better for the land. In the UK, the Cheat on Meat programme has delicious, easy-to-make plant-based recipes, and our ‘Eat more Vegetables’ campaign has encouraged people in the Netherlands to eat an additional 5,000 tonnes of vegetables. We’re scaling up these programmes to reach more consumers.
The Future 50 Foods: an industry-leading collaboration
We recognise that there’s still a lot to do and we won’t be able to do it alone. We’re going to need partnerships to make all changes we need to see.
A great example is how we teamed up with WWF-UK – along with leading scientists, nutritionists and agricultural experts – to compile the Future 50 Foods report. This features 50 plant-based ingredients selected based on their nutritional value and relative impact on the environment.
“We’ve come a long way in ten years,” says April Redmond, Global Brand VP, Knorr, “but what we’ve built is only the beginning. We want to reinvent food for humanity.
“We aim to help 2 billion people eat in a way that is better for them and better for the land by 2025. It’s hugely ambitious but we’ve got the scale, the expertise, the partners and the will to do it.”
How a day to raise awareness became a practical, replicable behavioural change programme reaching 28 million people with clean, safe toilets.
A decade ago, the soap brand set out to make handwashing with soap a habit for more than 1 billion people by 2020. Here’s how it reached that goal, and why it’s still committed to making an even bigger impact in the years to come.