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COP28: Why we’re calling for urgent climate action

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The world isn’t reducing emissions quickly enough to meet global targets and avoid climate breakdown. Unilever is calling on governments attending COP28 to urgently increase ambition and accelerate action, so we can go further, faster in the race to net zero.

A green flag bearing the logo for COP 28 flutters in a clear blue sky.

COP28 will be a critical moment. This year’s UN Climate Change conference, taking place in Dubai, will bring together world leaders to review the first-ever global climate stocktake. The stocktake evaluates global progress on reducing emissions and identifies the gaps that must be addressed to deliver the Paris Agreement.

Businesses have a key role to play in the push to lower emissions. It’s the right thing to do and will help us stay competitive in the future. Unilever is committed to achieving net zero emissions across our value chain by 2039 and we’re working hard to make progress, but we want to go further, faster. We cannot easily do that without government action.

Along with other businesses around the world, we are facing challenges to our efforts to reduce emissions that could be overcome with changes to national policies. That’s why we’re going to COP28 and calling for measures that will help us reduce our footprint while also protecting people and planet.

At COP28, Unilever will be asking governments to increase their ambition in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, and to:

  1. Triple renewable electricity capacity by 2030

    Wind turbines generating renewable energy.

    We’re already sourcing 93% renewable electricity across our global operations but we need policy change to help us meet our target of 100% renewable energy by 2030 and to give our suppliers access to renewable energy so they can decarbonise their own operations too.

  2. Protect and regenerate land, forests and oceans

    Image showcasing sustainable energy.

    We’re committed to helping protect and regenerate 1.5 million hectares of land, forests and oceans by 2030. This includes managing a deforestation-free supply chain for our key commodities: palm oil, paper and board, tea, soy and cocoa. We need governments to provide additional funding for nature; eliminate subsidies that support activities that harm biodiversity; and create policies that align with the Global Biodiversity Framework.

  3. Incentivise investment in regenerative agriculture

    Tracker shown in a large area of land.

    Food transformation will be a critical topic of discussion at COP28 and is a major area of focus for Unilever. We recently published a report showing the positive impacts of our first regenerative agricultural projects, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This kind of agriculture requires farmers to be incentivised and financially supported to enable a transition at scale.

  4. Support low-carbon feedstocks as alternatives to fossil-fuel-based chemicals

    View of the inside of the drum of a washing machine showing a pile of brightly coloured clothes.

    We’re engaging chemicals suppliers on climate action to help accelerate emissions reductions in our Home Care supply chain. Recent research makes a strong case for national strategies which will help companies move away from fossil-fuel-based chemicals to bio-based alternatives.

Driving climate action for people, planet and business

To limit global warming to 1.5°C and protect lives and livelihoods, science has shown we must halve emissions by 2030. With so much at stake and only seven years to go, it’s crucial that progressive business voices speak up now.

“We’ve been working hard to understand the key levers for reducing our carbon footprint, and are now engaging suppliers and brands to accelerate emissions reduction,” says Rebecca Marmot, Unilever’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “But we also need governments to create the enabling environment for change through policies that support a sustainable future. This will help us move further, faster towards achieving net zero by 2039.”

We want to make sustainable living commonplace. As a global company, we are already witnessing the impacts of our changing climate in every country we work in, from the elevated cost of raw materials to water insecurity, which also affects both local communities and suppliers. We are no longer dealing with the future prospect of climate change – we are facing the growing reality of climate breakdown. Thankfully there is still a chance to limit the damage if we work together.

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