Unilever factories and logistics reduce CO2 by 1 million tonnes

London/ Rotterdam, 15 April 2013 - Unilever today announced that since 2008 the company has achieved a CO2 reduction of more than one million tonnes from its manufacturing and logistics operations. This is equivalent to taking 250,000 cars off the road.

Lorry reversing into Unilever loading bay

This milestone was achieved while growing sales by 26% from €40.5 billion in 2008 to €51.3 billion in 2012. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a key target within the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, the second-year progress on which will be published on 22 April.

John Maguire, Unilever’s Group Manufacturing Sustainability Director said: “CO2 emissions and climate change continue to present businesses with significant challenges. But, they also offer opportunities. Our primary focus is to reduce overall energy use by improving the eco-efficiency of everything we do in our factories, offices and other operations.

"We leverage our global scale by selecting ideas that have the best financial and eco-efficiency payback and then implement them globally. We are also committed to ensuring as much as possible of the energy we use comes from sustainable sources, for example 100% of the electrical energy we buy in Europe and North America comes from renewable sources.”

“Eco-efficiency isn’t just about reducing the environmental footprint it also makes good business sense. Since 2008 our eco-efficiency programmes have avoided more than €300 million of costs. Almost €100 million in energy; €186 million in materials; €17 million in water; and €10 million in waste disposal. The benefits are very clear in a world where energy prices are increasing”, Maguire adds.

Game changers

The one million tonnes CO2 reduction is a combination of 838,000 tonnes CO2 achieved from improvements in manufacturing activities and 211,000 tonnes CO2 reduction from making global logistics operations more efficient. Unilever is continuously improving eco-efficiency in manufacturing and logistics. Below some examples of game changers in 2012:

  • Cost efficient renewable energy from biomass boilers have the double benefit of reducing bio-waste and helping the company to reach its 40% renewable energy target. Unilever now has 30 biomass boilers globally supplying more than 7% of our renewable energy, with six more planned for this year in Latin America, Africa and Asia;

  • Combined Heat and Power plant (CHP) is another technology that not only helps Unilever to save money through reduced energy costs, but also to achieve a reduction in CO2 emissions. In Europe, using CHP has helped to reduce CO2 by 50,000 tonnes and save €10 million. In 2013, Unilever is planning to install CHP units in Mexico and South Africa;

  • Unilever is also maximising transport efficiencies through the creation of the UltraLogistik control tower in Katowice (Poland). The control tower model enables more efficient coordination of thousands of transport movements across road, rail, sea and air of Unilever products reducing CO2 and improving customer service. Last but not least it also saved the company €50 million in costs since 2008.
    As part of the UltraLogistik transport network Unilever is creating regional distribution hubs. These will improve operational efficiency and reduce distance travelled by 175 million km in Europe alone. This benefit was a key factor for Unilever being awarded a Marco Polo grant of €5.7million to invest and develop sustainable transport of goods across Europe. The UltraLogistik model is now being rolled out globally.

This announcement follows the progress in sustainable sourcing with now over 1/3 of all agricultural raw materials being sourced sustainably. In January, Unilever announced that 133 of Unilever’s manufacturing sites achieved zero non-hazardous waste to landfill by end 2012.


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Unilever NV

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Flip Dötsch


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This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including 'forward-looking statements' within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as 'will', 'aim', 'expects', 'anticipates', 'intends', 'believes', 'vision', or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results, and their negatives, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Group. They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance.

Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Among other risks and uncertainties, the material or principal factors which could cause actual results to differ materially are; Unilever's global brands not meeting consumer preferences; increasing competitive pressures; Unilever's investment choices in its portfolio management; finding sustainable solutions to support long-term growth; customer relationships; the recruitment and retention of talented employees; disruptions in our supply chain; the cost of raw materials and commodities; secure and reliable IT infrastructure; successful execution of acquisitions, divestitures and business transformation projects; economic and political risks and national disasters; the sovereign debt crisis in Europe; financial risks; and failure to meet high product safety and ethical standards; managing regulatory, tax and legal matters. Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group's filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Group's Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2011 and the Annual Report and Accounts 2011. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Group's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

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