Unilever and peers mobilise a movement for change on waste
London/Rotterdam, Following its recent achievement of sending zero waste to landfill across its entire factory network, Unilever has today [Thursday] brought together over 100 representatives from academia, NGOs and sector companies including Mars, GSK and Sainsbury's to create a movement for change on zero waste.
Every year, an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of solid waste is collected worldwide. This is expected to increase to 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025, with almost all of the increase from developing countries. So the need for action is clear.
In January 2015, Unilever reached a significant milestone of sending zero non-hazardous waste to landfill across all global factories. Believed to be a first at this scale, more than 240 industrial sites in 67 countries making products for brands such as Magnum, Knorr, Dove and Domestos have now eliminated landfill waste.
The event today is an opportunity for Unilever to cascade its learnings but also to create an open discussion for what is next. Companies attending the event titled, 'The zero waste mindset - new ways of thinking to deliver transformational change', include Coca-Cola Enterprises, PwC, Sainsbury's, Mars, and GSK. Speakers include Chief Supply Chain Officer at Unilever, Pier Luigi Sigismondi, mountaineer, Dave Bunting MBE, on the power of disruptive thinking and CEO of Holcim, Bernard Fontana, on the power of partnerships.
Chief Supply Chain Officer, Pier Luigi Sigismondi, said:
"The scale of the problem is clear and although we are very pleased with our achievement, we realise it is a drop in the ocean. The real change is yet to come. We know from our experience of delivering zero waste to landfill in our factories that we will not succeed in driving systematic change unless we can find ways to first of all personally connect with the issue and then commit to doing more and doing it quickly."
Some examples of Unilever's collaborative approach on waste include:
- Sonoco is one of Unilever's key suppliers for bottles and provides a waste management service in North America. The relationship between the two companies includes exchanging best practices, such as waste avoidance and treatment methods for personal care, ice cream and spreads manufacturing sites, spanning different countries. The partnership means that waste is pushed up the hierarchy rather than converting waste to energy. Sonoco is also providing Unilever with innovation by providing reusable packaging for the Country Crock brand in the US.
- Holcim, the global building materials company, uses waste from Unilever's manufacturing process in its cement. The cement industry is responsible for six per cent of global CO2 emissions and has traditionally relied heavily on fossil fuels to generate electricity for their operations. Unilever now sends its residual waste which it can't find a recycling route for to Holcim who use it as an alternative, and cleaner, fuel.
- In Mangalore, India, the green team has created its own compost to grow vegetables like pumpkins, green chillies and lemons. The excess compost is used by the wider community and distributed to the local orphanage and homeless shelters.
- Some of Unilever's Partner to Win suppliers were also there to learn about zero waste. The Partner to Win programme, means that Unilever has gone from transactional to strategic relationships with suppliers to create long term business plans for growth.
The event was in partnership with 2Degrees, the leading collaboration platform and service for sustainable business with over 48,300 members from 177 countries. 2Degrees have also featured Unilever's zero waste programme on their global collaboration map.
Media Enquiries: Please contact Louise Phillips (firstname.lastname@example.org / +447825 049 151)
100 Victoria Embankment
London EC4Y 0DY
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.