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2010 – 2020 – The birth of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan

2010 - What happened in the 2010s?

Young girls washing their hands

In the face of climate change, instability and unprecedented economic and environmental uncertainty, Unilever recognises a turning point in history. The launch of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan outlines our strategy to decouple growth from our environmental impact, while increasing our positive social impact. The Plan is welcomed by independent commentators as one of the most ambitious sustainability plans ever created by an international corporation. 'Sustainable living brands' grow twice as fast as our other brands and start to represent half of our growth.

2010 - Unilever launches the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

A farmer in a field

Unilever launches the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, our blueprint for a sustainable business model. The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan sets out hundreds of targets and commitments which fall under three key goals: to help more than a billion people improve their health and wellbeing, to halve the environmental impact of the making and use of our products and to enhance the livelihoods of thousands of people in our supply chain. Today the Plan continues to evolve, driving growth in our business while harnessing our reach and expertise to create change in the world.

2010 - Unilever enhances Personal Care portfolio

TRESemme models

Alberto Culver shareholders vote in favour of our acquisition of the company, bringing personal care brands such as TRESemmé, Alberto VO5, Nexxus, St. Ives and Simple into the Unilever portfolio.

2011 - Unilever takes action at the World Economic Forum

A vanilla farmer

Unilever backs an industry-wide move towards supporting sustainable agriculture at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

2012 - The 14 billion-euro brands boost business growth

A woman walking up a supermarket aisle

Unilever's turnover exceeds €50 billion, with all regions and categories contributing to growth. By 2012 we have 14 brands each with sales of more than €1 billion a year.

2012 - Progress towards Unilever Sustainable Living Plan targets continues

A woman with a bucket on her head

In 2012, progress towards USLP targets is reported, with more than a third of agricultural raw materials sourced sustainably and more than 50% of factories achieving the goal of sending no waste to landfill. We reach 224 million people through programmes to reduce diarrhoeal disease by handwashing with soap, provide safe drinking water, promote oral health and improve young people's self-esteem.

2013 - Unilever is recognised for initiatives on opportunities for women

A group of female Unilever employees

Unilever is named as a winner of the prestigious 2013 Catalyst Award for our initiatives that expand opportunities for women and business. Unilever's initiative, Global Reach with Local Roots: Creating a Gender-Balanced Workforce in Different Cultural Contexts, accelerates the advancement of high-potential women across different regions and leverages the company's strong foundation of cultural diversity and multinational expertise to promote a culture of inclusion.

2013 - Unilever re-enters the market in Myanmar (Burma)

A street scene in Myanmar

The company re-enters the Myanmar market with the launch of full business operations including a new manufacturing facility and new headquarters in Yangon.

2014 - The Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneur Awards seek inspiring young people

A man sitting and smiling

We launch the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneur Awards, an international awards programme designed to inspire young people around the world to tackle environmental, social and health issues.

2014 - Reshaping of our portfolio continues with Talenti and Qinyuan

Tubs of Talenti ice cream

A number of strategic acquisitions are made throughout 2014, including the Talenti super-premium ice cream business in North America and the Qinyuan water purification business in China.

2014 - Unilever's 'sustainable living brands' grow 2x faster

A group of women cooking outside

By 2014, our 'sustainable living brands' - brands which have a sustainable purpose and contribute to one or more of our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan goals - are growing at twice the rate of the rest of the business and making a major contribution to overall growth. These brands have integrated sustainability into the contribution they make to the world and into their products' ingredients and life-cycle.

2015 - Call made for collective action as we announce the USLP is on track

A group of schoolchildren washing their hands

We announce in 'Mobilising Collective Action: USLP Summary of Progress 2015' that we are on track to achieve the majority of our USLP targets and make an unprecedented call for collective action to address the biggest challenges facing the world.

2015 - Unilever achieves zero waste to landfill in factories

Journey to zero waste

In January, we announce that we have achieved our target of sending zero non-hazardous waste to landfill from our entire network of factories. Believed to be a global first for delivering zero waste on this scale, more than 240 factories in 67 countries making products for brands such as Magnum, Knorr, Dove and Domestos have now eliminated landfill waste.

2015 - Unilever supports the launch of the UN Global Goals

Unilever's global goals for sustainable development

In 2015, Unilever contributes to the launch of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and joins global calls for action at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP 21). We identify three areas where we can help deliver real systems change by working in partnership with others in business, civil society, government and NGOs: climate change and deforestation; water, sanitation and hygiene; and sustainable agriculture and food security.

2015 - Positive moves to reduce carbon emissions are made

A wide shot of a number of windmills

In June 2015, Unilever announces a saving of 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions since 2008, a key milestone in the mission to be 'carbon positive' by 2030.

2016 - Zero waste to landfill expands across Unilever sites

A woman placing plastic bottles in a recycling bin

In 2016, Unilever reaches a new industry-leading achievement of sending zero non-hazardous waste to landfill across more than 600 sites in 70 countries, including factories, warehouses, distribution centres and offices. Having identified the different non-hazardous waste streams in our operations, we have now found alternative routes for the waste from these sites. This is achieved through the four 'R' approach of reducing, reusing, recovering or recycling, proving that waste can be seen as a resource with many alternative uses, from converting factory waste to building materials to composting food waste from staff cafeterias.

2017 - Unilever commits to 100% recyclable plastic packaging by 2025

A recycling bank

This year we set ourselves a commitment to ensure that all of our plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and call on the FMCG industry to do the same.

2017 - Unilever brings Simple to Brazil

A bottle of Simple face wash

Beginning in September 2017, Unilever's personal care brand Simple arrives in Brazil.

2017 - Hindustan Unilever Limited is India's most innovative company

A man walking outside a Hindustan Unilever building

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is ranked No 1 in India on the Forbes list of The World's Most Innovative Companies 2017. It is also one of the two Indian companies that feature in the Top 10 in the year's list.

2017 - Unilever accelerates efforts to #unstereotype in advertising

Unstereotype Alliance flag

As a leading advertiser, in 2017, we made a stand to #unstereotype the way men and women are portrayed in marketing and call on the industry to do the same.

2017 - Unilever commits to 100% electric vehicles by 2030

The shape of a car made out of plants

In 2017, we were the first FMCG organisation to join the Climate Group's EV100 global initiative. Its aim is to bring together forward-looking companies committed to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles and making electric transport the 'new normal' by 2030.

2018 - Unilever launches its own brand: Love Beauty and Planet

A collection of Love, Beauty and Planet products

Unilever launched its newest personal care brand in 20 years with Love Beauty and Planet in July. Inspired by Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan, the revolutionary new beauty brand, featuring six hair and skincare product ranges, has sustainability at its heart and is designed to meet rising demand from consumers who are looking for more environmentally-responsible products.

2018 - Dove gains PETA cruelty-free accreditation

A bottle with the Dove logo

Unilever announced that Dove, its largest Beauty and Personal Care brand, gained accreditation by PETA. Dove's cruelty-free status has been granted in recognition of the brand's commitment to not conduct any tests on animals anywhere in the world. PETA's cruelty-free logo will begin to appear on Dove packaging from January 2019 to assure customers that Dove does not, and will not, test on animals.

2018 - Sir Kensington's become a B-Corp

Two men with a collection of mayo bottles smiling

Unilever's condiment company Sir Kensington's has been awarded B-Corporation certification. The move means Sir Kensington's joins a community of more than 2,000 businesses which meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

2019 - Cif at home refill will remove 1.5 million plastic bottles from UK supermarkets

A bottle of Cif Eco-Refill

Unilever announces the launch of Cif ecorefill, the new at-home technology that allows consumers to refill and reuse their Cif spray bottles for life. This comes when the UK's demand for less plastic and more refillable and reusable solutions are on the rise, with 62% of people saying reuse is even more important to them than recycling.

2019 - We now use 100% renewable energy across five continents

solar panels

All our factories, offices, R&D facilities, data centres, warehouses and distribution centres - across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America - are now powered by 100% renewable grid electricity. We have been working towards 100% renewable electricity as a global goal for 2020, but have achieved five continents ahead of time.

2019 - CEO warns that 'woke-washing' threatens industry credibility

Alan Jope

Unilever CEO Alan Jope warned that woke-washing - brand campaigns promising to improve the world but failing to take real action - is undermining the advertising industry's credibility and trust.

2019 - Unilever announces new plastics commitments

Bags of plastic waste
Photograph taken by Christine Njoroge

We announced our commitment to halve our use of virgin plastic in our packaging, and to collect and process more plastic packaging than we sell by 2025.

Photograph taken by Christine Njoroge

2019 - Hindustan Unilever Limited bags the Good Corporate Citizen Award

People standing on stage and smiling

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) won the Good Corporate Citizen Award presented by the Bombay Chamber of Commerce in Mumbai.

2019 - Helping Buenos Aires residents make recycling a habit

People holding bags of plastic

Working in partnership with the government of Buenos Aires, we have extended a programme that encourages the city's residents to throw away less and recycle more. At 'Green Points' dotted across the city, people can exchange their household recyclables for discount coupons that are redeemable against Unilever products at selected retailers.

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