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Sustainable Living

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is our blueprint for achieving our vision to grow our business, whilst decoupling our environmental footprint from our growth and increasing our positive social impact.

The Plan sets stretching targets, including how we source raw materials and how consumers use our brands. The scale of our ambition means that we are finding new ways to partner with others in business, government and society.

Faced with the challenge of climate change and the need for human development, we want to move towards a world where everyone can live well and within the natural limits of the planet. That’s why our purpose is ‘to make sustainable living commonplace’.

Find out more about Our strategy for sustainable business

Improving Health
and Well-being

By 2020 we will help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and hygiene.Read more about our big goal
  1. Health & hygiene

    By 2020 we will help more than a billion people to improve their health and hygiene. This will help reduce the incidence of life-threatening diseases like diarrhoea.

    • Around 482 million people reached by end 2015
    • Reduce diarrhoeal and respiratory disease through handwashing
    • Provide safe drinking water
    • Improve access to sanitation
    • Improve oral health
    • Improve self-esteem
    Health & hygiene
  2. Improving nutrition

    We will continually work to improve the taste and nutritional quality of all our products. The majority of our products meet, or are better than, benchmarks based on national nutritional recommendations. Our commitment goes further: by 2020, we will double the proportion of our portfolio that meets the highest nutritional standards, based on globally recognised dietary guidelines. This will help hundreds of millions of people to achieve a healthier diet.

    • 34% of our portfolio by volume met highest nutritional standards in 2015
    • Reduce salt levels
    • Saturated fat:
    • Reduce saturated fat
    • Increase essential fatty acids
    • Reduce saturated fat in more products
    • Remove trans fat
    • Reduce sugar
    • Reduce calories:
    • In children’s ice cream
    • In more ice cream products
    • Provide healthy eating information
    Improving nutrition

Reducing Environmental

By 2030 our goal is to halve the environmental footprint of the making and use of our products as we grow our business.Read more about our big goal
  1. Greenhouse gases

    Our products’ lifecycle:
    Halve the greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of our products across the lifecycle by 2030.

    • Our greenhouse gas impact per consumer use has increased by around 6% since 2010

    Our manufacturing:
    By 2020 CO2 emissions from energy from our factories will be at or below 2008 levels despite significantly higher volumes.

    • 39% reduction of CO2 from energy per tonne of production since 2008
    • Become carbon positive in manufacturing:
    • Source all energy renewably
    • Source grid electricity renewably
    • Eliminate coal from energy mix
    • Make surplus energy available to communities
    • New factories
    • Reduce GHG from washing clothes:
    • Reformulation
    • Reduce GHG from transport
    • Reduce GHG from refrigeration
    • Reduce energy consumption in our offices
    • Reduce employee travel
    Greenhouse gases
  2. Water

    Our products in use:
    Halve the water associated with the consumer use of our products by 2020.

    • Our water impact per consumer use has reduced by around 1% since 2010
    • Our manufacturing:
      By 2020 water abstraction by our global factory network will be at or below 2008 levels despite significantly higher volumes.

    • 37% reduction in water abstraction per tonne of production since 2008
    • Reduce water use in manufacturing process:
    • New factories
    • Reduce water use in the laundry process:
    • Products that use less water
    • Reduce water use in agriculture
  3. Waste

    Our products:
    Halve the waste associated with the disposal of our products by 2020.

    • Our waste impact per consumer use has reduced by around 29% since 2010

    Our manufacturing:
    By 2020 total waste sent for disposal will be at or below 2008 levels despite significantly higher volumes.

    • 97% reduction in total waste per tonne of production since 2008
    • Reduce waste from manufacturing:
    • Zero non-hazardous waste to landfill
    • New factories
    • Reduce packaging
    • Recycle packaging:
    • Increase recycling and recovery rates
    • Increase recycled content
    • Tackle sachet waste
    • Eliminate PVC
    • Reduce office waste:
    • Recycle, reuse, recover
    • Reduce paper consumption
    • Eliminate paper in processes
  4. Sustainable sourcing

    By 2020 we will source 100% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably.

    • 60% of agricultural raw materials sustainably sourced by end 2015
    • Palm oil:
    • Sustainable
    • Traceable
    • Paper and board
    • Soy beans and soy oil
    • Tea
    • Fruit
    • Vegetables
    • Cocoa
    • Sugar
    • Sunflower oil
    • Rapeseed oil
    • Dairy
    • Fairtrade Ben & Jerry's
    • Cage-free eggs
    • Increase sustainable sourcing of office materials
    Sustainable sourcing


By 2020 we will enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business. Read more about our big goal
  1. Fairness in the workplace

    By 2020 we will advance human rights across our operations and extended supply chain.

    • 54% of procurement spend through suppliers meeting our Responsible Sourcing Policy's mandatory requirements; published our first Human Rights Report
    • Implement UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
    • Source 100% of procurement spend in line with our Responsible Sourcing Policy
    • Create a framework for fair compensation
    • Improve employee health, nutrition and well-being
    • Reduce workplace injuries and accidents
    Fairness in the workplace
  2. Opportunities for women

    By 2020 we will empower 5 million women.

    • 800,000 women enabled to access initiatives aiming to develop their skills
    • Build a gender-balanced organisation with a focus on management
    • Promote safety for women in communities where we operate
    • Enhance access to training and skills
    • Expand opportunities in our value chain
    Opportunities for women
  3. Inclusive business

    By 2020 we will have a positive impact on the lives of 5.5 million people.

    • 2.4 million smallholder farmers and small-scale retailers enabled to access initiatives aiming to improve agricultural practices or increase sales
    • Improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers
    • Improve incomes of small-scale retailers
    • Increase participation of young entrepreneurs in our value chain
    Inclusive businness


  • Achieved
  • On-plan
  • Off-plan
  • Of target achieved


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What matters to you

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Sometimes we are asked specific questions about our business. Here we address some of the topics that matter most to you.

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