- a healthy
- clean water
Over the last five years, significant global progress has been made on some of the biggest issues of our times.
More kids go to school than ever before and more people have access to clean drinking water. In 2015, people, businesses and governments came together to agree a global climate deal, and a set of Global Goals that give us a path to end poverty, combat climate change, and fight injustice and inequality.
But there is still much to do. According to latest estimates, nearly one billion people still live in extreme poverty. One in nine of us is undernourished, yet one in ten is obese. Many regions are experiencing volatile political and social unrest, and we’re overstepping many of the natural limits of our planet.
These are huge challenges.
They are also huge opportunities for people and business to grow and succeed.
We believe business must take a leading role in building a better, fairer world. It is the right thing to do – and it is also the only path to sustainable business growth.
There is no business case for enduring poverty”
That’s why our purpose as a business is 'making sustainable living commonplace'. And it's why, also five years ago, we launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), our strategic response to the challenges we face and our blueprint for sustainable growth.
The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan guides everything that we do. It shows how we’ll achieve our ambitions for growth by embedding sustainability into every brand and market, and throughout our value chain.
By 2020 we will help more than 1 billion people take action to improve their health and well-being.
By 2030 our goal is to halve the environmental footprint of the making and use of our products as we grow our business.
By 2020 we will enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business.
Consumers are responding to campaigns by brands such as Omo, Breyers and Hellmann's on issues ranging from water scarcity to sustainable sourcing. Our sustainable living brands are growing 30% faster than the rest of our business and delivered nearly half our total growth in 2015.
By cutting waste and reducing the use of energy, raw materials and natural resources, we create efficiencies and cut costs, while becoming less exposed to price volatility. We have achieved cumulative cost avoidance of over €600 million through eco-efficiency in our factories since 2008.
Operating sustainably helps us to futureproof our supply chain against the risks associated with climate change and sourcing materials. By 2015, 60% of our agricultural raw materials were sustainably sourced.
Placing sustainability at the heart of our business model helps us stay relevant to consumers, and strengthens our relationships with stakeholders. In 2015, we maintained our status as the ‘Graduate Employer of Choice’ in the fast-moving consumer goods sector among our target universities in 34 countries.
Our ambition goes beyond just changing our own business. We want to change the very way business is done.
We want to use our scale, influence and resources to make a real difference to issues that matter – such as driving women’s empowerment, mainstreaming sustainable agriculture, improving access to clean water and sanitation, and eliminating deforestation. We want to help create 'transformational change' – not simply incremental improvements, but fundamental change to whole systems.
Together with others in our industry, we have committed to achieving zero net deforestation associated with four commodities – palm oil, soy, paper and board, and beef – no later than 2020.
As one of the largest purchasers of crops such as tea, palm oil and vegetables, we are working with partners to help to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition.
Our ambition is to achieve universal access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. Tackling these issues together can achieve a fundamental impact on the diseases that cause ill health and cost lives.
In all three of our transformational change areas, the role of women is crucial, both as partners in change and as beneficiaries. By 2020 we will empower 5 million women, by providing access to training, skills and opportunities, building a gender-balanced organisation, and promoting safety for women in the communities in which we operate.
We know we can only do this by working together with other businesses, civil society and governments. Collective action is the most powerful tool we have to drive positive change.