About our reporting
Our aim is to provide a transparent account of progress against the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan through engaging, insightful and evidence-based reporting.
Our online reporting details performance against our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) targets for the period 1 January to 31 December 2017 (except where indicated otherwise).
Since April 2014, our annual Sustainable Living Report has been published online in the Sustainable Living section of our website as we want it to be accessible to as many people as possible. As in previous years, we have published a USLP summary which can be downloaded via Our Sustainable Living Report Hub. Sustainability information can also be found in our 2017 Annual Report (PDF | 3MB).
Many Unilever operating companies around the world also produce their own country specific content describing their actions in support of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. Please visit local websites for more.
Who is our reporting for?
Our reporting is aimed at a broad range of audiences, including:
- Specialists audiences, such as NGOs, investors, analysts, governments and opinion former, who are typically interested in our performance, strategy, policies and targets.
- Generalists audiences, such as employees, job seekers and consumers, who are interested in content relating to their personal interests.
Understanding our sustainability impacts and priorities enables us to address the sustainability issues that matter most to our business strategy and to our stakeholders. It also allows us to tailor our reporting so it is aligned with audiences’ interests and needs. See Defining our materiality process for further information.
Stakeholder feedback on our reporting
As part of our reporting process, we receive feedback from our USLP Steering Team, our Board’s Corporate Responsibility Committee and the USLP Council of external sustainability advisers, as well as our employees and opinion formers. Find out more about our sustainability governance here.
Please tell us what you think about our USLP and our progress in 2017 Contact us – we value your feedback and want to know what matters to you.
We adhere to the principles of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards and many of the original GRI Framework indicators are embedded in our reporting. Our 2017 report has been prepared ‘in accordance’ with the GRI G4 standards.
We are a signatory to the UN Global Compact principles. We provide an annual update in our Communication on Progress on how we are living out the Compact’s ten principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption in our everyday business operations. We also report on our sustainability governance and leadership, including ways in which we support broader UN goals.
Through our USLP, Sustainable Living brands and our transformational change agenda we contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Boundaries and scope
Our impacts are far reaching, so we have identified and prioritised our most material impacts to the business and to stakeholders across our value chain. See how we are Defining our material issues. Our report includes performance data for our direct operations and information on how we are managing the most material issues across our extended value chain, which encompasses both our supply chain and how our products reach our consumers.
Measurement of our quantitative performance indicators helps us to monitor the development of specific risks over time. For example, our quantitative greenhouse gas, water and sustainable sourcing performance indicators within the USLP help us to monitor and manage specific climate change and supply chain risks – such as the impacts of drought and water shortages, which we have already seen in Brazil, South Africa and India – across our entire value chain. Fluctuations in supply, accessibility and quality of water across our entire value chain can materially impact our business performance. But through monitoring and measuring performance indicators such as the materials that we are sourcing sustainably, we can mitigate these risks.
Our performance indicators, such as our manufacturing environmental and occupational safety indicators, do not include contract production or outsourced support services.
Our online Sustainable Living Report for 2017 covers Unilever’s global value chain for the 2017 reporting period. Data is provided for Unilever’s wholly owned companies and subsidiaries.
Operations and sites where we do not have management control and operations categorised as joint ventures or investments are excluded from the scope of all performance indicators, unless otherwise indicated in Unilever’s Basis of Preparation 2017 (PDF | 6MB).
Assurance and basis of preparation
External assurance of sustainability performance indicators is an important part of our approach and our environmental reporting has been independently assured since 1996. Our social report was assured for the first time in 2004.
In 2017 we reappointed PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) to provide independent assurance of the USLP and Environmental and Occupational Safety (EOS) performance indicators. PwC’s Assurance Report describes the work undertaken and their conclusion for the reporting period to 31 December 2017. Documents relating to independent external assurance in the years prior to 2017 are available in our Reports & Publications section.
Please see Independent assurance for further information about our assurance process.
In 2017 Unilever was named leader of the Personal Products sector in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), a global sustainability performance benchmark. Up until 2015, we were in the Food Products industry sector, which we led for 15 years, which sat within the Food, Beverage & Tobacco Industry Group, which we led for 13 years.
In 2017 we were also listed on the CDP Climate, Water, Forest and Supplier Engagement A Lists.
See Awards & Recognition for further information.