Unilever reduces CO2 by 1 million tonnes

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan has set a target of halving our environmental footprint across the value chain by 2020. By the end of 2012 we had reduced our total footprint by 6%. Good progress has been made in areas we can control.

We have reduced our manufacturing and logistics greenhouse gas footprint by more than one million tonnes since 2008 – the equivalent of taking 250,000 cars off the road.

The reduction includes 838,000 tonnes CO2 achieved from improvements in manufacturing and 211,000 tonnes from making global logistics operations more efficient.

We now have 30 biomass boilers, which provide more than 7% of our renewable energy with six more planned for the year ahead in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

In Europe, using Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant technology has helped to reduce CO2 by 50,000 tonnes and save €10 million.


“Our primary focus is to reduce overall energy use by improving the eco-efficiency of everything we do in our factories, offices and other operations,” said John Maguire, Unilever’s Group Manufacturing Sustainability Director.

“We leverage our global scale by selecting ideas that have the best financial and eco-efficiency payback and then implement them globally.

“We are also committed to ensuring as much as possible of the energy we use comes from sustainable sources, for example 100% of the electrical energy we buy in Europe and North America comes from renewable sources.”

Efficient transport

We are also maximising transport efficiencies through the creation of the UltraLogistik control tower network.

The control tower model enables more efficient coordination of thousands of transport movements across road, rail, sea and air. It has helped save costs of €50 million since 2008.

We are now creating regional distribution hubs, which have the potential to reduce distance travelled by 175 million km in Europe alone.

This benefit was a key factor in Unilever being awarded an EU grant of €5.7million to invest and develop sustainable transport of goods across Europe.

Good business sense

“Eco-efficiency isn’t just about reducing the environmental footprint it also makes good business sense,” added Maguire.
“Since 2008 our eco-efficiency programmes have avoided more than €300 million of costs. Almost €100 million in energy; €186 million in materials; €17 million in water; and €10 million in waste disposal.

“The benefits are very clear in a world where energy prices are increasing.”

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