Reducing Environmental Impact

Our Big Goal

By 2030 our goal is to halve the environmental footprint of the making and use of our products as we grow our business.1 2

Our commitments

In 2010 we set an ambition to decouple our growth from our environmental impacts and have set a big goal and a number of reduction targets for the business. We consider the reduction of our greenhouse gas, water and waste impacts within and beyond our own manufacturing and operations and aim to source all of our agricultural raw materials sustainably.

Five years on we have sharpened our greenhouse gas strategy. We have set a new ambition to become ‘carbon positive’ in our operations by 2030 which includes sourcing 100% of our energy across our operations from renewable sources. Despite how challenging it is proving, we are recommitting ourselves to the goal of halving the greenhouse gas impact of our products across the lifecycle, but with an extended timeframe to 2030.

Our pillar performance

  • Greenhouse gas emissions of our products across the lifecycle increased by around 6%†* versus 2010.
  • Water associated with consumer use of our products decreased by around 1%†* versus 2010.
  • Waste associated with the disposal of our products has reduced by 29%†* versus 2010.
  • 60% of our agricultural raw materials were sustainably sourced by the end of 2015.

Our manufacturing performance

  • CO2 emissions from energy reduced by 39% per tonne of production compared to 2008.
  • Water abstraction reduced by 37% per tonne of production compared to 2008.
  • Total waste sent for disposal reduced by 97% per tonne of production compared to 2008.
  • By February 2016, over 600 Unilever sites around the world – including nearly 400 non-manufacturing sites – achieved zero non-hazardous waste to landfill.
  • Avoided costs of over €600 million since 2008.

Our approach

We want to play our part in tackling climate change and reduce the depletion of natural resources. It makes business sense to reduce our risk by securing sustainable sources of supply for raw materials, to cut costs through reducing packaging materials and higher manufacturing efficiencies, and to appeal to more consumers with sustainable brands.

Our focus is on:

  • Tackling climate change by eliminating deforestation.
  • Developing sustainable agriculture and smallholder farmers.
  • Helping consumers use less water, less energy and recycle more.
  • Making manufacturing and distribution more eco-efficient.
  • Advocating for public policy to tackle climate change.

1 Our environmental targets are expressed on a ‘per consumer use’ basis. This means a single use, portion or serving of a product

2 In 2016 we extended the date of our GHG pillar commitment from 2020 to 2030. This extension from 2020 to 2030 also applies to our Reducing Environmental Impact Big Goal of halving the environmental footprint of the making and use of our products as we grow our business. Our Water and Waste pillar commitments remain at 2020.

* 2010 baseline as recalculated in December 2015

† Independently assured by PwC

Greenhouse Gases

Man loading washing machine

We are committed to reducing the GHG impact of our products across the lifecycle by 2030.

Water Use

Lady washing clothes with one rinse

We are reducing the water use associated with agriculture, manufacturing and consumer use in our value chain.

Waste & Packaging

Man recycling his household waste

We are reducing our waste and packaging in our value chain, without compromising on protection or safety.

Sustainable Sourcing

Palm oil farmer

We are committed to making our supply chain sustainable and driving transformational change across the agriculture industry.

Eco-efficiency in Manufacturing

Workers in a factory in Egypt

We are reducing the environmental impacts of our manufacturing operations, minimising both the resources used and the waste created.

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