Eco-efficiency in manufacturing

We aim to reduce the environmental impacts of our manufacturing operations, minimising both the resources used and the waste created.

Our approach

In this section we describe our overall approach to improving the eco-efficiency of our manufacturing operations. This includes our eco-efficiency strategy, approach to data collection, and target setting. It also includes our summary performance across our key performance indicators, as well as the environmental management system that underpins our approach.

Reducing the impacts of our own manufacturing operations – eco-efficiency – is a core part of our strategy. We have a clear track record of improving eco-efficiency performance in the areas of water, waste and CO2 from energy. As part of our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, we have set significantly more ambitious eco-efficiency targets:

Become carbon positive in manufacturing

By 2020, CO2 emissions from energy from our factories will be at or below 2008 levels despite producing significantly higher volumes. This represents a reduction of around 40% per tonne of production. Versus a 1995 baseline, this represents a 63% reduction per tonne of production and a 43% absolute reduction. We will become carbon positive in our manufacturing by 2030:

  • We will source 100% of our energy across our operations from renewable sources by 2030. (New target 2015)*
  • We will source all our electricity purchased from the grid from renewable sources by 2020. (New target 2015)
  • We will eliminate coal from our energy mix by 2020. (New target 2015)
  • In order to achieve our target of carbon positive by 2030, we intend to directly support the generation of more renewable energy than we consume and make the surplus available to the markets and communities in which we operate. (New target 2015)
  • All newly built factories will aim to have less than half the impact of those in our 2008 baseline.

Find out more about our latest performance at Greenhouse Gas Targets & Performance and Reducing emissions in our own operations.

Improving water efficiency in manufacturing

  • By 2020, water abstraction by our global factory network will be at or below 2008 levels, despite significantly higher volumes. This represents a reduction of around 40% per tonne of production. Versus a 1995 baseline, this represents a 78% reduction per tonne of production and a 65% absolute reduction. We will focus in particular on factories in water-scarce locations.
  • All newly built factories will aim to abstract less than half the water of those in our 2008 baseline.

Find out more about our latest performance at Water Targets & Performance and Improving water efficiency in our factories.

Towards a zero waste business

  • By 2020, total waste sent for disposal will be at or below 2008 levels despite significantly higher volumes. This represents a reduction of around 40% per tonne of production. Versus a 1995 baseline, this represents an 80% reduction per tonne of production and a 70% absolute reduction.
  • By 2015 all manufacturing sites will achieve zero non-hazardous waste to landfill. (New target 2012)
  • All newly built factories will aim to generate less than half the waste of those in our 2008 baseline.

Find out more about our latest performance at Waste Targets & Performance and Towards a zero waste business.

* Our new target supersedes our previous target of sourcing 40% of our energy across our operations from renewable sources by 2020.

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