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Unilever to Cut Product Impacts 50% by 2020

November 15, 2010 – Unilever today unveiled their ambitious “Sustainable Living Plan,” which prioritizes sustainable consumption by decoupling growth targets from sustainability goals, and intends to halve the GHG emissions, water use, and waste produced from company operations as well as supplier and consumer uses by 2020.
The announcement, launched simultaneously in London, Rotterdam, New Delhi and New York, sets out 50 social, economic and environmental targets for the company to achieve by 2020.  The plan’s focus on its supplier impacts and its products’ impact from consumer use is what ratchets up the scale of this new plan – almost 66% of GHG’s and 50% of water use in Unilever’s products’ lifecycle come from consumer use.
Dave Lewis, President of the Americas at Unilever, shared how the company plans to decouple financial growth from environmental impact and deliver more social value through its brands by helping over 1 billion people improve their health and wellbeing. He commented “"Many would say making consumption sustainable is impossible. Our view is that we have to make it possible. We cannot choose between growth and sustainability. We have to do both."
Other key aspects of the “Sustainable Living Plan” include;

  • Sourcing 100 of agricultural raw materials sustainably
  • Provide 500 million people access to safe, clean drinking water
  • Increase social impact by integrating over 500,000 small farms and small-scale distributors into its supply chain

Unilever CEO Paul Polman took the stage at the London launch and reiterated that he believes sustainability is a path to generating revenue and product differentiation: “We are already finding that tackling sustainability challenges provides new opportunities for sustainable growth: it creates preference for our brands, builds business with our retail customers, drives our innovation, grows our markets and, in many cases, generates cost savings."
To get a closer look at the new Unilever plan, visit the site here.

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