In November 2010, Unilever set out the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, committing to a ten year journey towards sustainable growth. What makes the Plan different is that it applies right across the value chain. The Plan takes responsibility not just for Unilever’s own direct operations but for suppliers, distributors and for how consumers use its brands.
The Plan has three big goals to reach by 2020:
- Help more than 1 billion people improve their health and well-being
- Halve the environmental footprint of our products
- Source 100% of agricultural raw materials sustainably and enhance the livelihoods of millions of people
By the end of 2013, Unilever reports that:
- 48% of agricultural raw materials are now from sustainable sources, up from 14% in 2010.
- It helped 303 million people improve their health and wellbeing through Lifebuoy, Signal, Pureit and Dove brands, up from 52 million in 2010.
- The majority of Unilever foods and beverages meet nationally recognised nutritional standards and 31% of foods and beverages meet the highest nutritional standards, based on globally recognised dietary guidelines.
- It helped and trained over 570,000 smallholder farmers and increased the number of Shakti women micro-entrepreneurs in India that it employs from 48,000 in 2012 to 65,000 in 2013.
In its own factories, Unilever reports excellent progress in 2013:
- Reducing CO2 emissions from energy by 32% per tonne of production since 2008, the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road.
- Reducing water abstracted by 29% per tonne of production, or the equivalent of 2 litres of water for every person on the planet.
- Cutting waste by two thirds per tonne of production, or 97,000 fewer tonnes of waste disposed of in 2013 than in 2008.
- Achieving zero non hazardous waste to landfill in three quarters of Unilever sites (170), up from 35 sites in 2010.
Brands that have done most to embrace sustainable living are enjoying some of our fastest growth:
- Dove, Lifebuoy, Domestos and Pureit have all grown double digit on average over the past 3 years.
- Avoided costs of €350million since 2008 in reducing raw materials and implementing eco-efficiency measures in factories on energy, water and waste.
- Implemented new packaging technique which injects gas into plastic bottles creating bubbles in pack walls, cutting plastic by up to 15%. This is now available on Dove Body Wash with plans for further rollout across the portfolio. This technique has the potential to save 27,000 tonnes plastic once fully rolled out.
Innovation and consumer behaviour change from our brands:
- Sure, Dove, Vaseline compressed deodorants UK launch: around 25% CO2 savings per can, and 40% of the female deodorants we sell in UK are now compressed.
- Lifebuoy Colour Changing hand wash: helps encourage children to wash their hands with soap for long enough by changing colour after 10 seconds - the time it takes to be protected from germs.
- Becel and Flora pro.activ ‘It Takes a Village’ challenge: developed to help people with raised cholesterol move to a healthy diet/lifestyle. The challenge has been launched in villages across 6 countries, where 500 people have taken part and 89% have successfully lowered their cholesterol.