Unilever has published a report earlier this year on the progress it is making towards meeting its Unilever Sustainable Living Plan targets. The plan (first published in November 2010), broke new ground by committing to take responsibility for the company’s impacts right across the value chain, from the sourcing of raw materials all the way through to the consumer’s use of its products to cook, clean and wash. Unilever’s performance against its sustainable living plan targets fall into three categories:
1. Areas where the company is making genuinely good progress, such as: Sustainable sourcing ( 24% of total agricultural raw materials now being sourced sustainably, versus 14% in 2010 ), Nutrition ( over 90% of Unilever’s leading spreads now contain less than one-third saturated fat), Renewable energy ( now contributes 20% of Unilever’s total energy use and 100% of electricity purchased in Europe is now from renewable sources) and Safe drinking water .
2. Areas where the company has to consider carefully how to reach targets. These include amongst others health and hygiene
3. Areas where the global giant is finding it difficult to make progress and will need to work with others to find solutions. This applies particularly to targets that require consumer behaviour change, such as reducing the use of heated water in showering and washing clothes, or encouraging people to eat foods with lower salt levels.
“In a world where temperatures are rising, energy is costing more, sanitation is worsening and food supply is less secure, companies can no longer sit on the sidelines waiting for governments to take action. We have to see ourselves as part of the solution to these problems. In Unilever, we believe that our future success depends upon being able to decouple our growth from our environmental footprint, while at the same time increasing our positive social impacts”, says Unilever CEO, Paul Polman. For more information and the full progress report for 2012, visit www.unilever.com/sustainable-living .