Unilever’s reveals 7th year of Sustainable Living Plan progress

Unilever5FMCG global giant Unilever Australia has today unveiled its seventh year of global and local progress towards its Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) targets.

Unilever said in statement it revealed a fourth consecutive year of growth globally for its ‘sustainable living’ brands, which grew 46% faster than the rest of the business and delivered 70% of the company’s turnover growth.

“We have made good progress against our ambitious targets in Australia and globally, and the continued strong growth of our sustainable living brands tells us the USLP is making a difference, and that consumers are increasingly aware of the impact the products they are purchasing have on the environment,” said Unilever Australia and New Zealand CEO, Clive Stiff.

“We also want to be transparent about how much more work there is still to do. This is critical when we are witnessing a crisis of trust in institutions in Australia and across the world. We believe business must play a leading role in restoring trust, and that at the heart of trust lies transparency.

“We also know that the biggest challenges facing our nation and our world can’t be addressed on our own. There is an ever-increasing need for us to work in partnership to drive transformational change across our value chain. To do so will require a new level of transparency across the board and business must be part of the solution.”

The global FMCG giant said it hosted 150 leaders across the business, NGO, academic and government sectors to discuss the importance of business leading for trust and how better cross-sector collaboration can drive more progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Australia.

USLP was launched in 2010, which set ambitious targets to decouple Unilever’s growth from its environmental impact, while increasing the company’s positive social impact. Unilever said today it is on track to meet around 80% of its commitments, which include improving health and wellbeing for 1 billion people, reducing environmental impact by half and enhancing livelihoods for millions.

Unilever reported it is on track in Australia to meet key commitments including:

  • Sourcing 100 per cent of all grid electricity used in manufacturing from renewable sources by 2020.
  • Becoming carbon positive in its manufacturing operations by 2030.
  • Making 100 per cent of its plastic packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable, and increasing the recycled plastic content in its packaging to 25% by 2025.

The panel included Jess Miller, deputy lord Mayor, City of Sydney; Andrea De Almeida, executive director, B Lab Australia & New Zealand; Dermot O’Gorman chief executive officer, World Wide Fund for Nature, Australia and Clive Stiff, Unilever ANZ CEO. They discussed the importance of transparency and trust as business looks to drive better collaboration and more progress on the SDGs.

Unilever said it is already looking beyond its current USLP targets by carrying out its largest ever listening exercise on the future of sustainable business. Over 40,000 employees and 250 stakeholders responded to the ‘Have Your Say’ project, setting out their views on the priorities they would like Unilever to focus on after 2020, and what future success would look like. In Australia, the top three priorities were revealed to be zero food and packaging waste, access to water and climate change.

The multinational giant also said it is providing a progress update on the USLP. Unilever has launched its Young Entrepreneur Awards. The awards recognise and support brilliant young innovators tackling the planet’s biggest environmental and social challenges, and help them achieve scale for impact. Since the launch of the Awards in 2013, they have reached over 3,500 inspiring young sustainability entrepreneurs and provided tailored support and funding to 29 winners.

Stiff added that by taking a multi-stakeholder approach, Unilever is able to leverage its scale and resources as a business to address societal and environmental issues while delivering economic value.

“We believe that it is not possible to achieve long-term business success in a world with poverty, hunger and climate change. We have long recognised that the only acceptable business model for Unilever is one in which the planet and society thrive,” Stiff said.

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