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Unilever to invest US$1bn to eliminate fossil fuels in cleaning products

Multinational consumer goods firm Unilever has pledged to obtain all carbon used in the manufacture of its cleaning and laundry products from renewable or recycled sources by 2030.

The move will affect multiple brands – including Omo (Persil), Sunlight, Cif and Domestos – in terms of their sustainability ranking, and is part of the firm’s ‘Clean Future’ programme launched to improve the creation of cleaning and laundry products in reducing their reliance on fossil fuels.

Unilever, which has enjoyed a significant uptick in demand for its products during the coronavirus pandemic, has committed to a net zero emissions policy for its products by 2039.

“As an industry, we must break our dependence on fossil fuels, including as a raw material for our products,” said Unilever’s president of home care Peter ter Kulve. “We must stop pumping carbon from under the ground when there is ample carbon on and above the ground if we can learn to utilise it at scale.”

Unilever has earmarked a US$1.18 billion fund for biotech research, CO2 and waste utilisation, and low carbon chemistry for the Clean Future programme. It will support biodegradable and water-efficient product formulations and contribute to a halving in the use of virgin plastic within five years.

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