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    Reducing environmental impact

    Unilever's work on reducing environmental impact supports

    8 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

    Select one of the goals to find out how we're taking action in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

    Find out how we’re realising the business opportunity from the SDGs
    1. Home
    2. Sustainable Living
    3. Reducing environmental impact
    Our Big Goal Reducing environmental impact by half
    By 2030 our goal is to halve the environmental footprint of the making and use of our products as we grow our business.

    Reducing environmental impact

    Decoupling growth from our environmental impact

    Part of our Vision is to grow our business whilst decoupling our environmental impact from our growth. We consider the reduction of our greenhouse gas (GHG), water and waste impacts across our value chain, from sourcing our raw materials to within our own manufacturing and operations and consumer use. We also aim to source our agricultural raw materials sustainably.

    Reducing the environmental impact of how consumers use our products continues to prove difficult, as our performance on reducing GHG and Water impact per consumer use demonstrates. However, in those areas where we have control over our impacts – such as our own manufacturing - we are making excellent progress.

    Our performance: GHG, water, waste & sustainable sourcing

    Our environmental targets for GHG, water and waste are expressed on a ‘per consumer use’ basis. This means a single use, portion or serving of a product, such as the impact of one load of laundry. Our performance is measured against a baseline of 2010.

    +6% greenhouse gas emissions across the lifecycle
    -2% water associated with consumer use of our products
    -31% waste associated with the disposal of our products per consumer use
    56% agricultural raw materials sourced sustainably

    Our performance: Manufacturing

    Our performance is measured against a baseline of 2008.

    -52% CO2 emissions from energy per tonne of production
    -44% water abstraction per tonne of production
    -97% total waste sent for disposal per tonne of production
    Over €600m of energy costs avoided via eco-efficiency since 2008
    % Of target achieved

    Our approach

    We want to play our part in tackling climate change and reduce the depletion of natural resources. It makes business sense to reduce our risk by securing sustainable sources of supply for raw materials, to cut costs through reducing packaging materials and higher manufacturing efficiencies, and to appeal to more consumers with sustainable, purpose-led brands.

    Our approach, which directly supports a number of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, focuses on:

    • Taking global climate action and protecting our forests
    • Championing sustainable agriculture, focused land use and food security
    • Helping consumers to recycle more and use less water and less energy through producing products with a lower environmental impact
    • Making our manufacturing and distribution more eco-efficient
    • Advocating public policy to tackle climate change.

    ??Independently assured by PwC

    ??The spreads business was sold in mid-2018 and is excluded from the performance measure (including the baseline) to ensure alignment with the existing business structure

    Reducing environmental impact pillars

    Greenhouse gases

    Eliminating fossil fuels in manufacturing

    Action on climate change is critical, but it’s also a chance to grow our business by responding to opportunities across our value chain.

    Water use

    Water use and water centre

    We’re addressing the challenge of water scarcity holistically, so consumers can enjoy our products and our business can thrive in a water-constrained world.

    Waste & packaging

    recycling in brazil

    We want to move towards a more circular economy, so that more plastic has the best possible chance to be reused or recycled.

    Sustainable sourcing

    Palm oil farmer

    Growing for the future – sustainable sourcing has never been more important.

    Other areas of focus

    Eco-efficiency in manufacturing

    Eco-efficiency in manufacturing

    We want to make our manufacturing as efficient as possible – using fewer resources and generating less waste.

    Natural capital

    Natural capital

    We are working in partnership with others to explore how natural capital can be better integrated into business decision-making.

    Lifecycle assessments

    Woman working on production line

    Understanding and managing lifecycle impacts is crucial to achieving our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan targets.

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    We're always looking to connect with those who share an interest in a sustainable future.


    Get in touch with Unilever and specialist teams in our headquarters, or find contacts around the world.

    Contact us