Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan

Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan

02 May 2014 by Ailsa Burns

Unilever released their 2013 update on their Sustainable Living Plan this week.  The Sustainability Living Plan was launched in 2010 and sets out their vision following the sustainable, equitable business model.  They believe that this model is the only option when we are living in a world where temperatures are rising, water is scarce, energy is expensive, food supplies are uncertain and the gap between rich and poor is increasing.  


The Sustainable Living Plan sets out three goals; improving health and well-being, reducing environmental impact and enhancing livelihoods.  Their compass strategy sets out their vision of doubling the size of the business whilst reducing their environmental footprint and increasing their positive social impact.  A highlight of the strategy is Project Sunlight which promotes sustainable living through making small positive changes to social habits.  All information with regards to the plan can be viewed online through their eye-catching and engaging website.  Their vision is displayed with the help of simple infographics and the viewer can delve deeper into the targets looking at key performance indicators.  


The webcast addressed both the highlights from 2013 and the areas identified where improvements needed to be made.  In 2013, 31% of their foods and refreshments met the highest nutritional standards.  Unilever have also reduced their total waste sent for disposal by 66% since 2008 and 48% of their agricultural raw materials were sourced sustainability, an increase of 12% since 2012.  However, there were areas where they need to improve.  Total greenhouse gas footprint had increased by 5% and use of domestic water by their consumers has increased by 15%.  Unilever realise that this is due to their acquisition of Alberto Culver and the popularity of their laundry bars in India which are associated with a water intensive washing habit. 


Unilever is a massively influential organisation with 2 billion consumers using their products on any given day across 190 countries, producing sales of €29.8billion in 2013 and employing around 174,000 people.  Unilever’s  inclusion of consumer use as part of their overall greenhouse gas footprint and their inclusion of Project Sunlight as a key pillar of their Sustainable Living Plan illustrate that Unilever recognise that they have the influence to change consumer habits.  Throughout their Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever aim to harness this influence to create positive change.  

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