Our approach

In a world where temperatures are rising, water is scarce, energy is expensive, sanitation is poor in many areas, and food supplies are uncertain and expensive, we have both a duty and an opportunity to address these issues in the way we do business.

Delivering sustainable growth

Our vision is to double the size of our business while reducing our environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact. As well as being the right thing to do, there is a strong business case for this approach. In our experience, sustainability drives growth. Consumers want it, retailers want it, it fuels innovation, helps develop new markets, saves money and inspires our people.

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan sets out how we will achieve our vision. The Plan, which we launched in November 2010, will:

  • help more than a billion people improve their health and well-being

  • halve the environmental footprint of our products.

  • allow us to source 100% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably.

The Plan sets out a range of targets to achieve by 2020. Regular, transparent updates show we are meeting or exceeding our goals in many areas. There has been excellent progress in sourcing our agricultural raw materials sustainably. We have increased the use of renewable energy in our factories, purchased more climate-friendly (HFC) ice cream freezers and taken steps to ensure our food brands have a better nutritional profile. However, in some areas we are finding it difficult to make progress and will need to work with others to find solutions. This applies, in particular, to the targets which require consumer behaviour change.

We are embedding sustainability into our business in many ways, from putting it at the heart of our business strategy to working with our customers to help shoppers choose sustainable brands. . Much remains to be done but businesses like ours no longer have a choice. Sustainable, equitable growth is now the only acceptable form of growth.

Working in partnership

We cannot create a sustainable global business alone. To deliver concerted, cross-sector change, we work with other organisations, such as the Consumer Goods Forum, the World Economic Forum, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, NGOs and governments. We also receive guidance from the Unilever Sustainable Development Group (USDG) of external experts.

In the end we will only succeed if we engage with consumers to encourage them to use our products sustainably, by helping them to take small actions everyday which add up to a big difference.