Unilever makes landmark decision to put climate action plan to shareholders

By Becky Bargh 16-Dec-2020

The Ren owner is the first major conglomerate to ask shareholders for approval of its sustainability plans

Beauty owner Unilever has put its climate transition action plan to its shareholders for a vote, marking a monumental move in the fight against climate change.

The plan will set out the Ren owner’s climate strategy going forward in an effort to reduce carbon emissions across its operations.

This will include across its value chain and lay out how consumers are responding to matters connected with climate change.

The vote is the first instance that a major conglomerate has put its climate action plan to shareholders.

“Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time and we are determined to play a leadership role in accelerating the transition to a zero carbon economy,” said Unilever’s CEO, Alan Jope, who has been awarded a CEW Special Industry Award for 2020.

“We have a wide ranging and ambitious set of climate commitments – but we know they are only as good as our delivery against them.

“That’s why we will be sharing more details with our shareholders who are increasingly wanting to understand more about our strategy and plans.”

Unilever’s targets include making its own operations carbon-zero by 2030 and reducing the average carbon footprint of its products by the same year.

In June this year, the group also added a new target of net zero emissions from sourcing to point of sale by 2039.

The uphill battle for Unilever to achieve its targets will include decarbonising the raw materials it sources, completing the transition of its operations to 100% renewable energy, eliminating deforestation from its supply chain and innovating its product line.

“We welcome this increase in transparency and in the plan we present we will be clear both about the areas in our direct control where we have a high degree of certainty of our route to net zero, as well as more challenging areas across our value chain where systemic solutions will be required to achieve our targets,” added Jope.

Unilever will share the new plan following shareholder approval ahead of its AGM on 5 May 2021.

Last year, the UK became the first major economy to pass a net zero emissions law for all businesses by 2050.

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Read more about the beauty industry’s efforts to combat climate change in Cosmetic Business’ monthly Eco Report below.