Unilever responds to climate crisis with new sustainability targets

At the top of Unilever’s priority list is to reduce its carbon emissions from all of its product lines to net zero by 2039

Personal care conglomerate Unilever has released a new set of sustainability goals in order to address climate change.

Taking priority in its effort will be the scaling back of its carbon emissions; the Dove maker has said it wants to achieve net zero emissions from all its product lines by 2039.

Unilever said it will build partnerships and work with suppliers in order to achieve this and has called on governments to set ambitious net zero targets to push more brands into action.

Currently, the company’s science-based targets include halving its GHG footprint of products by 2030 and to completely cut carbon emissions from its operations.

“While the world is dealing with the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and grappling with serious issues of inequality, we can’t let ourselves forget that the climate crisis is still a threat to all of us,” said Unilever’s CEO Alan Jope.

“Climate change, nature degradation, biodiversity decline, water scarcity – all of these issues are interconnected, and we must address them all simultaneously.”

He added: “In doing so, we must also recognise that the climate crisis is not only an environmental emergency, it also has a terrible impact on lives and livelihoods.

“We, therefore, have a responsibility to help tackle the crisis, as a business, and through direct action by our brands.”

To show its commitment Unilever has also taken the decision to back a number of social and economic groups.

By 2030, the British-Dutch consumer firm said it will join the Water Resource Group, implement water stewardship programmes for local communities, introduce a Regenerative Agricultural Code for all its suppliers and achieve a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023.

“If we want to have a healthy planet long into the future, we must also look after nature: forests, soil biodiversity and water ecosystems,” said Marc Engel Unilever’s Chief Supply Chain Officer.

“In most parts of the world, the economic and social inclusion of farmers and smallholders in sustainable agricultural production is the single most important driver of change for halting deforestation, restoring forests and helping regenerate nature.

“In the end, they are the stewards of the land. We must, therefore, empower and work with a new generation of farmers and smallholders in order to make a step change in regenerating nature.”

To fund the goals, Unilever said its brands will collectively invest €1bn in a dedicated Climate & Nature Fund, which will be used over the next ten years.

Jope concluded: “We will reduce the impact that our products and our operations have on the environment, and we will do our part to bring the planet back to health.”