Global food and consumer goods conglomerate Unilever, parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, Lipton, Marmite and more, on Monday allocated € 1 billion ($ 1.13 billion) to a climate fund and nature, and is committed to net zero emissions in its product line by 2039..
The investment will be spent over the next 10 years on projects such as water conservation, landscape restoration, wildlife protection and carbon sequestration. The Anglo-Dutch company UL,
which also makes Dove Soap and Suave Shampoo, last year pledged to halve its use of virgin plastic by 2025. Last week, the company announced that it had changed its mind. and make London its headquarters.
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“As the world faces the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and grapples with serious issues of inequality, we cannot forget that the climate crisis is still a threat to all of us,” Alan Jope, Unilever CEO, said in a statement.
“Climate change, nature degradation, biodiversity decline, water scarcity – all of these issues are interconnected and we have to deal with them all simultaneously,” he said.
If the goal of net zero emissions can be achieved, this achievement will be 11 years ahead of the voluntary deadline of the Paris climate agreement. The company is getting closer to the goal through actions including reducing electricity consumption in its offices. In 2019, Unilever’s greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint was approximately 60 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, 15% more than its footprint in 2010.
Unilever, which has annual revenue of 52 billion euros ($ 58.5 billion), said it would prioritize partnerships with suppliers who have set emission reduction targets. He said suppliers must report the carbon footprint of the goods and services provided. All packaging from 2039 will show the product’s carbon footprint, the company said.
Jope warned the company would sell brands that could not meet its own sustainability goals, the Guardian reported.
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Unilever said Monday it aims to make all product formulations biodegradable and achieve a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023. The company said it will use satellite monitoring, geolocation tracking and blockchain for traceability and transparency within its supply chain.
Environmental groups have been mixed in their response to the conglomerate’s announcement.
Activist group Greenpeace UK argued that other campaigns to slow down man-made climate change by Unilever were aimed more at public relations points than tangible changes, especially given its global reach, the use of raw materials and the range of products it sells.
“Unilever needs to be clear about where it is at this pivotal time. As governments like Brazil and Indonesia continue to dismantle already insufficient safeguards for the environment, people and wildlife, which side is he on? Said John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK. “How will indigenous peoples whose land rights are violated, whose forests are destroyed for commodity expansion and who die from fires and Covid-19 will actually benefit from what Unilever announces?” “
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Other companies with a large carbon footprint have made similar commitments. Among them, Nestlé NSRGY,
has set its goal of zero emissions for 2050, corresponding to the timetable set by the Paris Pact to limit annual global warming to 1.5 ° degrees Celsius.
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Shares of Unilever traded in London are down 1.4% year-to-date and 13.6% last year.