Unilever brands will collectively invest €1 billion in a new dedicated Climate & Nature Fund
Unilever has set out a new range of measures and commitments designed to improve the health of the planet by taking even more decisive action to fight climate change, protect and regenerate nature, and to preserve resources for future generations.
Unilever will achieve Net Zero emissions from all its products by 2039. The company will also empower, and work with, a new generation of farmers and smallholders, driving programmes to protect and restore forests, soil and biodiversity; and work with governments and other organisations to improve access to water for communities in water-stressed areas.
To accelerate action, Unilever brands will collectively invest €1b/£897m in a new dedicated Climate & Nature Fund. This will be used over the next ten years to take meaningful and decisive action, with projects likely to include landscape restoration, reforestation, carbon sequestration, wildlife protection and water preservation.
The new initiatives will build on the great work that is already underway, such as Ben & Jerry’s initiative to reduce GHG emissions from dairy farms; Seventh Generation advocating for clean energy for all, and Knorr supporting farmers to grow food more sustainably.
“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,” explains Alan Jope, Unilever CEO.
“Climate change, nature degradation, biodiversity decline, water scarcity – all these issues are interconnected, and we must address them all simultaneously. 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.”
Unilever’s existing science-based targets are to have no carbon emissions from its own operations and to halve the GHG footprint of its products across the value chain, by 2030. In response to the scale and urgency of the climate crisis, Unilever is additionally committing to net zero emissions from all of its products by 2039 – from the sourcing of the materials they use, up to the point of sale of their products in the store.
To achieve this goal 11 years ahead of the 2050 Paris Agreement deadline, Unilever must work jointly with its partners across its value chain, to collectively drive lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The company will, therefore, prioritise building partnerships with their suppliers who have set and committed to their own science-based targets.
Unilever believes that transparency about carbon footprint will be an accelerator in the global race to zero emissions, and it is their ambition to communicate the carbon footprint of every product they sell.
To do this, Unilever will set up a system for its suppliers to declare, on each invoice, the carbon footprint of the goods and services provided; and the company will create partnerships with other businesses and organisations to standardise data collection, sharing and communication.
The race to zero must be a collective effort, and business alone cannot drive the transition at the speed that is required. Unilever calls on all governments to set ambitious net-zero targets, as well as short term emissions reduction targets, supported with enabling policy frameworks such as carbon pricing.