Unilever has announced that all its sites across five continents are now powered by 100% renewable grid electricity, meeting its 2020 target ahead of time.
Renewable sources are now being used to power Unilever factories, offices, R&D facilities, data centres, warehouses and distribution centres across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America.
In November 2015, Unilever outlined its ambition to become carbon positive, meaning that it aims to generate more renewable energy than it consumes. As a member of the RE100 initiative Unilever is committed to sourcing 100% of the company’s total energy usage from renewable sources by 2030 and committed to sourcing all grid purchased electricity from renewables by 2020.
The multinational company – which owns major brands such as Magnum, Hellman, Dove and Sure – has met its 2020 goal in advance, as well as making significant progress towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Unilever’s transition to renewable electricity was partly delivered by power purchase agreements (PPAs) and green electricity tariffs, with 38% of its grid electricity supplied by these two schemes.
By working with partners around the world, Unilever generates renewable electricity onsite, with solar power in use at its facilities in 18 countries, and sources the rest of its power by purchasing renewable energy certificates – openly-traded certificates linked to renewable electricity generation.
According to Unilever, its investment in energy efficiency programmes have resulted in a 28% reduction in total energy consumption and a halving of carbon emissions per tonne of production since 2008, significantly contributing to the company’s achievements.
Marc Engel, chief supply chain officer at Unilever, said: “The climate emergency is one of the most urgent challenges we’re all facing. Our team have worked hard to secure renewable energy contracts for our sites across five continents, accelerating the delivery of our 100% renewable energy targets.
“Of course, there is more work to do, but we hope that today’s announcement will inspire further action elsewhere and help to prove that it is possible to combat the climate crisis and hold global warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius. Renewable is doable.”
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