Unilever has announced that it will invest approximately €1 billion in sustainability projects over the next ten years, as part of its new ‘Climate & Nature Fund’.
According to Unilever, this new fund will back actions ranging from landscape restoration, reforestation, and carbon capturing to wildlife protection and water preservation.
The consumer goods giant – which owns major brands including Marmite, Hellman’s and PG Tips – has also set a target of net-zero emissions across its product portfolio by 2039. Unilever had already committed to halving the greenhouse gas footprint of its products by 2030.
Sustainability projects announced by Unilever as part of this new fund include: Achieving a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023; making product formulations biodegradable by 2030; implementing water stewardship programmes in 100 locations by 2030; and introducing a ‘Regenerative Agriculture Code’ for all suppliers.
Commenting on the launch of the new fund, Unilever’s CEO Alan Jope, said: “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.
“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 was one of four major food and beverage companies criticised by non-profit Tearfund earlier this year, which alleged that Unilever, Coca-Cola, Nestlé and PepsiCo were responsible for half a million tonnes of plastic pollution in six developing countries – enough to cover 83 football pitches every day.
However, the company has pledged to halve its use of new plastic by 2025, and last year, CEO Alan Jope warned that the company could offload brands which do not meet the company’s sustainability targets.
Jope continued: “The planet is in crisis, and we must take decisive action to stop the damage, and to restore its health. Last year, we set out a plan to tackle perhaps the most visible environmental issue we have in the consumer goods industry: plastic packaging.
“We set ourselves new and stretching targets that include halving our use of virgin plastic, and helping collect and process more plastic packaging than we sell.”
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