Sustainability great for business, says consumer goods giant

16 May 2018 | Web Article Number: ME20189910

Food & Beverage
SMME Development & Support
Social Development

GLOBAL consumer goods heavyweight Unilever has provided an update on its 'Sustainable Living' brands, confirming they grew 46% faster than the rest of the business and delivered 70% of Unilever's overall revenue growth.

The update also revealed that the company has expanded its range of 'Sustainable Living' products, increasing the number of brands that have been awarded the designation from 18 to 26 last year.

More broadly the company said it was on track to meet around 80% of the overarching sustainability targets it has set in its Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), including its pledges to helping more than a billion people improve their health and well-being by 2020 and halve the environmental impact of their products by 2030.

The USLP is made up of three big goals and commitments across nine pillars, supported by targets that span across Unilever’s social, economic and environmental performance across the value chain. These three goals are to improve the health and well-being of more than one billion people, decouple their environmental footprint from their growth, and enhance the livelihoods of millions of people.

“We are living in an increasingly uncertain and volatile world. Temperatures are rising, droughts are more frequent, food supplies are increasingly scarce, the gap between rich and poor is growing, and billions still do not have access to basic hygiene and sanitation,” said Unilever SA Executive Vice President Luc-Olivier Marquet.

“We see first-hand how people are already affected by these changes which pose new challenges for us: fluctuating commodity prices, unstable markets and a shortage of sustainable raw materials.

“However, with change comes opportunity. From this the USLP was born. We believe that sustainable and equitable growth is the only way to create long-term value for our stakeholders. For example, through our inclusive growth model, we have employed 124 individuals and aim to increase this to 350 .  That’s why we have placed the USLP at the heart of our business model,” Marquet said.

The year seven update included a trip to Kwa-Mashu to showcase Unilever’s School Hygiene and Sanitation Programme. Next stop was a visit to a Spaza shop, highlighting the company’s Township Job Creation Development Programme, concluded by an OLA Vendor Presentation. 

“Today was an example of Unilever’s work in action and how these programmes are helping the company move towards achieving their goals,” said Marquet.

Unilever’s top six brands are Sustainable Living brands, and company research shows us that 54% of consumers want to buy sustainable products and a third of them are already doing so.   “We have much to do before reaching our 2020 goals, but what we have achieved thus far is a proud moment for me and the amazing teams that work behind the scenes. Many of our dedicated people work tirelessly on projects that are helping us reach our goals.” Marquet said.

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