Unilever has announced that it has reached a milestone in its sustainability programme, having reduced CO2 emissions from the company’s manufacturing network by 1 million tonnes.
Energy consumption has been reduced by 20 percent, Unilever claims. The savings represent the equivalent amount of energy used to run 40 factories and have resulted in cost savings of €244m.
Savings in CO2 have been delivered by a global strategy that includes circular economy approaches.
For example, in South Africa, a bi-product of the seed oil from Flora, Stork, Rama and Rondo is used as a fuel in the boilers to deliver energy back into the factory.
And in the UK Marmite factory, 18,000 tonnes of solid Marmite waste is converted into methane via an anaerobic digester which is used to provide 30 percent of the factory’s thermal energy.
Unilever Chief Supply Chain Officer, Pier Luigi Sigismondi commented, “Across our supply chain we are increasingly turning to energy provided by wind, solar and biomass, converting heat from our manufacturing processes into power for our factories. We are on track to reach our target of 40 percent renewable energy by 2020.”
Unilever has stated that it will continue to reduce its energy consumption and will switch to renewable energy where cost effective.
In Europe and North America, all of the electricity purchased by Unilever factories is from renewable sources. Across the globe, 28 percent of the energy used by Unilever factories comes from renewable sources, with 39 percent of electrical energy produced from renewable sources.
Reducing energy use not only benefits the environment, but has a clear business purpose as it helps Unilever drive down costs and means that the company less exposed to changes in the energy price market, improving business resilience.