THE WHAT? Unilever has set out a new range of measures and commitments designed to improve the health of the planet, including a €1 billion investment in a Climate & Nature Fund as well as committing to achieving net zero emissions for all products by 2039, 11 years before the 2050 Paris Agreement deadline.
THE DETAILS The London-based FMCG giant is planning to use the cash over the next decade to empower and work with a new generation of famers and smallholders, drive programs to protect and restore forests, soil and biodiversity and work with governments to improve access to water for communities in water-stressed areas.
It has committed to achieving a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023, upping traceability through the use of emerging technologies such as satellite monitoring and geolocation tracking and changing its approach to derivatives sourcing, and is aiming to make product formulations biodegradable by 2030.
“Our collective responsibility in tackling the climate crisis is to drive an absolute reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, not simply focus on offsetting – and we have the scale and determination to make it happen,” said Marc Engel, Unilever Chief Supply Chain Officer. “But this is not enough. If we want to have a healthy planet long into the future, we must also look after nature: forests, soil biodiversity and water ecosystems. In most parts of the world, the economic and social inclusion of farmers and smallholders in sustainable agricultural production is the single most important driver of change for halting deforestation, restoring forests and helping regenerate nature. In the end, they are the stewards of the land. We must, therefore, empower and work with a new generation of farmers and smallholders in order to make a step change in regenerating nature.”
THE WHY? Alan Jope, Unilever CEO, explains, “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.”