Unilever powered by 100% renewable electricity across five continents

The announcement builds on Unilever’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030

Unilever made the announcement on Monday (16 September), revealing that 38% of its grid electricity has been supplied through corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and green electricity tariffs. Where PPAs and tariffs have not been feasible, Unilever has purchased Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).

The renewable electricity covers Unilever’s factories, offices, R&D facilities, data centres, warehouses and distribution centres.

Unilever’s chief supply chain officer Marc Engel 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.” 

Internal carbon price

The announcement builds on Unilever’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. The company also generates solar electricity at facilities in 18 countries.

Investment into energy efficiency programmes has also led to a 28% fall in energy consumption and a 50% reduction in carbon emissions per tonne of production since 2008. The use of a €40/tonne internal carbon tax has meant that Unilever has been able to invest in energy and climate projects with no net-costs to the business. Since the internal carbon tax was introduced in June 2016, more than €120m has been raised and spent on renewable energy at manufacturing sites.

Unilever now has 16 manufacturing sites that are completely carbon neutral in their energy use.

The company is also a member of the Climate Group’s RE100 initiative. Commenting on the announcement, Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, said: “Congratulations to Unilever – achieving 100% renewable electricity across five continents means the company is quickly advancing on its RE100 goal as it works to become a ‘carbon neutral’ company by 2030.

“Through its membership of RE100, global companies like Unilever are sending a strong demand signal to the few markets where renewables remain harder to access. They want to be able to source renewable electricity locally at an affordable price – and they want to do that now.”

Available to watch on-demand: Free Corporate Power Purchase Agreements online masterclass 

Energy and sustainability professionals keen to find out more about sourcing renewable energy through Corporate PPAs now have access to a 45-minute masterclass on the topic, on-demand. 

Hosted by edit in association with Orsted, the webinar explores what Corporate PPAs are, which organisations are most suited to adopting them, and the business benefits of doing so. 


Matt Mace

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