Unilever promotes sustainable living to combat food waste and food poverty

Unilever UK will advertise its corporate umbrella brand on prime-time television to raise sustainability issues and highlight the paradox of food waste versus food poverty in the developed world.

The advertisement will be part of Unilever’s Project Sunlight campaign launched last year with the aim of combating food poverty and food waste in developed markets and improve hygiene, sanitation, and hand washing to tackle disease in the developing world.

Unilever hopes to draw attention to the findings of its report – Waste Not, Want Not – which revealed that 42% of households in developed countries find it difficult to live on their income and with 20% borrowing money from friends and family to feed their families. However, up to 75% of people still throw away edible food.

Inspired by this food waste versus food poverty paradox, Unilever and official charity partner Oxfam launched the #ClearAPlate campaign, which raises the issue of food poverty and encourages people to consider how much food they waste.

Unilever UK will also deliver on its own commitment to providing 500,000 meals to families in need.

Behaviour change

Unilever vice president of branding building, foods and refreshments Jon Goldstone, who is leading the launch of the brand in the UK, said: “We’ve made good progress in sustainability since the launch of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan in 2010, but consumer behavioural change is still the most challenging area for us, so we hope that through this campaign we can get our shoppers on board, living more sustainably.

“Through our UK iteration of the Project Sunlight campaign, we are highlighting two very important issues: food waste and food poverty. However, we know that it’s not as simple as saying ‘give your leftover food to those in need’, but by talking about these two issues together, we hope people will think about their food waste in the context of people who cannot afford to eat properly.

“We’ve also been working on food poverty, setting up 41 food banks with Oxfam since 2012, and providing nearly two million meal to families living in poverty. So, our new Project Sunlight TV advert, and our #ClearAPlate campaign, helps to bring these two issues together for the masses.”

In September, Unilever joined forces with the Department for International Development (DFID) to create jobs, improve water and sanitation, and improve sustainable supply chains in developing countries.

Lois Vallely

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