Unilever’s Sustainable Living brands delivering ‘superior performance’

Unilever is continuing to reap the benefits of green business, with the consumer goods firm's 'Sustainable Living' brands contributing to half of its growth last year, and developing 30% faster than the rest of the business.

Unilever has this week revealed that its Sustainable Living division – which aim sto integrate sustainability into the group’s ‘purpose’ and ‘products’ – are now delivering “superior performance”, as brands including Knorr, Dove and Lipton continue to offer consumers a wider social benefit on top of traditional product values of cost and performance.

“Business can play a leadership role in disrupting markets in support of sustainable living – and they will be rewarded by consumers who are also seeking responsibility and meaning as well as high quality products at the right price,” said Unilever boss Paul Polman. “There is no trade-off between business and sustainability; it is creating real value for Unilever.”

These latest results, which were shared with sustainability specialists from a variety of public and private sectors, also reveal that consumers are becoming more conscious about sustainable products, with 54% looking to buy more sustainably sourced and produced items.

Released as part of the company’s fifth annual report, the encouraging performance of these brands are capturing the core purpose of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, which aims to highlight that sustainability is no longer viewed as a “niche” issue.

Tangible targets

The update also reveals that the company is on track to meet the “vast majority” of the targets established in the Sustainable Living Plan, which includes the company’s flagship target to secure carbon positive status for its own operations.

Since the launch of the Plan, the company has reduced CO2 emissions from energy by 39% per tonne of production; water by 37% per tonne of production; and waste sent to landfill by 97% per tonne of production.

The company will work to accelerate efforts to design products that are less carbon and water hungry, by working in collaboration with partners to address challenges both in the supply chains and also through consumer interactions with the product.

One of the more successful platforms that Unilever has introduced to aid consumers with the concept of sustainable living is the Unilever Foundry initiative. The Foundry has recently established a new global crowdsourcing community to find new ways to tackle global sustainability problems.

The Foundry recently announced a new partnership with crowdfunding site Indiegogo to streamline Unilever’s ability to tap into the potential of crowdfunding for sustainability projects.

Matt Mace

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