Unilever has announced plans to become carbon positive by 2030

Unilever has announced plans to become carbon positive by 2030

Unilever has announced a deadline of 2030 for its operations to become carbon positive.

The move is in line with its plans to reach net zero emissions by 2020.

The Magnum ice cream maker plans to source 100% of its energy for all its operations from renewable sources by 2030. A spokesperson for Unilever told just-food the target is an update on the company's Sustainable Living Plan, a series of goals on sustainability launched in 2010 that included an ambition to be 100% powered by renewable energy but with only an interim target of sourcing 40% renewable energy by 2020. 

"With this announcement we are, for the first time, putting a deadline on our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan ambition of sourcing 100% renewable energy for our operations by 2030. We will also raise our interim target for 2020 to have 50% of our energy from renewable sources, not 40% as we first committed under the plan."

All electricity Unilever buys from the grid will also be from renewable sources by 2020. Unilever said it will also eliminate coal from its energy mix by 2020.

CEO Paul Polman said: "The reality is, if we don't tackle climate change we won't achieve economic growth. This is an issue for all businesses, not just Unilever. We all have to act. Runaway climate change could wipe out development gains of the last century in little more than a generation. The World Bank now estimates that climate change could push more than 100 million additional people back into poverty by 2030. This is not acceptable for governments, business, civil society and humanity as a whole."

Polman urged leaders of other businesses to get on board in the run up to the Paris Climate Conference - a convening of the United Nations which will involve climate negotiations. The event will see the unveiling of the Paris Pledge for Action, focused on ways for the private sector to drive down carbon emissions.

"A high level of ambition is needed from Paris, which will act as a strong signal to investors. We also need to see businesses doing more to tackle climate change in their own operations and encouraging world leaders to be bold. We must seize the business opportunities presented by the green economy to make sure the Paris commitments are met, or even better, exceeded," he said.

Meanwhile, Unilever has announced its Japanese operations have switched to 100% renewable power for all its domestic operations.

The move means 32% of Unilever products sold in the country (those that have been made at Unilever sites in Japan) can claim to be entirely carbon neutral. Eligible products including Ben & Jerry's ice cream, will carry the Green Power Logo from the first quarter of 2016.