Unilever will source 100% of its agricultural materials sustainably

Unilever will source 100% of its agricultural materials sustainably

Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever has announced plans to halve the environmental footprint of its products.

The Knorr maker's 'Sustainable Living Plan', which will see the firm source 100% of its agricultural materials sustainably, was launched simultaneously in London, Rotterdam, New Delhi and New York today (15 November).

"We have ambitious plans to grow the company," CEO Paul Polman said. "But growth at any price is not viable. We have to develop new ways of doing business which will ensure that our growth does not come at the expense of the world's diminishing natural resources."

Polman also announced plans to help over 1bn people "take action to improve their health and wellbeing", mostly in developing countries, over the next ten years.

The Sustainable Living Plan sets out around 50 social, economic and environmental targets. It will see Unilever, whose food brands include Knorr soup, Flora spreads and Magnum ice cream, halve the greenhouse gas emissions, water and waste used by the company in its direct operations, and by its suppliers and consumers.

"By halving the total carbon, water and waste impact of our products, primarily through innovation in the way we source, make and package them, we can help people make a small difference every time they use them, Polman said. "As our products are used 2bn times a day in nearly every country in the world, our consumers' small actions add up to make a big difference."

Other goals Unilever to be achieved by or before 2020 include: sourcing 100% of palm oil from sustainable sources, and working with Oxfam, the Rainforest Alliance and others to link around 500,000 small-holder farmers and small-scale distributors into its supply chain.

Click here to view the full sustainability report and check back later for further insight into Unilever's plans.