Unilever cuts 1 million tonnes of CO2

16th April 2013

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Measures to cut Unilever's environmental footprint have saved more than 1 million tonnes of carbon and £300 million in costs since 2008, while product sales grew 26%

The consumer goods giant, which makes household brands Persil, Marmite and Ben & Jerry’s, confirmed that it had saved more than 1 million tonnes of CO2 as a result of energy-efficiency measures, the adoption of renewable energy at its manufacturing plants and through more efficient logistics.

Since 2008, Unilever has switched to sourcing 40% of its energy from renewable sources, installed 30 biomass boilers at its sites and fitted combined heat and power plants that have cut carbon emissions from its European facilities alone by 50,000 tonnes.

By the end of 2012, the company’s sustainability initiatives had saved 838,000 tonnes of carbon from its manufacturing facilities, while cutting energy costs by €100 million and saving €186 million in materials, €17 million in water and €10 million on waste disposal.

Meanwhile, the creation of Unilever’s UltraLogistik control tower in Poland has significantly increased the efficiency of the firm’s transport movements saving €50 million and 211,000 tonnes of CO2.

“CO2 emissions and climate change continue to present businesses with significant challenges. But, they also offer opportunities,” confirmed John Maguire, Unilever’s group manufacturing sustainability director. “We leverage our global scale by selecting ideas that have the best financial and eco-efficiency payback and then implement them globally.

“Eco-efficiency isn’t just about reducing the environmental footprint it also makes good business sense. The benefits are very clear in a world where energy prices are increasing.”

The million tonne carbon saving milestone was achieved at the same time as global sales of Unilever products grew by more than one-quarter from €40.5 billion in 2008 to €51.3 billion in 2012.

The decoupling of emissions from growth signals that the firm is on track to meet its goal to double its size while halving its environmental impacts by 2020.

In January, Unilever revealed that half of its manufacturing plants had diverted all their waste from landfill in 2012, and that it was bringing forward its company-wide zero-waste to targets to 2015.


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