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Unilever Consumer Tests Aim to Cut Waste 25%

Unilever UK & Ireland is launching a consumer-centric project aimed at helping families live more sustainably and reduce household waste by 25 percent, while cutting their monthly food bill by 15 percent.

The Sustain Ability Challenge, a project developed in partnership with consultant firm The Futures Company, has enlisted 12 UK families to test practical ways to adapt their daily routines in order to reduce their impact on the environment and cut household bills.

Unilever will provide advice and tools designed to help the families achieve this goal. Their progress will be independently measured by The Futures Company and published in 2013.

Seven out of 10 of UK adults say the main barrier to living a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle is cost, according to research by The Futures Company. Unilever said it wants to debunk this erroneous perception.

The challenge also was designed to understand consumer attitudes to food waste. Fabian Society research, which was supported by Unilever UK & Ireland, found more than 60 percent of adults recognize food waste is a problem that needs to be solved. More than half (53 percent) of adults said they would waste less food if it could save them money and 28 percent said they would change their behavior if it was easier to do.

The Sustain Ability Challenge is Unilever’s latest project to support the company’s sustainable living plan, a series of time-sensitive commitments aimed at reducing its environmental footprint and improving its social and economic impact on consumers.

More than two-thirds of the company’s environmental impact stems directly from consumers using its products at home, Unilever said. Changing consumer behavior is a key component in the company’s effort to reduce its environmental footprint, Unilever said.

Unilever Food Solutions, Domino’s Pizza, Greene King and Greggs, along with 65 other UK hotels, restaurants, contract caterers and government departments, have agreed to cut food and associated packaging waste five percent by 2015, the equivalent of about 100 million meals.

The five percent reduction target contained in the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement will be evaluated against a 2012 baseline, and will be measured by CO2e emissions.

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