Unilever’s “sustainable living brands” — brands that Unilever says contribute to environmental and social sustainability — accounted for half the company’s growth in 2014 and grew at twice the rate of the rest of the business, according to CEO Paul Polman.
The company says it is on track to meet most of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan goals, which it set in 2010. The consumer element of the reducing environmental impact goal remains more challenging, and heavily dependent on wider market shifts. But Unilever says it has started to decouple its environmental footprint from its underlying sales growth.
Within the company’s supply chain, more than 55 percent of Unilever’s agricultural raw materials are now sustainably sourced, reducing the risk to supply — more than half way to its 2020 target of 100 percent.
It has also achieved its target of zero non-hazardous waste to landfill across its factory network, and is reducing CO2 from energy and water in manufacturing, reducing them by 37 percent and 32 percent per metric ton of production respectively since 2008.