Unilever taken a “significant step” toward its goal of becoming a carbon neutral company before 2030, the company said today, announcing that its factories, offices, R&D facilities, data centers, warehouses and distribution centers across five continents are now powered by 100% renewable grid electricity. The CPG giant further says there have been no “net on-costs” to get to this point, explaining that the savings the company was able to generate through mechanisms such as power purchase agreements (PPAs) have counterbalanced additional costs.
As far as possible, Unilever says, the company’s transition to renewable electricity has been delivered through supporting the development of local renewable energy markets, with 38% of its grid electricity supplied through corporate PPAs and green electricity tariffs. Where it has not been feasible to do this, Unilever has purchased Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) – openly-traded certificates linked to renewable electricity generation. Unilever has also worked with partners around the world to generate renewable electricity at its own sites, with solar power in use at Unilever facilities in 18 countries.
The company met its renewable energy goals a handful of months early, having previously committed to sourcing all grid purchased electricity from renewables by 2020.
Unilever also announced that, via its investment in energy efficiency programs, the company has reduced total energy consumption by 28% and halved carbon emissions per metric ton of production since 2008.
Unilever was one of 27 companies that responded to a call to action from the UN in June to step up their sustainability efforts, committing to reducing emissions further and setting science-based targets aligned with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.