2010 - Present: Sustainable living
Recognising that we are at a turning point in history, we develop our strategy of decoupling growth from our environmental impact, while increasing Unilever's positive social impact.
Making sustainable living commonplace
In the face of climate change, instability and threats to the progress made in raising living standards during the 20th century, Unilever launches the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, our blueprint for a sustainable business model.
The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan sets out hundreds of targets and commitments which fall under three key goals:
- We will help more than a billion people improve their health and well-being
- We will halve the environmental impact of the making and use of our products
- We will enhance the livelihoods of thousands of people in our supply chain.
After its 2010 launch, the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is recognised by independent commentators as one of the most ambitious sustainability plans ever created by an international corporation – and it continues to evolve, driving growth in our business while harnessing our reach and expertise to create change in the world.
By 2014, our ‘sustainable living brands’ – brands which have a sustainable purpose and contribute to one or more of our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan goals – are growing at twice the rate of the rest of the business and making a major contribution to overall growth.
Beyond our business
The role that business can play in creating a safer, fairer future remains at the top of the global agenda, highlighted by events such as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference and the launch of the UN’s global goals.
Unilever identifies three areas where we can help deliver real systems change by working in partnership with others in business, civil society, government and NGOs: climate change and deforestation; water, sanitation and hygiene; and sustainable agriculture and food security.
Unilever is named sustainability leader in the Food & Beverage ‘super sector’ of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, for the 12th consecutive year.
Alberto Culver shareholders vote in favour of our acquisition of the company, bringing brands including TRESemmé, Alberto VO5, Nexxus, St Ives and Simple into the Unilever portfolio.
Our CEO at the time, Paul Polman, pledges Unilever’s backing for an industry-wide move towards supporting sustainable agriculture at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Unilever's turnover exceeds €50 billion, with all regions and categories contributing to growth. We now have 14 brands each with sales of more than €1 billion a year.
We continue to make good progress towards meeting the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan targets. More than a third of agricultural raw materials are sourced sustainably and more than 50% of factories achieve the goal of sending no waste to landfill. We reach 224 million people through programmes to reduce diarrhoeal disease by handwashing with soap, provide safe drinking water, promote oral health and improve young people’s self-esteem.
Unilever is named as a winner of the prestigious 2013 Catalyst Award for our initiatives that expand opportunities for women and business. The company re-enters the Myanmar market with the launch of full business operations including a new manufacturing facility and new headquarters in Yangon.
Unilever scoops 44 awards at the 60th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
We launch the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneur Awards, an international awards programme designed to inspire young people around the world to tackle environmental, social and health issues.
Despite a difficult economic environment, Unilever achieves a fifth successive year of top- and bottom-line growth. We continue to reshape our portfolio, making a number of strategic acquisitions over the year including the Talenti super-premium ice cream business in North America and the Qinyuan water purification business in China.
Unilever is named leader of the Food, Beverage and Tobacco industry group in the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) review.
Unilever continues to show consistent profitable growth in volatile markets while strengthening the sustainability of our portfolio.
For the 15th time in 16 years, Unilever was named leader of the Food, Beverage & Tobacco Industry Group with a score of 92 out of 100. We were also selected as an index component of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) following our participation in the 2015 RobecoSAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment.
In January, we announce that we have achieved our target of sending zero non-hazardous waste to landfill from our entire network of factories, while in June we achieve a saving of 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions since 2008.
‘Sustainable living brands’ now represent half of our growth and are growing twice as fast as our other brands. A growing number of our leading brands have integrated sustainability into the contribution they make to the world – their purpose – and into their products’ ingredients and life-cycle.
We contribute to the launch of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and join global calls for action at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21). We announce that Unilever will be ‘carbon positive’ by 2030.
In ‘Mobilising Collective Action: USLP Summary of Progress 2015’, we report that we are on track to achieve the majority of our USLP targets and make an unprecedented call for collective action to address the biggest challenges facing the world.