Environmental sustainability

Reducing Unilever’s environmental impact.

SEAC uses the latest science and technology in its work, constantly looks to develop through embracing new scientific developments and working with the best scientists externally.  We publish our findings in peer-reviewed journals, and regularly present our research at international conferences and seminars.  Some examples of our work within environmental sustainability are given below.

Greenhouse gas (GHG)

Unilever’s ambition is to double the size of the business while reducing its environmental footprint. This includes greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our products’ life cycles.

Over 2008-2010, Unilever conducted extensive work to understand the total greenhouse gas footprint of our product portfolio. Based on this analysis we set ourselves an ambitious target to halve the ‘per consumer use’ greenhouse gas impact of our products.

This target will be achieved through:

  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with our raw materials

  • reducing the greenhouse gas impacts from our manufacturing and increasing our use of renewable energy

  • reducing the emissions related to transport and refrigeration, and

  • reducing the greenhouse gas impacts associated with the use of our products, in particular our skin, hair and laundry products.

SEAC is currently focusing on ways to improve the quality and scope of GHG impact assessment for agricultural raw materials, for example, by incorporating the GHG emissions arising from land use and land use change and biodegradation, and by understanding the contribution of agricultural certification schemes (such as Rainforest Alliance or the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) on GHG.

Another important area of research is on finding ways to bridge knowledge gaps in the GHG assessment of products. In all this work we complement our internal capability by partnering with leading international scientists in GHG assessment.