Unilever has announced a new climate plan with the intent to have net zero emissions by 2039.
The brand is investing $1 billion into a “climate and nature fund” that will address issues including reforestation, water preservation, and wildlife protection. In an effort to become more transparent, Unilever will also begin disclosing the amount of carbon used to produce its 70,000 products—all of which will become biodegradable throughout the next decade. Consumer preferences for sustainable goods are increasing as customers put more research into finding what products are made from, presenting an opportunity for brands to tout their sustainability efforts, according to a Gartner report. For its new plan, Unilever released a short video across social media and YouTube detailing its intentions and how it will affect countries around the world. The company is advertising its announcement using the hashtag #HealthyPlanetForAll on Twitter and Instagram.
Unilever’s environmental pledge is one of the largest made by a corporation to date. As the brand services two billion consumers a day, overhauling its current system to enact sustainable production is encouraging, and could strengthen loyalty with consumers looking for brands taking action against climate change. To reach its lofty goals, Unilever plans to enforce a “deforestation-free” supply chain by 2023, prioritize suppliers who have already set their own carbon emissions targets, and implement water stewardship programs around the world in the next ten years. Unilever’s new announcement follows its original climate pledge in 2010 to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. In 2019, the company declared it would also reduce its use of virgin plastic by 50% by 2025. As a leading name in the consumer goods industry, Unilever’s plan to make significant changes to its business practices could embolden other brands to become more environmentally sound.
For the past ten years, Unilever has been on a journey to become more sustainable, but is now elevating its pledge by fundamentally changing the ways it creates and delivers products to consumers around the world. The sweeping new commitments to climate change could inspire consumers to shop more sustainably and take time to think about what additional changes brands could present to combat environmental devastation.