The consumer goods giant pledges to invest €1 billion to accelerate its commitment to net-zero emissions by 2039
Unilever corporate bulding

Unilever has pledged to achieve net-zero emissions from all its products by 2039 and committed the creation of a €1 billion Climate and Nature Fund to accelerate action.

The multinational food and drink giant announced its plans a few days after Nestlé revealed plans to make its entire global water portfolio carbon neutral and replenish associated watersheds by 2025.

For Unilever, the sustainable goal involves working with a new generation of farmers and smallholders, driving programmes to protect and restore forests, soil and biodiversity.

“We will work with governments and other organisations to improve access to water for communities in water-stressed areas,” said the company in a statement.

Funding sustainability

Unilever said the Climate and Nature Fund will collectively invest €1 billion, and the assets will be used over the next ten years to take meaningful and decisive action.

Projects would include landscape restoration, reforestation, carbon sequestration, wildlife protection and water preservation.

The company committed to achieving a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023. “To do this, we will increase traceability and transparency by using emerging digital technologies, accelerating smallholder inclusion and changing our approach to derivates sourcing,” read the statement.

For Unilever, the new initiatives will build on the work that is already underway, such as Ben & Jerry’s initiative to reduce GHG emissions from dairy farms; Seventh Generation advocating for clean energy for all; and Knorr supporting farmers to grow food more sustainably.

“While the world is dealing with the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and grappling with serious issues of inequality, we can’t let ourselves forget that the climate crisis is still a threat to all of us,” said Alan Jope, Unilever chief executive.

For Jope, climate change, nature degradation, biodiversity decline, water scarcity – all these issues are interconnected and must be addressed simultaneously.

“In doing so, we must also recognise that the climate crisis is not only an environmental emergency; it also has a terrible impact on lives and livelihoods. We, therefore, have a responsibility to help tackle the crisis: as a business, and through direct action by our brands,” he added.

The full sustainability pledge is is available on Unilever’s website.

Date published: 15 June 2020

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