Unilever has today revealed its fourth consecutive year of growth for its ‘sustainable living’ brands, which grew 46% faster than the rest of the business and delivered 70% of its turnover growth. All of Unilever’s brands are on a journey towards reducing their environmental footprint and increasing their positive social impact. Sustainable living brands are those that are furthest ahead on the journey to achieving the company’s ambitious sustainability goals.
Figures revealed today show that:
- Unilever now has 26 sustainable living brands (up from 18 in 2016). New entrants include household names such as Vaseline, Sunlight, Sunsilk and Wall’s.
- The list also includes Unilever’s top six brands – Dove, Lipton, Dirt is Good, Rexona, Hellmann’s and Knorr – and its B-Corp certified brands such as Ben and Jerry’s, Seventh Generation and Pukka Herbs.
- Over the last four years sustainable living brands have outperformed the average rate of growth at Unilever. In 2017 sustainable living brands grew 46% faster than the rest of the business and delivered 70% of Unilever’s turnover growth.
The figures show that Unilever is now delivering more social and environmental benefits in more parts of the world through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP). The USLP was launched in 2010 – setting ambitious targets to decouple Unilever’s growth from its environmental impact, while increasing the company’s positive social impact. Today, Unilever is on track to meet around 80% of its commitments, which include improving health and wellbeing for 1 billion people, reducing environmental impact by half and enhancing livelihoods for its millions of employees, suppliers and retailers.
The company is now looking beyond its ULSP targets by carrying out its largest ever listening exercise on the future of sustainable business. Over 40,000 employees responded to the ‘Have Your Say’ project, setting out their views on the priorities that they would like Unilever to focus on and what future success would look like. The results will be used to co-create Unilever’s future agenda.
Paul Polman, Unilever CEO said: “Ever since we launched the USLP in 2010 we have reported openly on our progress. We have made great strides in meeting many of the ambitious targets we set ourselves and the fact that our sustainable living brands are continuing to deliver growth shows that this is a business model that works.
“We also want to be transparent about how much more there is still to do. This is critical because transparency is what gives our business its most important asset – trust. At a time when there is a crisis of trust in many institutions across the world, there has never been a more important time for business to play a leading role in restoring it.”
- By the end of 2017, 601 million people had been reached through Unilever’s programmes on handwashing, sanitation, oral health, self-esteem and safe drinking water. Lifebuoy soap alone has reached over 426 million people with their handwashing programme;
- By the end of 2017, 109 of Unilever’s manufacturing sites across 36 countries were using 100% renewable grid electricity, accounting for 65% of total grid electricity consumption;
- By the end of 2017, 56% of Unilever’s agricultural raw materials were sustainably sourced. In February this year Unilever became the first company to publicly disclose the suppliers and mills the company sources palm oil from both directly and indirectly;
- In 2017 Unilever enabled around 716,000 smallholder farmers to access initiatives aiming to improve their agricultural practices or increase their incomes.