In January 2015 Unilever announced that over 240 factories had achieved zero waste to landfill status – by replicating this zero waste model in other parts of the business, nearly 400 additional sites have now eliminated waste to landfill. This has been achieved by continuing with the four ‘R’ approach of reducing, reusing, recovering and recycling, proving that waste can be seen as a resource with many alternative uses – from converting factory waste to building materials, to composting food waste from staff cafeterias.
Unilever’s priority is to continually reduce waste and embrace circular models. Apart from maintaining zero waste status at these locations, work continues to bring all sites in line, including all future site openings and acquisitions. Unilever ultimately aims to achieve zero waste across the value chain.
Unilever believes that its own goals, and moving other businesses and industries to zero waste, can only be realized by working with, and learning from, suppliers, partners and other organizations. For that reason, Unilever has also announced a new collaboration with the leading value-chain platform, 2degrees, to help bring organizations together to leverage the zero waste model. The new collaboration programme will go live in summer 2016.
Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Unilever chief supply chain officer, said, “The global challenge of a growing population relying on limited resources is very real. Our zero waste goal underpins Unilever’s sustainable growth ambitions, as well as our commitment to become resource resilient and tackle climate change.”
According to Martin Chilcott, founder and CEO of 2degrees, “Unilever is continuing to demonstrate the leadership necessary to tackle the biggest resource efficiency and sustainability challenges that businesses face. To achieve bold goals, such as zero waste in the value chain, we need equally bold action and collaboration at scale. I’m delighted to be working with them to co-create a programme, which will be launched in summer 2016, to help make this happen.”
Unilever sustainable living plan
Unilever has stated that its ambition is to double the size of its business while reducing its environmental impact. The company is the Food Products Industry Leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and was awarded a Gold Class distinction for its excellent sustainability performance by RobecoSAM in their Sustainability Yearbook 2015. The zero non-hazardous waste to landfill target forms a key element of Unilever’s sustainable growth ambitions.
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