Unilever Sustainable Living Plan Helping to Drive Growth

  Unilever Sustainable Living Plan Helping to Drive Growth

Business Wire

LONDON & ROTTERDAM, Netherlands -- April 22, 2013

Unilever’s commitment to put sustainable and equitable growth at the heart of
its business model is helping to drive increased sales while reducing costs
and risks, according to the second Unilever Sustainable Living Plan Progress
Report published today.

Brands that have made sustainability central to their brand proposition or
product innovation have accelerated sales during 2012:

  *Lifebuoy soap, which has increased its handwashing education programmes,
    has seen double digit growth in each of the last three years;
  *Dry shampoos such as TRESemmé and Dove, which result in 90% less
    greenhouse gas emissions compared to washing hair in heated water, grew by
    nearly 20% in 2012;
  *Calorie-controlled Max and Paddle Pop children’s ice creams grew high
    double digit in 2012.

Unilever is also accelerating the integration of sustainability into the heart
of many of its biggest brands. For example Dove, its largest personal care
brand with sales of over €3 billion, redesigned its self esteem programme for
young people in 2012 to further strengthen its engagement with consumers by
helping them look and feel their best. Last week Dove launched a new Real
Beauty campaign and just in a couple of days the video reached over 10 million
views on YouTube. Another example comes from Unilever’s biggest brand, Knorr,
which launched its first product with a ‘sustainably grown’ label on pack,
with more to come.

At the same time, eco-efficiencies in Unilever factories from reducing energy,
water, materials and waste have enabled the company to take over €300 million
out of the system since 2008. The company has also reduced risk at a time of
volatility in food commodity prices by increasing its purchases of
agricultural raw materials from sustainable sources from 14% in 2010 to 36% in
2012.

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever: “Sustainability is contributing to our virtuous
circle of growth. The more our products meet social needs and help people live
sustainably, the more popular our brands become and the more we grow. And the
more efficient we are at managing resources such as energy and raw materials,
the more we lower our costs and reduce the risks to our business and the more
we are able to invest in sustainable innovation and brands.”

Unilever Sustainable Living Plan 2^nd Year Progress

In 2010 Unilever set three big goals, all to be achieved by 2020:

1) Help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and
well-being;

2) Source 100% of agricultural raw materials sustainably;

3) Halve the environmental footprint of its products across the value chain.

Two years in to its ten-year Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever
reports solid progress on two of its three big goals.

Help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and
well-being

The company has reached 224 million people with programmes to reduce
diarrhoeal disease through handwashing with soap, provide safe drinking water,
promote oral health and improve young people’s self-esteem. Lifebuoy soap
reached 71 million people in 16 countries in 2012 – five times as many people
as in 2010.

Source 100% of agricultural raw materials sustainably

Unilever now buys over a third (36%) of its agricultural raw materials from
sustainable sources, with particular progress in palm oil, sugar, cocoa,
vegetables and sunflower oil. We have also now helped to train 450,000 tea
farmers in sustainable practices, of whom over 300,000 have achieved
Rainforest Alliance certification.

Halve the environmental footprint of its products across the value chain

Unilever is making good progress in areas it can control. Between 2008-2012
greenhouse gas emissions from energy in manufacturing have been cut by nearly
a third and manufacturing waste has halved. Over half of Unilever's 252
manufacturing sites around the world now send zero non-hazardous waste to
landfill, and the company has set itself a new target of extending this to all
its factories by 2015. However, its own manufacturing impacts account for only
a small part of the total environmental footprint of Unilever’s products in
the total value chain – just 4% of its greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint for
example. The majority of Unilever’s product footprint is in the sourcing of
raw materials (25% of its GHG footprint) and in the way consumers cook, clean
and wash with the products (68% of its GHG footprint). One of our biggest
challenges remains how we encourage our consumers to use our products more
sustainably at home.

Looking ahead

Although there is considerable progress, the company also faces challenges
which it cannot solve alone. To reach its goals and achieve large scale
change, Unilever believes even more collaboration is needed between companies,
governments, NGOs and consumers. Among the areas where the company would
welcome more cross-sector collaboration are: reducing and eliminating
deforestation associated with soy, palm oil, beef, pulp and paper by 2020;
integrating hygiene behaviour change into national health policies and
education curricula; linking more smallholder farmers into food supply chains;
and building infrastructure to promote waste recycling and recovery.

Helping consumers change their behaviour to live more sustainably is also key.
In the absence of major framework changes by governments, the company is
tackling this in a number of ways, from driving habit change through packaging
solutions, such as single dose laundry detergent capsules which make it easier
for consumers to dose accurately, to working with others such as retailers and
civil society organisations to encourage shoppers to make sustainable choices
at the supermarket and in the home. In addition, Unilever is leveraging its
scale and reach to work with its many suppliers across the value chain to
instil sustainable practices.

Paul Polman said: “The world continues to face big challenges. The lack of
access of many to food, nutrition, basic hygiene and sanitation, clean
drinking water or a decent job should be a concern to all of us. We firmly
believe business has a big role to play in striving for more equitable and
sustainable growth, but large-scale change will only come about if there is
real collaboration between companies, governments and NGOs across all these
areas.”

About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal
Care products with sales in over 190 countries. Our products are present in 7
out of 10 homes globally and are used by over 2 billion people on a daily
basis. We work with 173,000 colleagues around the world, and generated annual
sales of €51.3 billion in 2012. Over half of our company’s footprint is in the
faster growing developing and emerging markets (55% in 2012). Working to
create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get
more out of life. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known brands
such as Knorr, Persil / Omo, Dove, Sunsilk, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Rexona / Sure,
Wall’s, Lux, Rama, Ponds and Axe.

Our vision is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our
environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and
increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to helping more than a
billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing
all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling our
growth from our environmental impact. Supporting these goals are seven
commitments underpinned by targets spanning our social, environmental and
economic performance across the value chain. See more on the Unilever
Sustainable Living Plan at www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/.

Unilever has been recognised in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for
14 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and
attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good
Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. In 2012, for the second year in a row,
Unilever led the Climate Counts Company Scorecard and topped the list of
Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan / SustainAbility
latest annual survey. The company is an employer of choice in many of the
countries in which it operates and is seen as a symbol for innovation and
leadership development.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit
www.unilever.com.

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Contact:

Unilever
Flip Dötsch
+31 (0) 10 217 3715
+31 (0) 6 11375464
Flip.Dotsch@unilever.com
 
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