All waste has a use
Unilever today reached a new industry-leading achievement of sending zero non-hazardous waste to landfill across more than 600 sites in 70 countries including factories, warehouses, distribution centers and offices. Having identified the different non-hazardous waste streams in our operations, we have now found alternative routes for the waste from these sites.
In January 2015, we 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 through the four ‘R’ approach of reducing, reusing, recovering or 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.
Inspiring a widescale movement
Our priority now is to continually reduce waste and adopt a circular model whereby our waste becomes someone else’s resource. As well as maintaining zero waste status at these locations, work continues to bring all sites in line – including all future site openings and acquisitions – and ultimately achieve zero waste across our value chain.
We believe this will be possible by working with, and learning from, suppliers, partners and other organizations. For that reason, we are also announcing today a new collaboration with the leading value-chain platform 2degrees to help bring organizations together to leverage the zero waste model. The new collaboration program will go live in summer 2016.
Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Unilever’s Chief Supply Chain Officer, says: “The global challenge of a growing population relying on limited resources is very real. Our zero waste to landfill goal underpins Unilever’s sustainable growth ambitions, as well as our commitment to become resource resilient and tackle climate change.
“While I am proud of what our employees and partners have achieved, there is a lot more to be done to inspire a widescale movement. Our collaboration with 2degrees will allow us to share lessons and experiences, and to encourage other businesses and industries to take up the zero waste challenge. By building a network of partners, we can eliminate waste on an unprecedented scale across the globe.”
Recognized for our efforts
Our efforts and results have been widely recognized by external bodies. For example, we are the Food Products Industry Leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and we were awarded a Gold Class distinction for excellent sustainability performance by RobecoSAM in its Sustainability Yearbook 2015.
*Hazardous waste represents a very small percentage of total waste and the types of materials that make up hazardous waste vary due to differing local waste regulations around the world.