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The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

Business growth should not be at the expense of people and the planet. That’s why we’re changing the way we do business, and why we want to change the way business is done.

We want to help create a world where everyone can live well within the natural limits of the planet. By using our resources as a business to address issues such as health and hygiene, gender equality, climate change and plastic packaging waste, we are delivering short-term and long-term benefits for our shareholders and society.

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) is our blueprint for achieving our Vision to grow our business, whilst decoupling our environmental footprint from our growth and increasing our positive social impact.

Launched in 2010, the USLP is driving value for our business, our people and our consumers. It’s creating sustainable growth through brands with purpose, cutting business costs, reducing risks and helping us to build trust – to generate long-term value for the multiple stakeholders we serve.

But we don’t have all the answers and the biggest challenges facing the world cannot be addressed by one company alone. Systems-level change needs collaboration to succeed. That’s why we’re taking action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals as part of our USLP.

Our USLP is made up of three big goals and commitments across nine pillars, supported by targets that span our social, economic and environmental performance across the value chain. It contains stretching targets, including on how people use our products and how we source raw materials.

Each year we publish online a comprehensive account of progress towards these goals in our Sustainable Living Report. You can find a summary of our progress in this section. For more detailed information, please visit the reporting hub on Unilever.com

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan sets out to decouple our growth from our environmental footprint, while increasing our positive social impact. Our Plan has three big goals to achieve, underpinned by nine commitments and targets spanning our social, environmental and economic performance across the value chain. We will continue to work with others to focus on those areas where we can drive the biggest change and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

We have three big goals

Improving Health
and well-being
for more than

1 billion

By 2020 we will help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being.

UN Sustainability Development Plan

We are taking action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals


By 2020 we will help more than a billion people to improve their health and hygiene. This will help reduce the incidence of life-threatening diseases like diarrhoea.

601 million people reached by end 2017

  • Reduce diarrhoeal and respiratory disease through handwashing

  • Provide safe drinking water

  • Improve access to sanitation

  • Improve oral hygiene

  • Improve self-esteem

  • Help improve skin healing

Find out more about health & hygiene

We will continually work to improve the taste and nutritional quality of all our products. The majority of our products meet, or are better than, benchmarks based on national nutritional recommendations. Our commitment goes further: by 2020, we will double the proportion of our portfolio that meets the highest nutritional standards, based on globally recognised dietary guidelines. This will help hundreds of millions of people to achieve a healthier diet.

39%† of our portfolio by volume met highest nutritional standards in 2017

  • Reduce salt levels
Saturated fat:
  • Reduce saturated fat

  • Increase essential fatty acids

  • Reduce saturated fat in more products
  • Remove trans fat
  • Reduce sugar
Reduce calories:
  • In children's ice cream
  • In more ice cream products
  • Provide healthy eating information
Find out more about improving nutrition

Reducing
environmental
impact by

half

By 2030 our goal is to halve the environmental footprint of the making and use of our products as we grow our business.*

UN Sustainability Development Plan

We are taking action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Our products' lifecycle:

Our products’ lifecycle: Halve the greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of our products across the lifecycle by 2030.

Our greenhouse gas impact per consumer use has increased by around 9% since 2010*

Our manufacturing:

By 2020 CO2 emissions from energy from our factories will be at or below 2008 levels despite significantly higher volumes.

-47% reduction in CO2 from energy per tonne of production since 2008

Become carbon postive in manufacturing:
  • Source all energy renewably

  • Source grid electricity renewably

  • Eliminate coal from energy mix

  • Make surplus energy available to communities

  • New factories

Reduce GHG from washing clothes:
  • Reformulation
  • Reduce GHG from transport

  • Reduce GHG from refrigeration
  • Reduce energy consumption in our offices
  • Reduce employee travel
Find out more about greenhouse gases

Our products in use:

Halve the water associated with the consumer use of our products by 2020.+

Our water impact per consumer use has reduced by around 2% since 2010*

Our manufacturing:

By 2020 water abstraction by our global factory network will be at or below 2008 levels despite significantly higher volumes.

-39% reduction in water abstraction per tonne of production since 2008

Reduce water use in manufacturing process:
  • New factories

Reduce water use in the laundry process:
  • Products that use less water

  • Reduce water use in agriculture

Find out more about water use

Our products:

Halve the waste associated with the disposal of our products by 2020.

Our waste impact per consumer use has reduced by around 29% since 2010*

Our manufacturing:

By 2020 total waste sent for disposal will be at or below 2008 levels despite significantly higher volumes.

-98% reduction in total waste per tonne of production since 2008

Reduce waste from manufacturing:
  • Zero non-hazardous waste to landfill
  • New factories
  • Reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging

  • Reduce packaging

Recycle packaging:
  • Increase recycling and recovery rates

  • Increase recycled content

  • Tackle sachet waste

  • Eliminate PVC

Reduce office waste:
  • Recycle, reuse, recover

  • Reduce paper consumption

  • Eliminate paper in processes

Find out more about waste & packaging

By 2020 we will source 100% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably.

56% of agricultural raw materials sustainably sourced by end 2017

  • Sustainable palm oil

  • Paper and board

  • Soy beans and soy oil

  • Tea

  • Fruit

  • Vegetables

  • Cocoa

  • Sugar

  • Sunflower oil

  • Rapeseed oil

  • Dairy

  • Fairtrade Ben & Jerry’s

  • Cage-free eggs

  • Increase sustainable sourcing of office materials

Find out more about sustainable sourcing

Enhancing
Livelihoods
for

millions

By 2020 we will enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business.

UN Sustainability Development Plan

We are taking action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals


By 2020 we will advance human rights across our operations and extended supply chain.

55% of procurement spend through suppliers meeting our Responsible Sourcing Policy’s mandatory requirements

We continued to embed human rights, focusing on 8 salient issues in our Human Rights Report

Our Total Recordable Frequency Rate for safety improved to 0.89 per million hours worked

  • Implement UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

  • Source 100% of procurement spend in line with our Responsible Sourcing Policy

  • Create framework for fair compensation

  • Improve employee health, nutrition and well-being

  • Reduce workplace injuries and accidents

Find out more about fairness in the workplace

By 2020 we will empower 5 million women.

1,259,000 women enabled to access initiatives aiming to promote their safety, develop their skills or expand their opportunities*

  • Build a gender-balanced organisation with a focus on management

  • Promote safety for women in communities where we operate

  • Enhance access to training and skills

  • Expand opportunities in our retail value chain

Find out more about opportunities for women

By 2020 we will have a positive impact on the lives of 5.5 million people.

716,000† smallholder farmers and 1.6 million small-scale retailers enabled to access initiatives aiming to improve agricultural practices or increase incomes*

  • Improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers

  • Improve incomes of small-scale retailers

  • Increase participation of young entrepreneurs in our value chain

Find out more about inclusive business
Key to our performance
  • Achieved

    This is the number of targets we have achieved

  • On-Plan

    This is the number of targets we are on track to achieve

  • Off-Plan

    This is the number of targets we are currently not on track

  • %

    Of target achieved

    This is the percentage of the target we are on track to achieve

 Independently assured by PwC
* Our environmental targets are expressed on a 'per consumer use' basis. This means a single use, portion or serving of a product. 
+ In seven water-scarce countries representing around half the world's population. 
• In 2017 around 370,000 women accessed initiatives under both Opportunities for Women and Inclusive Business.

About our strategy

Woman collecting water from a Sunlight water centre

Our vision is to grow our business whilst decoupling our environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact.

Embedding sustainability

Farmers growing sustainable tomatoes for Knorr

Integrating sustainability into our strategy, brands and innovation is helping to drive business growth.

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