Generally in the past we have focused largely on our manufacturing impacts when it comes the environment. Now what we’re saying is that we’re extending our approach across the whole life cycle, the sourcing of raw materials, through to the manufacturing,
(PRWEB) November 30, 2010
After the recent launch of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, just-food.com spoke with Karen Hamilton, Unilever’s vice president for sustainability and now have exclusive insight into the new strategy and how its ambitious targets set the plan apart from corporate rhetoric.
The new strategy, which aims to "decouple" growth from environmental impact and sets ambitious sustainability targets, has been hailed by some as a game changer and likened to Marks and Spencer's ground-breaking ‘Plan A’ initiative.
Many food manufacturers and retailers have announced plans to alleviate their impact on the environment but Hamilton argues Unilever's plan takes the thinking on sustainability to a new level. "Generally in the past we have focused largely on our manufacturing impacts when it comes the environment. Now what we’re saying is that we’re extending our approach across the whole life cycle, the sourcing of raw materials, through to the manufacturing, through to the way in which the consumer consumes and throws away the product."
As Unilever points out that manufacturing only accounts for 3% of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with a typical product, while consumer use accounts for 70% and raw materials 26%.
"The second thing that's different is that we're looking at all of our brands and all of the 170 countries where we sell. This is a genuinely new approach. I believe it would be very difficult to find any other large company which is making as comprehensive plans for decoupling growth and environmental impact."
With Unilever keen to point out that this plan is different to others, Hamilton agrees that ultimately what will differentiate the plan from the general rhetoric is action. "This is a plan and now we need to be judged by the way in which we execute that plan," says Hamilton. "What we will do is report back in a year's time on what progress we have made and we will have that externally audited as well so that then we can start to be judged on our actions.”
This exclusive insight into Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, is available as part of the just-food Open House which is running until 2 December. To read the full article, visit just-food and register for free.
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