The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

We believe business growth should not be at the expense of people and the planet. That’s why we’ve changed the way we do business, and why we want to change the way business is done. Our business model drives growth that is consistent, profitable, competitive – and responsible.

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. It is driving growth through brands with purpose, taking out costs from our business, reducing risks and helping us to build trust – creating long-term value for the multiple stakeholders we serve.

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

Our Plan sets stretching targets, including how we source raw materials and how consumers use our brands. It has three big goals, supported by commitments and targets grouped across nine pillars which span our social, economic and environmental performance across the value chain.


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.


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.

538 million people reached by end 2016

  • Reduce diarrhoeal and respiratory disease through handwashing

  • Provide safe drinking water

  • Improve access to sanitation

  • Improve oral health

  • Improve self-esteem

Find out more

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.

35% of our portfolio by volume met highest nutritional standards in 2016

  • Reduce salt levels
Saturated fat:
  • Reduce saturated fat

  • Increase essential fatty acids

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

Reducing
environmental
impact by

1/2

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

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 8% since 2010*

Our manufacturing:

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

43% 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

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 7% since 2010*

Our manufacturing:

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

37% 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

Our products:

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

Our waste impact per consumer use has reduced by around 28% since 2010*

Our manufacturing:

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

96% 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

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

51% of agricultural raw materials sustainably sourced by end 2016

  • 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

Enhancing
Livelihoods
for

millions

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


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

67% 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 1.01 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

By 2020 we will empower 5 million women.

920,000 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 value chain

Find out more

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

650,000 smallholder farmers, and 1.5 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
Key
  • Achieved

    Achieved -

  • On-Plan

    On Plan -

  • Off-Plan

    Off Plan -

  • %

    Of target achieved

    Of target Achieved -

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.

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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