Unilever reports on progress against Sustainable Living Plan targets

The report details the progress Unilever is making towards meeting its Unilever Sustainable Living Plan targets.


  • Sustainable palm oil target to be reached three years ahead of schedule 
  • New goal announced to buy 100% palm oil from traceable sources by 2020 
  • Advanced discussions with Indonesian government for investing over €100m in plant to help achieve new target


  • ‘Technical proof of principle’ established of turning sachets, pouches and other flexible plastic waste into fuel oil at a viable cost
  • Signed partnership with UNICEF and Department of Rural Development, Government of MP, to implement hygiene awareness program in over 5000 schools in 2012.
  • To harvest 100 billion litres of water by 2015 to benefit one million people 

New Delhi, 24 April 2012 – Dr. M. Veerappa Moily, Hon’ble Minister for Corporate Affairs, Government of India, and Nitin Paranjpe, CEO and Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), today unveiled the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan progress report for 2011 at a meeting attended by NGOs, IGOs, corporates, consumer associations, industry bodies, media and other stakeholder groups.

The report was released simultaneously by Unilever CEO Paul Polman in London. Similar stakeholder briefing event was held today in Rotterdam and will be repeated later today in Washington and Sao Paolo.

The report details the progress Unilever is making towards meeting its Unilever Sustainable Living Plan targets.The plan, published in November 2010, broke new ground by committing to take responsibility for the company’simpacts right across the value chain, from the sourcing of raw materials all the way through to the consumer’s use of its products to cook, clean and wash.

As part of the update, Unilever announced that by the end of 2012 it will reach its target of 100% certified sustainable palm oil covered by Green Palm Certificates, a full three years ahead of schedule. Whilst this is strong progress, the company recognises that the Green Palm Scheme is only a step along the road towards sustainable palm oil, not the end game. Although it will be even more difficult to achieve, Unilever has now set a new target of purchasing all its palm oil from traceable sources by 2020.

To help achieve this goal, it announced that it is in advanced stages of discussions with the Indonesian government for investing over €100m in a large processing plant for palm oil derivatives in Sumatra. This plant will not only cut back on transport and save money but it will make it easier to trace the sources of the palm oil used.

In India, Hindustan Unilever has made significant progress on meeting the various Unilever Sustainable Living Plan targets. For example, partnering with a company in Chennai, HUL has demonstrated ‘technical proof of principle’ of turning sachets, pouches and other flexible plastic waste into fuel oil at a viable cost. HUL factory in Pondicherry has used the fuel to power its boiler. In another initiative, HUL has entered into partnership with UNICEF and Department of Rural Development, Government of Madhya Pradesh, to implement hygiene awareness program in over 5000 schools in 2012. This will further strengthen the Lifebuoy handwash programme in India.

HUL has been working for more than a decade in the area of water conservation in locations which face acute water shortage. HUL Foundation in Partnership with NGOs as well as with NABARD and state government is engaged in community projects to conserve water. Rainwater harvesting and soil conservation projects are currently being implemented in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. By 2015, we expect hundred billion litres of water to be harvested, one million people to benefit in 180 + villages in 17 districts across India. In most projects 50% rise in crop production is expected.

Unilever’s performance against its sustainable living plan targets:

  1. Areas where we are making genuinely good progress, such as:
    • Sustainable sourcing – 24% of total agricultural raw materials now being sourced sustainably, versus 14% in 2010.
    • Nutrition – over 90% of Unilever’s leading spreads now contain less than one-third saturated fat.
    • Renewable energy now contributes 20% of Unilever’s total energy use. 100% of electricity purchased in Europe is now from renewable sources, and we have increased our use of biomass to fuel boilers in India and China.
    • Safe drinking water – 35 million people have gained access to safe drinking water from Pureit water purifier since 2005.
  2. Areas where we have had to consider carefully how to reach our targets, but are now ready to scale up. These include health and hygiene: Lifebuoy soap’s hand washing programme reached 48 million people by the end of 2011, and new partnerships such as our ‘train the trainer’ approach in Indonesia will help us to go to the next level.
  3. Areas where we are finding it difficult to make progress and will need to work with others to find solutions. This applies particularly to targets that require consumer behaviour change, such as reducing the use of heated water in showering and washing clothes, or encouraging people to eat foods with lower salt levels

HUL Chairman and Unilever COO, Harish Manwani said:

“In Unilever, we believe that our future success depends upon being able to decouple our growth from our environmental footprint, while at the same time increasing our positive social impact.

Many of our goals look as daunting now as they did when we announced them, but you have to set uncomfortable targets if you are to really change things. Sustainable growth will be the only acceptable model of growth in the future, which is why we have put the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at the heart of our business strategy. And far from being a hindrance to our progress, we are now seeing increasing evidence that it can drive business growth.”

“It is also becoming even clearer that we cannot tackle the big issues alone: much of our progress to date has come where we have worked with others. And at the end of the day, if we achieve our own sustainability targets but no one else follows, we will not have been truly successful. For that reason we are working with other organizations such as the Consumer Goods Forum, World Economic Forum, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, governments and NGOs.

Similarly in India also we are working with NGO’s, IGO’s, governments and others to drive change. At Unilever we believe collaboration will become the only way of doing business in the future.”

For more information and the full first year progress report, please visit www.unilever.com/sustainable-living


About Hindustan Unilever Limited

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is India's largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods company touching the lives of two out of three Indians. HUL works to create a better future every day. We help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others.

Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

In November 2010 the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan was launched. Unilever publicly committed to a ten year journey towards sustainable growth, with around 60 specific targets embedding this new thinking into our business. What makes the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan different is that it applies right across the value chain. Unilever is taking responsibility not just for its own direct operations but for their suppliers, distributors and – crucially – for how consumers use brands like Dove, Knorr, Lipton, Lifebuoy and Pureit.

The plans sets out that by 2020 Unilever will:

  • help more than one billion people improve their health and well-being; 
  • halve the environmental footprint of the making and use of our products; 
  • source 100% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably

Sustainable Living Plan - India highlights:

  • 30 million people reached with Lifebuoy soap handwashing programmes in 2010-11
  • 30 million people have gained access to safe drinking water by using Pureit in-home water purifier, since 2005
  • Around 60% of our major food and beverage brands — Brooke Bond, Bru, Knorr, Kissan and Kwality Wall's — comply with the 'Healthy Choice' guidelines
  • Improved CO2 efficiency in transportation by 17.8% in 2011 over 2010
  • Reduced CO2 emissions by 14.7%, water use by 21.5%, and waste by 52.8% in our factories, over 2008 baseline
  • 60% of tomatoes in Kissan Ketchup are sourced sustainably
  • Extended the Shakti initiative by adding 30,000 Shaktimaans (family members of existing Shakti entrepreneurs)
  • In 2011, more than 30 projects were implemented across categories resulting in potential annualised reduction of more than 2000 tonnes of plastic, over 1750 tonnes of paper board and corrugated boxes.
Hindustan Unilever Limited

Hindustan Unilever Limited,
Unilever House,
B. D. Sawant Marg,
Chakala, Andheri (E),
Mumbai - 400 099.

T: +91 22 39832429 (Prasad Pradhan)


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