At Hindustan Unilever Limited, we are committed to taking smaller steps to collectively and positively impact climate change.
This issue relates to the following Sustainable Development Goals:
Rapidly rising product level consumption across the world is currently having a huge impact on the environment as well as the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint. Humans have unequivocally warmed the planet by more than 1.1°C since pre-industrial times and we are on track to exceed 1.5°C within two decades, if not before. That is not a world we want to live in – no one does.
We have set ambitious science-based targets and we are working to eliminate carbon emissions from our operations by 2030 and reach net zero emissions across our value chain by 2039.
Net zero emissions from all our products (from sourcing to the point of sale) by 2039
Halve the greenhouse gas impact of our products across the lifecycle by 2030
Zero emissions in our operations by 2030
Replace fossil-fuel-derived carbon with renewable or recycled carbon in all our cleaning and laundry product formulations by 2030
Share the carbon footprint of every product we sell
Decarbonising our business
To reduce our carbon footprint, we are investing in new technologies, switching to renewable sources, and innovating to transform our factory operations.
Utilising 100% renewable power
By switching to alternative energy such as wind, biomass and solar, we reduced our output of carbon dioxide emissions per ton by 94% in 2021 against the 2008 baseline. This was achieved through IREC (International Renewable Energy Certificate) purchased for Grid electricity and solar capacity enhancement in our Nashik, Chiplun, Khamgaon, DDF, Rajpura and Hosur factories.
We lowered our overall energy footprint across factories by installing various energy-saving capital projects like installing energy-efficient pumps, VVVFDs (variable voltage, variable frequency drives) and condensate recoveries in plants. We also use air compressor heat recovery systems, steam expanders, energy AC systems and air handling devices along with motion sensor lighting and LED lights. Currently, 100% of our electricity is derived from renewable sources. This has helped us reduce our power expenses and operate in an environment-friendly manner. By making infrastructure improvements and interventions, we were able to eliminate using coal as fuel in all manufacturing sites.
Expanding renewable energy footprint
We have direct purchase agreements with small-scale hydropower schemes and large-scale hydro, wind, solar, and geothermal installations in areas where we don’t generate our own renewable electricity. The share of renewable energy increased to 86% in our manufacturing units. We continue to use biomass briquettes in our boilers at Haridwar, Bhuj, Chiplun, Dapada, Haldia, and Nashik. We have started using biofuel instead of fossil fuel in our units at Amli and Hosur; further expanding our renewable energy footprint by harnessing solar energy by on-site or off-site solar panels installation and via power purchase agreement (PPA model).
Efficient transport that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Since 2010, our CO2 emission intensity from our logistics network has reduced by over 60%. We have achieved this milestone through our ‘Load More, Travel Less’ strategy which focuses on increased process efficiency and reduction in distance travelled, along with the reduction in the count of trucks by using bigger truck types.
Globally, we are exploring the option to use natural gas (LNG/CNG) as an alternative fuel. We actively engage with EV suppliers and service providers to deploy EVs in our last mile operations to achieve net zero emissions.
In India, we have reduced >50% logistic carbon intensity (CO2e/ton) in the last decade by travelling less through structural change in our manufacturing & distribution network and ensuring higher operational efficiency by implementing load more, fuel-efficient technology usage etc. Moving forward, we shall continue to reduce our km travelled and operational efficiency and expect another 22% reduction by 2024. However, to achieve net zero, we would need to go beyond and adopt newer technology and alternate solutions, i.e. Bio-CNG, BioLNG, Electric vehicles etc. We are already in talks with Shell, BP, Linfox, Tata and multiple OEMs to adopt these solutions, and Proof of Concept is planned for Q2.
Climate-friendly refrigeration options
We have continued to roll out environment-friendly freezer cabinets that use hydrocarbon (HC) refrigerants instead of Hydrofluorocarbons refrigerants. There are currently over 1,46,000 freezers with HC technology in our fleet in India. To improve the efficiency of the freezers we purchase, we have been collaborating with manufacturers to find renewable energy power. In India, we have completed trials of mobile solar-powered ice cream cabinets.
Creating net zero carbon products
Maximising our knowledge and R&D, we strive to provide our consumers with sustainable products that help reduce our carbon footprint. We are also constantly striving to radically reduce our GHG impact at every step because every decision we make is an opportunity for us to reduce our climate impact.
We are committed to transitioning from fossil fuel-derived chemicals in our cleaning and laundry products by 2030. We partnered with Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited’ and ‘Carbon Clean Solutions’ for Soda Ash, one of the key raw materials for our laundry products, using carbon capture technology and introduced water-saving formulations for Rin laundry powders and bars that reduce the water needed for rinsing in every consumer use.