Reducing water abstracted by manufacturing sites
Climate change is putting an immense strain on water, food, and other natural resources. Therefore, we aim to reduce our carbon footprints by reducing the water abstracted via manufacturing sites.
Our manufacturing operations have witnessed a 58% reduction in water usage (cubic meter per ton of production) as compared to the 2008 baseline. Concentrating on reducing freshwater abstraction, implementing captive rainwater harvesting, and maximising the use of RO plants, has significantly contributed to the reduction of water in our manufacturing processes.
Reducing water in agriculture
We use the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code (USAC) to guide our farmers on ways to reduce water usage in agriculture. In tomatoes and chicory, we have also begun trials to use 'mulching', a technique that significantly helps reduce water usage.
The Hindustan Unilever Foundation
The Hindustan Unilever Foundation (HUF) has been established in 2010 as a not-for-profit company. HUF acts as a vehicle to anchor water management related community development and sustainability initiatives of Hindustan Unilever Limited. Since then, along with 23 NGO partners, we have supported grassroot interventions in 53 districts, across 4,300 villages in India. HUF’s ‘Water for Public Good’ programme has made a difference with initiatives focused on empowering local rural community institutions to improve and manage their water resources and enhance farm-based livelihoods through adoption of judicious water-use practices.
In 2020, the cumulative and collective achievements delivered through partnered programmes of HUF include:
- Water conservation: More than 1.3 trillion litres of water saved through improved supply and demand water management
- Crop yield: Over 1 million tons of additional agricultural and biomass production generated
- Livelihoods: More than 30 million employment days created through water conservation and increased agriculture production
As a non-profit company, we also support various knowledge initiatives in this area. In 2019, Srijan in Bundelkhand, CIPT (Centre for International Projects Trust) in Punjab, and the Vikram Sarabhai Centre for Development Interaction (VIKSAT) in Gujarat, partnered with us for key projects.
Initiatives that have made a difference
A first-of-its-kind urban water, hygiene, and sanitation community centre was set up in one of Mumbai’s largest slum areas – Chiragnagar, Ghatkopar. The centre provides water, sanitation, laundry services, and handwashing as well as shower facilities, at significantly lower than market rates. Adopting the principles of circular economy to reduce the use of water, fresh water gets used for activities that concern personal hygiene, and the wastewater generated from this, is utilised for flushing toilets.
The Centre was built in association with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and Pratha Samajik Sanstha, (a community-based organisation) & United Way Mumbai. Currently, we have three operational centres catering to over 7,500 people in the slums of Mumbai.
Working with the farmers around HUL factories, Project Prabhat helps manage the demand and supply of water that gets used in agricultural practices. Mapping the community water resources, in order to provide innovative water conservation techniques, this programme helps collectively build robust water structures. Thus, along with the governance of water at the village level, farmers also receive improved access, across cropping seasons.