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Unilever steps up sustainability plans

Anglo-Dutch fmcg giant Unilever is stepping up several of its sustainability commitments in the areas of deforestation, food security and public health.

Commenting on progress it has made so far, ceo, Paul Polman (pictured above) said: “In the three years since we launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan we have learned that sustainability drives business growth and a much deeper connection with our employees and consumers. In 2013, we’ve seen good progress, particularly on targets within our direct control. Our Plan is helping us to save money, reduce risk and drive innovation, and brands that have done the most to embrace sustainable living, like Dove, Lifebuoy, Pureit and Domestos, are enjoying some of our fastest growth.”

In the area of social compliance, Unilever also confirmed that the Sustainable Living Plan has been expanded with a more substantive Enhancing Livelihoods programme focusing on fairness in the workplace, opportunities for women and developing inclusive business.

Forum for the Future has worked with Unilever on its sustainable business strategy for several years. In relation to the revised Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), Forum used its ‘Futures’ expertise to help Unilever identify the external mega trends and major issues and use them to map the areas where Unilever can drive the most change.

Ben Kellard, head of sustainable business at Forum for the Future, said: “Learning and adapting is important in any business strategy, but it’s even more impressive when companies, like Unilever, revise an already innovative plan with the intention of bringing about broader change on a global scale. 

“Unilever is rightly taking a systems based approach to sustainable business thinking – this means influencing the nature of the systems in which it operates to create a context in which they can innovate for long-term success. Such progressive approaches not only bring about positive social and environmental impacts but also financial success – just last week Unilever announced results that beat the City forecasts. Other businesses should now look to see what Unilever is doing and consider ways they can adopt more progressive practices into their own approaches, to safeguard their future success and viability.”

Global | Sustainability Reporting

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