Unilever seeks to be climate neutral by 2030, which means it will have to drastically lower its processing procedures' emission levels. The food manufacturer will also have to draw energy from 100 % renewable sources.
Continuance of 2010 Living Plan
The British-Dutch group has a history when it comes to sustainability: back in 2010, it launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan with three specific goals in mind, namely to double the company's size and at the same time lower its environmental footprint and increase its social impact.
As some 200 countries try to reach deals to counter climate change at the Paris climate summit, Unilever CEO Paul Polman divulged the company's increasingly ambitious plans: it wants to become climate neutral and get all of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. When it comes to electricity, Unilever wants to move even faster, getting all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. That means it will eliminate its dependency on coal and increase its renewable energy capabilities, which currently stand at 40 % of its entire energy need.
Polman also feels immediate action is necessary, because a World Bank Group report says an additional 100 million people will become impoverished if the temperatures continue to rise.
That is why he hopes strict deals will be made in Paris, like to prevent additional deforestation. Polman hopes there will be sanctions for those who do not adhere to the new goals.
Criticism to presence at climate summit
Several environmental activists have complained about the presence of business leaders at the Paris climate summit, but Polman firmly disagrees: "We will apply additional pressure on politicians to get a good agreement. Besides, in some areas, companies contribute more financially than governments."
Unilever has also backed Belgian sustainability network The Shift's stance. This organization includes several hundred CEO's (like AB InBev, Ageas, Atlas Copco, Alpro, AXA, BASF, Bpost, Eneco, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Sodexo and Solvay), people from society organizations and scholars who all ask the Ministers involved to create a sound climate agreement. They have already expressed their disappointment at the fact that there is still no agreement in place between the different regions in Belgium about who should carry which responsibility.