Unilever today announced a new industry-leading achievement of sending zero non-hazardous waste to landfill across more than 600 sites, in 70 countries, including factories, warehouses, distribution centers and offices. Having identified the different non-hazardous waste streams in its operations, Unilever has now found alternative routes for the waste from these sites.
Unilever’s priority is to continually reduce waste and embrace circular models. As well as maintaining zero waste status at these locations, work continues to bring all sites in line, including all future site openings and acquisitions. Unilever ultimately aims to achieve zero waste across the value chain. Continued efforts on zero waste provide a strong business case for sustainability — eliminating waste has contributed to cost-benefits of €200 million and created hundreds of jobs.
Unilever believes that its own goals, and moving other businesses and industries to zero waste, can only be realized by working with, and learning from, suppliers, partners and other organizations. To that end, Unilever today also announced a new collaboration with value-chain platform 2degrees, to help bring organizations together to leverage the zero-waste model. The new collaboration program will go live in summer 2016.
“The global challenge of a growing population relying on limited resources is very real. While I am proud of what our employees and partners have achieved across our manufacturing operations and the wider business, there is a lot more to be done to inspire a wide-scale movement,” said Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Unilever’s Chief Supply Chain Officer. “It is time to accelerate efforts to move towards a zero-waste world, and our new collaboration with 2degrees will allow us to share lessons and experiences, and to encourage other businesses and industries to take up the zero waste-challenge. By building a network of partners and working together, we can eliminate waste on an unprecedented scale across the globe.”
Waste not, want not
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“Unilever is continuing to demonstrate the leadership necessary to tackle the biggest resource efficiency and sustainability challenges that businesses face,” said Martin Chilcott, founder and CEO of 2degrees. “To achieve bold goals, we need equally bold action and collaboration at scale. I’m delighted to be working with them to co-create a program to help make this happen.”
The importance of collaboration was echoed in December by Len Sauers, outgoing VP of Sustainability for fellow CPG giant Procter & Gamble, which has found nearly $2 billion in value through its own zero-waste efforts. P&G and Unilever are already collaborating to further their respective progress toward these efforts – namely in the area of packaging — as founding members of the Closed Loop Fund. Unilever is also collaborating on a number of fronts in efforts to fight food waste — with its fellow Consumer Goods Forum members to halve food waste within the operations of its 400 retailer and manufacturer members by 2025; as a founding member of the International Food Waste Coalition, aimed at eliminating food waste in the food services sector, starting in Europe; and as a founding member of Champions 12.3, a coalition dedicated to creating political, business and social momentum to reduce food loss and waste around the world.