LONDON/ROTTERDAM: Unilever says it has saved €244 million and reduced energy consumption by 20 percent, or the equivalent of one million tonnes of CO2, across its manufacturing network since 2008.
The company cites a growing adoption of Circularity to reduce its emissions: In South Africa, a bi-product of seed oil from Flora, Stork, Rama and Rondo products is used as a boiler fuel to re-deliver factory energy, while in the UK 18,000 tonnes of waste from its Marmite factory is converted into methane via an anaerobic digester to provide 30 percent of the plant's thermal energy.
Unilever chief supply chain officer, Pier Luigi Sigismondi commented: "Reducing our energy consumption not only cuts our greenhouse gas emissions – the equivalent in carbon of 800,000 acres of forest each year – but also cuts our costs.
"Across our supply chain we are increasingly turning to energy provided by wind, solar and biomass, converting heat from our manufacturing processes into power for our factories. We are on track to reach our target of 40 percent renewable energy by 2020."
The Unilever announcement coincides with a meeting of business leaders in Paris to show support for the UN-sponsored global climate talks in December.
According to Philippe Zaouati, CEO of Mirova, an asset management company focused on responsible investing: "The global market for sustainable investing is booming, with assets having grown 61 percent from 2012 to 2014 to reach US$21.4 trillion."
Zaouati said his company - owned by France's second largest bank Groupe BPCE – has €5.2 billion in assets with a large portion dedicated to funding projects that can boost employment, tackle climate change and drive the clean energy transition. "Traditional market mechanisms do not meet the needs of a fast-changing social and economic landscape, which is being shaped by climate change," he added.
Unilever says it has also joined the 'RE100' campaign whose members have a declared goal of 100 percent electricity supply from renewable sources. They include the BT Group, Commerzbank, Elion Resources Group, Formula E, H&M, Infosys, IKEA, KPN, Mars, Nestlé, Philips, Reed Elsevier Group, J. Safra Sarasin Bank, SAP, SGS, Swiss Re and YOOX Group.