Sat Mar 09 2024 | 3 min read

Unilever Sets New Goals to Cut Value Chain Emissions by 2030



Mark Segal

Global consumer brands company Unilever announced today the release of its new Climate Transition Action Plan (CTAP), outlining the company’s strategy to become a lower-emissions business and achieve its climate goals, and introducing new value chain emissions targets, amounting to a 39% absolute reduction in total targeted Scope 3 emissions by 2030.

The new Unilever climate transition plan follows the company’sinaugural CTAPreleased in 2020, shortly after the company unveiled itstarget to achieve net zeroemissions across the value chain by 2039. Additional goals in place by the company at the time included achieving a 100% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030, with an interim goal to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 70% by 2025 – which the company reached in 2023 – and a goal to reduce the average carbon footprint of its products by 2030.

To date, the company said that it has reduced operational emissions by 74% from a 2015 baseline, and the emissions intensity of products by 21% compared to 2010.

Writing in the newly released CTAP, Unilever CEO Hein Schumacher and Chair Ian Meakins said:

“As a company dependent on agricultural and energy-intensive chemical ingredients, we believe that transitioning to become a lower-emission business has many benefits. It increases resilience, improves efficiency, and future-proofs our value chain against transition risks such as carbon prices, while sparking innovation and helping to attract the best talent.”

With the release of the new CTAP, Unilever announced more expansive 2030 Scope 3 goals, including targets to reduce energy and industrial emissions from purchased goods and services, upstream transport and distribution, energy and fuel-related activities, direct emissions from use of sold products, end-of-life treatment of sold products, and downstream leased assets by 42%, and forest, land and agriculture (FLAG) GHG emissions from purchased goods and services by 30.3%.

The plan outlines a series of key value chain initiatives that Unilever is pursuing to support its 2030 Scope 3 goal, including the company’s Supplier Climate Program, aimed at accelerating the transition of key suppliers by setting science-based emissions reduction targets, reporting on progress , and providing Unilever with product carbon footprint data; reformulating products, including using lower GHG ingredients and using plant-based ingredients, and; supporting regenerative agricultural practices. Additional initiatives include initiatives to manage a deforestation-free supply chain, transitioning to renewable thermal energy, using recycled plastic in packaging, and improving logistics and transport network efficiency while scaling up the use of electric and alternative fuel vehicles, among others.

Unilever was the among the first global companies to bring its initial climate transition plan to an advisory shareholder vote in 2021, which passed with 99% support. The company said that it will also bring the new CTAP to shareholders for a vote at its upcoming AGM in May.

Rebecca Marmot, Chief Sustainability Officer at Unilever, said:

“Climate action is a priority for Unilever, to support business growth and the communities we serve. We’re focusing our efforts where we can have most impact and driving innovation – but we cannot do it alone. We’re partnering with others to scale solutions and using our voice to spur collective action from governments, regulators and industry, up and down our value chain. We want to focus our business and the world to get on track for net zero.”

Click here to access Unilever’s new Climate Transition Action Plan.

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