Consumer giant Unilever will today reveal a dedicated fund to combatting climate change, with a total investment of €1bn to be spent over the next decade.
The investment will be made across all of its brands, which include household names such as Ben & Jerry’s, Knorr and Vaseline.
Named the Climate and Nature Fund, Unilever said projects are likely to include landscape restoration, reforestation, wildlife protection and water preservation.
The group is also targeting net zero carbon emissions from products across all of its brands by 2039, and from its own operations by 2030. Past 2039, any residual emissions will be balanced through purchased or self-generated offsetting.
“While the world is dealing with the devastating effects of the
Covid-19 pandemic, and grappling with serious issues of inequality, we can’t let ourselves forget that the climate crisis is still a threat to all of us,” said group chief Alan Jope.
“Climate change, nature degradation, biodiversity decline, water scarcity — all these issues are interconnected, and we must address them all simultaneously.”
The announcement follows a shock U-turn from Unilever last week, in which it said it will end its joint Anglo-Dutch structure and reunify under its London headquarters.
The group surprised investors when it revealed a plan to move to the Netherlands, which it later dropped in 2018 after shareholders voiced concerns.
Unilever said today it is aiming to have a deforestation-free supply chain within the next three years, having already certified 89 per cent of its forest-related commodities as sustainably sourced.
It will use technological advancements to achieve this goal, such as satellite monitoring, geolocation tracking and blockchain.
All suppliers will need to adhere to new agricultural codes to ensure farmers are using sustainable and regenerative practices.
Finally it will aim to make all of its product formulations biodegradable by 2030, and join the World Bank’s 2030 Water Resources Group to promote water preservation.
“Our collective responsibility in tackling the climate crisis is to drive an absolute reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, not
simply focus on offsetting,” said Marc Engel, Unilever’s chief supply officer.