Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Unilever Thinks Green for the Long Term

Just in time for Earth Day, Unilever announced that it will be requiring all brand managers to complete a weeklong sustainability challenge as part of their corporate training. The company has also trained thousands of tea growers in the use of sustainable practices, with plans to involve even more supply-chain participants in the coming years.

Unilever wants to make every day Earth day. Sustainability is an integral part of its business model for satisfying customer needs. The chief procurement officer says, "The trick is to find the sweet spot between the brand delivering something good for the planet or societies, while offering something good for our consumers."

The graphic above shows how Unilever views the interrelationship between sustainability, cost, innovation, and profitable growth. This is not just an image-builder--it's a business proposition for the 21st century, adding value to the company and its brands by leading through sustainability.

Program by program, Unilever is moving toward highly ambitious goals for reducing its environmental impact on the planet by 2020. For example, the company aims to send nothing to landfills (a goal it has already achieved at its North American facilities and some European facilities). Unilever also has a group of sustainability champions who are either leading efforts to make operations greener or working with suppliers and other partners to green their operations.

For accountability and transparency, Unilever publicly announces its targets and results. To check the firm's progress, just click to its Sustainable Living Plan site. Also look at its Facebook page, which has 1.3 million likes, for more about specific programs (and brands).

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