Unilever, owner of brands including Dove, Ben & Jerry’s, Lipton and Omo, has committed to reducing plastic waste and helping to create a circular economy for plastics.
Unilever has confirmed that by 2025 it will:
- Halve its use of virgin plastic, by reducing its absolute use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes per year and accelerating its use of recycled plastic.
- Help collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells.
This commitment makes Unilever the first major global consumer goods company to commit to an absolute plastics reduction across its portfolio.
Alan Jope, ceo of Unilever, commented: “Plastic has its place, but that place is not in the environment. We can only eliminate plastic waste by acting fast and taking radical action at all points in the plastic cycle.
“Our starting point has to be design, reducing the amount of plastic we use, and then making sure that what we do use increasingly comes from recycled sources. We are also committed to ensuring all our plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable.”
Jope added: “This demands a fundamental rethink in our approach to our packaging and products. It requires us to introduce new and innovative packaging materials and scale up new business models, like re-use and re-fill formats, at an unprecedented speed and intensity.”
Unilever’s commitment will require the business to help collect and process around 600,000 tonnes of plastic annually by 2025. This will be delivered through investment and partnerships which are set to improve waste management infrastructure in the countries in which Unilever operates.
Commenting on the commitments, Ellen MacArthur, founder of Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said: “Today’s announcement by Unilever is a significant step in creating a circular economy for plastic. By eliminating unnecessary packaging through innovations such as refill, reuse, and concentrates, while increasing their use of recycled plastic, Unilever is demonstrating how businesses can move away from virgin plastics. We urge others to follow their lead, so collectively we can eliminate the plastic we don’t need, innovate, so what we do need is circulated, and ultimately build an economic system where plastic packaging never becomes waste.”