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Unilever achieves zero waste to landfill across global factory network

Unilever achieves a key sustainability target of sending zero non-hazardous* waste to landfill

Leading consumer goods company, Unilever, has announced it has achieved a key sustainability target of sending zero non-hazardous* waste to landfill from its global factory network. Believed to be a global first for delivering zero waste on this scale, more than 240 factories in 67 countries making products for brands such as OMO, Blueband, and Vaseline have now eliminated landfill waste.

Unilever has stated its ambition is to double the size of its business while reducing its environmental impact. The company is the Food Products Industry Leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and last week was awarded a Gold Class distinction for its excellent sustainability performance by RobecoSAM in their Sustainability Yearbook 2015. The zero waste to landfill target forms a key element of Unilever’s sustainable growth ambitions. Eliminating waste has resulted in more than €200m of cost avoidance for Unilever and created hundreds of jobs.

Reducing waste at source remains the number one priority, coupled with Unilever and its project partners finding innovative solutions for any remaining waste. For example, in Nairobi’s manufacturing plant, product wrapper waste is shredded and used for incorporation into recycled boards. Also, spent bleaching Earth from the filter press process in soap making is sent to Unilever Tea factory for use as fuel in the boilers.

Marc Engel, Unilever CEO for East Africa and emerging markets said that Unilever was proud of this milestone. He added that the move clearly demonstrates the firm’s responsibility to consumers and to the environment through such innovations in waste management.

“At Unilever we are committed to waste reduction throughout our operations. Today I am particularly pleased by our Nairobi factory team for their efforts in ensuring that we send zero non-hazardous waste to landfill. Sustainable living is at the heart of our business and our vision to halve the environmental footprint of our products is well on track.”

To achieve zero-waste to landfill Unilever has adopted the four ‘R’ approach – firstly reducing waste at source then reusing, recovering or recycling any non-hazardous waste that remains. It has meant reconsidering every single material that is consumed in a factory - from reusing packing materials from supplier deliveries to food waste from staff cafeterias.

Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Unilever Chief Supply Chain Officer, said: “Reaching this landmark is the result of a huge mind-set shift throughout our organisation and a great example of Unilever driving sustainable business growth. Thousands of employees - our ‘zero-makers’ – from across the business have developed some really innovative solutions to eliminate waste. I am incredibly proud of what we and our partners have achieved.

“However we cannot stop here. Our focus now is on becoming a zero waste company and working towards a zero waste value chain by encouraging our suppliers and customers to join us on this mission. We are also committed to developing an open source approach and sharing our ‘zero waste framework’ and experience with other organisations to drive global change and create a more sustainable future”.

About Unilever Kenya

Unilever Kenya is one of the leading suppliers of food, home and personal care products across East Africa. With about 19,000 employees, Unilever is one of the largest private employers in Kenya. Working to create a better future every day, Unilever helps people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Its portfolio includes Kenya’s best loved locally produced brands, OMO, Sunlight, Blue Band, Royco, Geisha and Vaseline, as well as key world’s renowned brands, like Knorr, Dove, Lux, Axe, among many others.

The company was ranked Top Employer for 2015 in Kenya by the Top Employer Institute, an international certification institute. In 2013, Unilever was recognized as a leading employer in Kenya by the Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM) scooping six out of the ten IHRM awards. Unilever tea in Kenya was the first company worldwide to achieve Rain Forest Alliance Certified, in 2007, Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) farm standards. Since then it has continued to achieve this certification.

Unilever’s global ambition is to double the size of its business, whilst reducing the overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing the positive social impact. Unilever is committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all its agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling its growth from its environmental impact. Supporting its three big goals, Unilever has defined seven pillars, underpinned by targets encompassing social, environmental and economic areas. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com

Susan Njoroge

Mobile: +254 719 371 355
Tel: +254 6922 272
susan.njoroge@unilever.com

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