A total of €1 billion ($1.2 billion) will be spent by Unilever to stop its use of fossil fuels in the process of production products for its cleaning and laundry brands.
Only renewable or recycled carbon will be used for the manufacturing of household products such as Omo, Sunlight, Cif and Domestos by the end of the current decade, said the consumer products company on Wednesday.
That would entail the company making use of materials sourced from plants and marine algae instead of the use of petrochemicals as well as several materials recovered from plastic waste and CO2 captured that are recovered from the process of making products.
“As an industry, we must break our dependence on fossil fuels, including as a raw material for our products,” said Peter ter Kulve, president of the conglomerate’s home care division. “We must stop pumping carbon from under the ground when there is ample carbon on and above the ground — if we can learn to utilize it at scale.”
In order to achieve the lofty goal, Unilever has tied up with a firm based in the southern part of India for use of a technology that will allow the capturing of CO2 which will then be used as a saw material in the process of production of soda ash which is a crucial ingredient for laundry detergents. This is currently made with energy from fossil fuels.
A partnership with a biotech company in Slovakia has also been truck by Unilever for the development of a renewable and biodegradable ingredient that the company plans to use in the production of dishwashing liquid. That ingredient is already used by the company as key ingredient in Sunlight dishwashing liquid that is marketed by the company in Chile and Vietnam.
About 2.5 billion people use its products each day in about 190 countries around the world, Unilever says. At least one product from its 400 brands is used by seven out of 10 households around the world, according to the company.
A pledge to reach a target net zero emissions from its products by the end of 2039 was announced by the company earlier this year which was a more than a decade ahead of the time frame for such a target that had been laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement. Over the next ten year, Unilever will also be making all of its 70,000 products biodegradable, the company has pledged and would be making use of considerably less plastic for packaging.
CDP, which runs a global carbon disclosure system, has recognized Unilever as a corporate leader in environmental transparency and performance. The company is also among the few large companies that were awarded the top rating for climate change, forests and water security by the nonprofit organization.
(Adapted from CNN.com)