Global personal products and food industry giant Unilever is expanding its zero-waste achievements deeper into its supply chain through a new collaboration platform it’s developing with shared value consultancy 2degrees, expected to become active in the next few months.
“The global challenge of a growing population relying on limited resources is very real. Our zero waste goal underpins Unilever’s sustainable growth ambitions, as well as our commitment to become resource resilient and tackle climate change,” Unilever chief supply chain officer Pier Luigi Sigismondi said.
Last year the company achieved the milestone of zero non-hazardous waste to landfill at more than 600 sites across 70 countries. Reducing waste has also saved the company around $200 million Euros in avoided costs and created hundreds of jobs.
Mr Sigismondi said that while he was proud of what the company’s employees and partners had achieved, there was a lot more to be done to inspire a wide-scale movement.
“It is time to accelerate efforts to move towards a zero waste world and our new collaboration with 2degrees will allow us to share lessons and experiences, and to encourage other businesses and industries to take up the zero waste challenge,” he said.
“By building a network of partners and working together, we can eliminate waste on an unprecedented scale across the globe.”
The program created with 2degrees aims to deliver additional reductions in operational costs and environmental impacts not only for the organisation but also its thousands of suppliers, partners and other organisations through a combination on purpose-built technology and expert facilitation.
“Unilever is continuing to demonstrate the leadership necessary to tackle the biggest resource efficiency and sustainability challenges that businesses face,” 2degrees founder and chief executive Martin Chilcott said.
“To achieve bold goals, such as zero waste in the value chain, we need equally bold action and collaboration at scale.”
The company’s Australian sites achieved zero waste in 2014. Strategies have included converting factory waste to building materials and using organic waste for green energy generation. Some waste is also being upcycled. For example, at the Tatura factory workers have been upcycling old packaging materials into new items that include toys for disadvantaged children.
A new goal for the company’s Australian operations announced last month is for all the office sites to also achieve zero waste.
“We need businesses across Australia and New Zealand to commit to a zero waste model and work towards solutions that will enable us to be more resource efficient. Collaboration is key to tackling this unprecedented challenge,” Unilever chairman and chief executive officer Australia and New Zealand Clive Stiff said.