Tuesday, 08 Oct 2019 15:09 GMT

Unilever commits to a circular economy

British-Dutch consumer giant Unilever has pledged to reduce its use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes.

The company has also committed to halving its use of virgin plastic and accelerating its use of recycled plastic by 2025.

Despite already being on course to achieving its pre-existing commitments to make all its plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable, this pledge marks Unilever’s first commitment to reducing plastic use across its portfolio.

Alan Jope, chief executive officer of the company, describes Unilever’s realisation that the only way to eliminate plastic waste is by “acting fast” and “taking radical action”.

Jope comments: “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.

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

“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 reuse and refill formats, at an unprecedented speed and intensity.”

Recognising that the plastic produced by Unilever is the company’s own responsibility, Jope notes its commitment to collecting back more than it sells and adds: “This is a daunting but exciting task which will help drive global demand for recycled plastic.”

Unilever has been re-designing its approach to plastic packaging since 2017 when its ‘Less, Better, No’ campaign was launched. Through this, the firm has explored other packaging and delivery methods such as a new Cif Eco-refill which reduces the need for 75% of plastic.

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