Unilever launches €1bn Climate and Nature FundThe We Mean Business coalition
Major consumer products company Unilever, on Monday 15th promised to create a new €1bn Climate and Nature Fund to spend solely on climate change projects and commit to reaching its zero-emissions goal by 2039.
The fund promises to achieve a deforestation-free supply chain, promote regenerative agriculture and transition to biodegradable ingredients by 2023, as key ways to reach this goal.
The FTSE 100 listed company said it will use satellite monitoring, geolocation tracking and blockchain among other digital technologies to increase traceability and transparency within its supply chain.
Unilever’s plan focuses on:
- achieving their science-based target
- bringing forward their net-zero goal 11 years before the Paris Agreement deadline of 2050
- upfront sizable investment in climate and nature now that doesn’t put offsets at the heart – which, while undoubtedly a piece of the puzzle to reach net-zero, must also be coupled with deep decarbonization. It’s a mitigation and restoration strategy.
Unilever, which owns more than 400 brands including Marmite, Dove, Comfort and Sure, with an annual turnover of €52bn says it pledges to build and prioritise partnerships with suppliers who have also set or committed to their own science-based-targets and can declare the carbon footprint of goods and services provided.
With this ask, Unilever is raising the bar to encourage this standard among fellow giants in the corporate sector. Alan Jope, Unilever’s chief executive has warned that the company would sell off brands that could not meet its own sustainability targets.
Jennifer Gerholdt, Corporate Engagement Director at the We Mean Business coalition, says the Unilever plan is ‘elegant’ and ‘well considered.’
“Now is the opportunity for companies to make and strengthen commitments to climate action, including setting shorter term 1.5C aligned science-based-targets and longer term net-zero by 2050 targets,” she says.
“Companies should maximize their voice and influence in key geographies, to encourage governments to put climate at the heart of short and long-term stimulus packages, and to strengthen their NDCs and long term strategies so they can achieve their climate strategies and do even more to accelerate the transition to a more resilient, zero carbon economy.”
“The pandemic has demonstrated our vulnerability to global and systemic shocks, and yet the devastating impacts will pale in comparison to the climate crisis, if left unchecked. The climate crisis is still as urgent an issue to address, more than ever, even in the face of other global challenges and crises. There is no going back to business as usual, and even if we could, we shouldn’t want to. We have a tremendous opportunity to reimagine capitalism and the role of companies to build back better so we are all able to benefit and thrive.”
The work and progress on climate must continue and at pace and scale commensurate with the urgency and progress needed.