Unilever’s Compass commitments build on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and sets out to decouple growth from environmental impact, while at the same time increasing positive social impact. Working towards this goal, Unilever aims to completely eliminate carbon emissions from its owned operations and halve the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of its products across the value chain by 2030.
Their distribution network transports products over 1.5 billion kilometers each year from factories to where they’re sold – that’s the equivalent of travelling to the moon and back twice every day. Together logistics and distribution account for around 15% of Unilever greenhouse gas emissions, and since 2010, they have achieved a 43% reduction in carbon intensity (kgCO2/Ton.Sold).
“Unilever is committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2039, including from logistics and distribution. We are looking to work with all stakeholders across the value chain to achieve this objective. Smart Freight Centre plays a crucial role in this by providing logistics emission standards and creating collaboration projects across industries.”
- Ashish Joshi, Global Supply Chain Director, Unilever
Report and set targets
- Adopted the GLEC Framework in 2020 to establish the logistics emissions baseline for Unilever’s new 2020-2030 targets under the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi).
- Set a SBTi approved reduction target of 50% GHG emissions for products across the lifecycle by 2030 compared to 2010, while aiming for net zero emissions before 2039 across all products and carbon neutral logistics by 2030. This target applies to Unilever worldwide.
- Switching from road to rail and sea transport: For example, in North America, 38% of the total distance is travelled by rail.
- Increasing trucking efficiency and reducing of kilometers traveled: In the Philippines 16% more products can be transported using double-decker trailers, in Mexico smarter route planning and pallet configuration increased fill rates by 10%, and in India, improvements in the systems to select and load trucks is reducing the number of distribution centers and introducing more deliveries direct to customers to avoid unnecessary journeys.
- Applied Digital Freight Matching (DFM) in the US using smartphone apps to connect companies who need to transport goods, with small trucking providers who have spare capacity, reducing ‘empty miles’ by 10% as well as brokerage fees, while adding flexibility to the supply chain.
- Alternative fuel pilots like CNG and LNG have been implemented in 13 countries across the globe (Argentina, Chile, Peru, Russia, North America, China, India, Turkey, Japan, France, Greece, Italy and Netherlands).
- Participates in numerous initiatives relevant to logistics, such as the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC), ALICE, and the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition on a Maersk trial of a 20% biofuel blend use in long-haul ocean shipping.
- Recognized for its sustainability and climate performance by CDP, GlobeScan, and others, and included in various sustainable investment funds such as DJSI. Unilever is included in the top 5 (2013-2020) of the Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 ranking, which assesses business performance in supply chain, including performance in sustainability and logistics.
About UnileverUnilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 2.5 billion people every day. Unilever has 149,000 employees and generated sales of €50.7 billion in 2020. Over half of their footprint is in developing and emerging markets.
Find out more on www.unilever.com
ReferencesUnilever’s Compass Strategy
Annual Report and Accounts 2020
Unilever sets out new actions to fight climate change (press release July 2020)
Greener logistics – the world has a lot further to travel
Unilever Sustainable Living Plan 2010 to 2020
Climate action | Unilever
UN Sustainable Development Goals