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Unilever Introduces Carbon Footprint Labeling

by Rudy Sanchez on 07/14/2020 | 2 Minute Read

International consumer goods company Unilever just announced new environmental targets, stating that it will achieve net-zero emissions from its entire range by 2039. To reach that goal, Unilever will work with suppliers and producers to track associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and will begin to include carbon footprint on packaging labels.

In addition to adding GHG emissions information to each of the company’s 70,000 products, Unilever is also starting a €1 billion Climate & Nature fund, which it will use over the next decade to fund projects that restore landscapes, preserve water, protect wildlife, and capture carbon. Unilever is also committed to a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023 and aims to make its formulations biodegradable by 2030.

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The multinational consumer goods producer’s lofty ambitions are complicated in part by the task of gathering that information across a varied range of suppliers and other partners across the supply chain. With an annual turnover of €52 billion a year, Unilever has a lot of paperwork ahead.

In 2007, the UK supermarket chain Tesco made a similar pledge, promising carbon footprint labels on all the products they carried. Tesco found that it took months to calculate the carbon footprint of a single product and that, at that rate, it would take the chain centuries to fulfill its promise. By 2012, Tesco dropped the pledge, but Unilever could find itself in a better position a decade on as they could exert more pressure upon suppliers and make use of more sophisticated technology, especially in the telecommunications and software.

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