Unilever Says It Wants To Eliminate Single-Use, Unrecyclable Sachets But Secretly Fought Their Bans
by Rudy Sanchez on 06/23/2022 | 1 Minute Read
In October 2020, Unilever CEO Alan Jope said, “throwaway culture and business models continue to dominate our lives and damage our planet.”
“Despite challenging conditions, we must not turn our backs on plastic pollution. It is vital for us, and for the rest of the industry, to stay the course, cut the amount of plastic we use and rapidly transition to a circular economy,” Jope added.
While Unilever has shown us a lot of projects and initiatives to reduce or eliminate plastic from packaging, a recent special report by Reuters paints a more complicated picture of Unilever’s commitment to a more circular economy.
Reuters reports that Unilever fought sachet bans in countries such as India and the Philippines, which both nations dropped after initially proposing the prohibition. Unilever also fought against bans on 6ml and smaller single-use sachets in countries like Sri Lanka, which Unilever initially tried to circumvent with labeling that called four easily-separated sachets as a single sales unit. These sachets are popular in low-income countries thanks to the low price point but are notoriously difficult to recycle due to their size and multilayered composition of different materials.
Fifty-eight percent of Unilever’s revenue is from emerging markets like India, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka, where such sachets are popular, Reuters reports. Unilever declined to state how many single-use and unrecyclable packets it sells annually, but according to Reuters, in a 2012 promotional video, Unilever said it had sold 40 billion sachets.
To read the rest of the story from Reuters, go here.