The company provides consumer goods in 180 countries across the food, personal care, and cleaning product segments. In 2009, Unilever launched its Sustainable Living Plan. The plan contains over 50 targets that will assist the company in halving its direct (e.g., manufacturing) and indirect (e.g., use of products by consumers) environmental impacts by 2020. Unilever has also created an Agriculture Code, to which 100% of its suppliers/farmers must comply by 2020. Standards outlined include agrochemicals, soils, water, biodiversity, energy, and waste. Unilever’s plan also sets goals for the company’s packaging use, energy use, logistics, and waste. 2020 targets include: reduce packaging weight by one-third; reduce carbon dioxide emissions from its logistics network to 2010 levels, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from energy used at factories to 2008 levels or below.
While the company demonstrates leadership across the majority of its large impact areas, Portfolio 21 has requested that the company strengthen its Precautionary Principle approach. Although Unilever has committed to discontinuing the use of two phthalates (DBP and DEHP) on a global basis, the company has not committed to a global application of the European Union Cosmetics Directive, which requires the elimination of additional ingredients known or highly suspected to be carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins.
To the best of our knowledge the above information is accurate and was obtained from sources we believe to be reliable. Neither the information presented above nor any opinion expressed shall be construed as an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy the security. The views expressed are those of portfolio management as of 4/30/12 and may not reflect current opinions or subsequent events.