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Enabling a clean and sustainable future

Unilever makes sustainable living accessible through its new Clean Future program

Unilever Philippines (ULP) joins many companies that are responding to the widespread call for a more sustainable future, grounded on bold climate action, through the global brand’s Clean Future initiative.

Earlier in September, the Unilever announced it will replace 100% of the carbon derived from fossil fuels in its cleaning and laundry product formulations with renewable or recycled carbon. This significant move is set to transform the sustainability of global cleaning and laundry brands, including the global brand’s portfolio in the Philippines. This also serves as a critical step towards Unilever’s pledge of net zero emissions from its products by 2039.

Unilever expects its Clean Future initiative alone to reduce the carbon footprint of its product formulations by up to 20%, more than twice lower than the 46% the company found across their lifecycle due to the chemicals used in its cleaning and laundry products.

By deliberately transitioning away from fossil fuel-derived chemicals in product formulations, Unilever aims to innovate ways of reducing the carbon footprint of some of the world’s biggest cleaning and laundry brands.

Aside from its avowed commitment, Unilever is ring-fencing €1 billion (or over Php58 billion) for the Clean Future initiative to finance biotechnology research, CO2 (carbon dioxide) and waste utilization, and low carbon chemistry.

The investment will be used to create biodegradable and water-efficient product formulations, halve the use of virgin plastic by 2025, and support the development of brand communications. Moreover, the investment is focused on creating affordable cleaning and laundry products that deliver superior cleaning results with a significantly lower environmental impact.

Tanya Steele, chief executive of World Wildlife Fund in United Kingdom, expressed her support for Unilever’s efforts in reducing its dependence on fossil fuels, stressing that renewable resources reduce pressure on the world’s fragile ecosystems and help restore nature. “These significant commitments from Unilever, combined with strong sustainable sourcing, have real potential to make an important contribution as we transition to an economy that works with nature, not against it,” Ms. Steele said in a statement.

Unilever’s Clean Future initiative is guided by its ‘Carbon Rainbow’, a novel approach to diversify the carbon used in its product formulations. Through this approach, Unilever plans to replace non-renewable fossil sources of carbon (identified in the Carbon Rainbow as black carbon) using captured CO2 (purple carbon), plants and biological sources (green carbon), marine sources such as algae (blue carbon), and carbon recovered from waste materials (grey carbon).

The sourcing of carbon under the Carbon Rainbow will be governed and informed by environmental impact assessments and work with Unilever’s industry-leading sustainable sourcing programs to prevent unintended pressures on land use.

Local efforts

In the Philippines, ULP has been pushing Clean Future forward through various programs carried by its cleaning products, which have seen an unprecedented growing demand with the onset of the current health crisis.

Echoing Unilever’s global initiative, Benjie Yap, chairman, and CEO of ULP, said that ULP continues to invest in strong partnerships and superior science as it continues to deliver products that are effective, affordable, and good for the planet. “While the 2030 Clean Future ambition is now starting to take shape, Unilever’s homecare brands in the Philippines have made great strides in making sustainable living commonplace to Filipinos. With all these moving at speed, we can truly achieve a clean future,” Mr. Yap continued.

Laundry detergent Surf, for instance, operates a flagship sachet collection program across the country with “MisisWalastik”. Multi-purpose home cleaner Domex, meanwhile, backs a partnership with the Department of Education for safe toilets in schools through its #TogetherWeAreUnstoppable initiative.

Further fulfilling Clean Future’s main objective, ULP’s cleaning brands like Breeze, Domex, Comfort, Sunlight, and Surf have started to roll out new bottle packaging made of 100% recycled material.

Unilever ensures, nonetheless, that products that reach consumers are made with ingredients and processed with the highest standards, as Sandeep Desai, ULP’s vice-president for supply chain, noted. “Our Clean Future program turbocharges Unilever’s Supply Chain operations so that our products can be made from renewable or circular sources, using cutting-edge tech, and work better in a climate-challenged world,” Mr. Desai explained.

The public, businesses, and partners can find out more about the Clean Future initiative by visiting www.unilever.com/brands/home-care/clean-future. Individuals or businesses with an idea for an innovation, solution, or opportunity to partner with Unilever to accelerate its Clean Future initiative can get in touch with Unilever through the company’s Sustainability Partnerships and Open Innovation Submission Portal https://bit.ly/37Ljt0i

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