One of the leading manufacturers of cleaning and laundry products in the world, Unilever today made a huge announcement that will see the company make drastic but essential changes to its product line by 2030.
Unilever Plc. reported that it will make an investment of € 1 billion (UGX 4,362,444,448) in an effort to eliminate fossil fuels from its cleaning products by 2030. The move will help the manufacturer reduce carbon emissions generated by chemicals used in the manufacture of its products.
As several organisations and companies such as Tesla to mention but a few aim for a clean and carbon-free future, Unilever has joined the fight against carbon emissions and hopes to achieve its goal 9 years from now.
Popularly known for its household products such as Omo, Cif, Sunlight, and Domestos, Unilever will replace petrochemical components with those derived from plants and other biological, marine sources such as algae and waste.
According to the manufacturer, it will source 100% of the carbon derived from fossil fuels in its cleaning and laundry product formulations with renewable or recycled carbon as part of their sustainability of global cleaning and laundry brands including.
The company is putting €1 billion into its Clean Future programme so as to finance biotechnology research, CO2 and waste utilisation, and low carbon chemistry – which will all enable it to switch from fossil fuel-derived chemicals.
The investment will also be used to create biodegradable and water-efficient product formulations, to halve the use of virgin plastic by 2025, and support the development of brand communications that make these technologies appealing to consumers, said Unilever.
Unilever is already making moves to see that it achieves its goal for a cleaner future by 2030
The Clean Future investment programme is part of the manufacturers’ ‘Climate and Nature fund’, which is focused on creating ‘affordable cleaning and laundry products that deliver superior cleaning results with a significantly lower environmental impact’ according to their blog update.
The new move shouldn’t come as a shock since most cleaning and laundry products available today contain chemicals made from fossil fuels, which a non-renewable source of carbon. It’s also a deliberate shift for the company which wants to make changes to its manufacturing process by moving away from the fossil fuel economy as part of its pledge of net zero emissions from its products by 2039.
The chemicals used in Unilever’s cleaning and laundry products make up the greatest proportion of their carbon footprint (46%) across their lifecycle. Therefore, by transitioning away from fossil fuel-derived chemicals in product formulations, the company will unlock novel ways of reducing the carbon footprint of some of the world’s biggest cleaning and laundry brands. Unilever expects this initiative alone to reduce the carbon footprint of the product formulations by up to 20% according to the news report.
Peter ter Kulve, Unilever’s President of Home Care, explains: “Clean Future is our vision to radically overhaul our business. As an industry, we must break our dependence on fossil fuels, including as a raw material for our products. We must stop pumping carbon from under the ground when there is ample carbon on and above the ground if we can learn to utilise it at scale.
“We’ve seen unprecedented demand for our cleaning products in recent months and we are incredibly proud to play our part, helping to keep people safe in the fight against Covid-19. But that should not be a reason for complacency. We cannot let ourselves become distracted from the environmental crises that our world – our home – is facing. Pollution. Destruction of natural habitats. The climate emergency. This is the home we share, and we have a responsibility to protect it.”
Clean Future is Unilever’s ‘Carbon Rainbow’
Clean Future is Unilever’s ‘Carbon Rainbow’, a novel approach the company believes will help to diversify the carbon used in its product formulations. Non-renewable fossil sources of carbon (identified in the Carbon Rainbow as black carbon) will be replaced 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 programmes to prevent unintended pressures on land use.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.