Wetenschap en innovatie cruciaal voor duurzamer leven
Unilever brengt experts op het gebied van gedragsverandering bij elkaar tijdens nieuw symposium in Vlaardingen. (Bericht alleen uitgegeven in het Engels.)
Innovation will be critical to driving mass behaviour changes
Unilever brings together behaviour change experts at new Vlaardingen symposium
Rotterdam, 12 June 2012.- Science and innovation will be instrumental in helping people to change towards more sustainable lifestyles, Unilever CEO Paul Polman said in a speech today.
Introducing the Symposium on Behaviour Change for Better Health in Vlaardingen, Polman said that Research & Development has a major role to play in deepening companies' understanding of consumer behaviour, and designing the solutions which encourage them to adopt more sustainable habits – in both developed and developing & emerging markets.
Overcoming the challenge of consumer behaviour change is a key focus for Unilever in its efforts to deliver the targets set in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which outlines the company's vision to double the size of its business while reducing its environmental impact and increasing its positive social impact.
Under the plan, Unilever has committed to help a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, halve the environmental footprint of its products across their entire value chain, and source 100% of its agricultural raw materials sustainably – all by 2020.
With consumers' use of Unilever products accounting for 68 per cent of the company's carbon footprint, breakthrough science will act as “a critical catalyst and enabler of behaviour change” to help Unilever meet its targets. “If we are going to halve our environmental impact and help a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, we have to inspire consumers to choose more sustainable products and adopt more sustainable habits when they cook, clean and wash with our products,” said Polman.
“We know that if our scientific understanding of behaviour change is applied rigorously, behaviour change is possible. Superior products, new technologies and compelling ways of deploying behaviour change programmes are some of the ways we have learnt to use science and innovation to inspire change amongst shoppers, individuals and even households.
“We see this in play everyday – from the person at risk of cardiovascular disease who is using plant based margarines to reduce their saturated fat intake to school children who want to share what they have learnt about washing hands with soap with their family.” “Changing behaviour is going to require further new approaches, and science and innovation will be critical in helping people to change towards a more sustainable, healthier lifestyle. We need to take on the challenge of applying the best of our scientific and technological advancements and using them to work towards a sustainable future.
This is something that requires a long term-committed investment and widespread collaboration.” In April 2012, Unilever reported on its first year of progress towards achieving its USLP targets. Whilst there has been good progress in some areas, such as in sustainable sourcing where 24% of Unilever’s total agricultural raw materials are now sustainably sourced, the targets which require consumer behaviour change are areas where progress is happening, but will take longer to fully achieve. Last year Unilever published its own model for effective behaviour change, the Five Levers for Change.
This offers a practical tool based on decades of research, observation and skill from inside and outside Unilever. The document emphasises that to action change in behaviour it is necessary to make it understood, easy, desirable, rewarding, and habitual.
Notes for the editor
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Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with operations in over 100 countries and sales in 190. Consumers buy 170 billion Unilever packs around the world every year, and our products are used over two billion times a day. We have more than 171,000 employees, and generated annual sales of €46.5 billion in 2011.
Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most loved brands including thirteen €1 billion brands, and global leadership in most categories in which we operate. The portfolio features iconic brands such as: Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Dove, Vaseline, Persil, Cif, Marmite and Pot Noodle.
Unilever’s ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental impact (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal). We are also committed to doing what we can to improve health, nutrition and hygiene, with a target to help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, as well as sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020. All of these goals are itemised in around 60 time-based commitments in our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.
Unilever has led the Food Producers sector in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 13 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. In 2011 Unilever led the Climate Counts Company Scorecard and was named #1 in the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders according to the latest survey findings from GlobeScan Inc. and SustainAbility Ltd.
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Unilever R&D involves over 6,000 professionals, six strategic centres for global R&D and 31 major product development centres. The strategic centres are located in Trumbull, US, Port Sunlight and Colworth in the UK, Vlaardingen in The Netherlands, Bangalore in India and Shanghai in China. In 2011, our investment in R&D was around €1bn.
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