LONDON/ROTTERDAM/PARIS, Wednesday 24th October 2018 - Unilever and Veolia today announced that they have signed a collaboration agreement to jointly work on emerging technologies that will help create a circular economy on plastics across various geographies, starting in India and Indonesia. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, just 14% of the plastic packaging used globally is collected for recycling after use, with 40% ending up in landfill and a third in fragile ecosystems.
In 2017, Unilever made an industry leading commitment to ensure that all its plastic packaging will be designed to be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. To help create an end market for this material, the company also committed to increase the recycled plastic content in its packaging to at least 25% by 2025. These targets are driving real change in the business – in particular how packaging is designed for recyclability and reuse.
In reaching this important agreement, Unilever and Veolia acknowledge that the issue of plastic waste is a shared responsibility that requires bold action across the value chain to develop and scale up collection and reprocessing infrastructure, which is critical in the transition towards a circular economy. The work will focus on material collection, which will help channel recycled content back into the value chain. Veolia will work with Unilever to implement used packaging collection solutions, add recycling capacity and develop new processes and business models through this partnership in various countries.
Marc Engel, Unilever’s Chief Supply Chain Officer, commented: “The scale of the plastic waste issue is getting worse, not better, with the production of plastics expected to double over the next two decades. We all have a lot more to do to address this critical issue and we hope that by partnering with Veolia, a world leader in waste management, we can take meaningful strides towards a circular economy.”
Laurent Auguste, Senior Executive Vice-President of Veolia for Development, Innovation and Markets, commented: “There is an undeniable need to transform the current way plastic packaging end of life is managed in order to reduce significantly its environmental footprint. It will take a collaboration of a new kind between all the actors of the value chain. With this global partnership, Veolia and Unilever join forces in various geographies around the globe and, from the collection to the recycling, take a leadership role to redefine a responsible and sustainable future for packaging”.
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. It has 161,000 employees and generated sales of €53.7 billion in 2017. Over half (57%) of the company’s footprint is in developing and emerging markets. Unilever has more than 400 brands found in homes all over the world, including Persil, Dove, Knorr, Domestos, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, PG Tips, Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum and Lynx.
Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan underpins the company’s strategy and commits to:
- Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
- Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
- Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.
The USLP creates value by driving growth and trust, eliminating costs and reducing risks. The company’s sustainable living brands are growing 46% faster than the rest of the business and delivered 70% of the company’s growth in 2017.
Unilever was ranked as an industry leader in the 2018 Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In the FTSE4Good Index, it achieved the highest environmental score of 5. It led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the 2017 GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey for the seventh year running, and achieved four A ratings across Climate Change, Water, Forests and Supplier Engagement in CDP's 2018 Global Supply Chain report.
Unilever has pledged to become carbon positive in its operations by 2030, and to ensure 100% of its plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit . For more information on the USLP: .
Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With nearly 169 000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions which contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries.
Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them. In 2017, the Veolia group supplied 96 million people with drinking water and 62 million people with wastewater service, produced nearly 55 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 47 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy. Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €25.12 billion in 2017 (USD 30.1 billion).