Multinational company Unilever joins WWF in calling on Australian leaders to set the economy on course to a zero-carbon future, targeting net-zero emission from all products by 2039. This target will be eleven years ahead of the 2050 Paris Agreement deadline.
The multinational company aims to have the greenhouse (GHG) footprints across its operation. To accelerate the action, Unilever will collectively invest €1 billion (AUD$1.89 billion) in a new dedicated Climate and Nature Fund.
Unilever ANZ CEO Nicky Sparshott said, “Businesses and governments across Australia have demonstrated their ability and willingness to step up at this critical moment and pull together to protect our communities.”
“We need to continue working together to tackle the impacts of the coronavirus, whilst also setting our economy on a course to a more resilient, zero-carbon future that leaves no-one behind,” she added
The fund has been put into works, such as Ben & Jerry’s initiative to reduce GHG emissions from dairy farms; Seventh Generation’s advocacy for clean energy for all; and Continental’s support of farmers to grow food more sustainably.
To make their carbon footprint transparent, Unilever will set up a system for their suppliers to declare, on each invoice, the carbon footprint of the goods and services provided; and we will create partnerships with other businesses and organisations to standardise data collection, sharing and communication.
“Unilever must work jointly with our partners across our value chain, to collectively drive lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
“We will, therefore, prioritise building partnerships with our suppliers who have set and committed to their own science-based targets.”
Long-term economic stimulus packages must have climate action at their core
A new EY report commissioned by WWF – Australian renewable export COVID-19 recovery package – found an economic recovery based on renewables would boost local manufacturing, grow existing sectors, unlock new industries and 100,000 jobs, increase exports, reskill our workforce, and reduce carbon pollution. The report also revealed that every dollar of stimulus spent on clean projects generates nearly three times as many jobs per dollar than investment in fossil fuel projects.
“As our Government prepares to unleash some of the biggest stimulus packages Australia has ever seen, there is an incredible opportunity to use this moment of crisis and renewal to galvanise a more sustainable and future-facing economy. Beyond short-term emergency measures, long-term economic stimulus packages must put climate action at their core and build a better future – one that ensures clean air, more jobs and a healthy, safe environment.
“We need to transition away from high-carbon pathways, and public spending must align with the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to a maximum of 1.5ºC and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
Unilever Australia switches to 100% renewable electricity
In January 2020, Unilever Australia joined Unilever globally in switching to 100% renewable electricity to power all of our operations, well ahead of our end-2020 target. The majority of Unilever’s renewable electricity supply is met through a five-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with energy retailer Red Energy, which directly supports a number of wind and solar farms across NSW, Victoria & South Australia. The remainder is covered by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates.
As a result of making this switch, Unilever will reduce its greenhouse emissions by about 30,840 tonnes of CO2, each year. This is equivalent to the emissions generated by powering more than 3,600 Australian homes or 6,600 cars annually.
“Our switch to renewable electricity is not only good for the environment, but it also makes good business sense by delivering a combination of flexibility, cost savings and certainty on energy costs. It also gives our consumers reassurance that they are purchasing sustainably produced products, for which demand is increasingly growing.
“This local milestone demonstrates how we are decoupling our growth from our environmental impact. But there is still more to be done and we recognise the ongoing urgency of addressing climate change, which is why we have set new actions to accelerate change.”
Collective action will be critical to creating a zero-carbon future for Australia
“The race to zero must be a collective effort, and business alone cannot drive the transition at the speed that is required.
“Nothing is more powerful than businesses demonstrating to governments that accelerated progress in decarbonising the economy is possible. We’re doing this through ambitious targets within our own operations and we are also working in partnership with others to scale up action around the world.”
Aside from Unilever, other corporations like Lyft Inc. and alternative fibre company Lenzing are also reported to be switching to green business. Both companies are aiming to improve the sustainability of the automotive industry with Lyft plans to use 100% electric vehicle and Lenzing tries to incorporate their product for the interior of sustainable cars.