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Unilever and EWS-WWF deliver workshop to mitigate retailer environmental impact

United Arab Emirates, Dubai, – Unilever, one of the world’s largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and Emirates Wildlife Society, in association with WWF (EWS-WWF) have partnered together to deliver a workshop to six major retailers in the UAE, including; Spinneys, Carrefour, Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society, Emirates Co-operative Society, Aswaaq and K.M. Trading. The aim of the workshop is to build the capability of the retailers to assist them in implementing energy and water efficiency measures in their premises to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change.

The UAE has one of the highest footprints globally; five times more than world average in terms of emissions per capita and ranking 3rd in terms of water consumption per capita**, which is expected to grow by 44% by 2025. According to EWS-WWF, developing and implementing a measurable strategy to reduce carbon dioxide CO2 emissions associated with energy and water consumption involves tracking and monitoring consumption, developing ambitious efficiency targets, strong implementation on efficiency measures in addition to engaging internal stakeholders across an organisation including supply chain, to secure management and employee buy-in.

Unilever held this workshop in line with the company’s vision of doubling the size of its business while halving its environmental footprint across its value chain, from sourcing to consumption.

“Taking proactive action on climate change is essential to ensuring the sustainable continuity of our business. We will also reap the benefits in innovation, new product development and cost efficiencies. As part of Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan, we have set a target to halve the greenhouse gas impact of our products across their lifecycle by 2020. We are making progress towards this commitment, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport and manufacturing, reducing water consumption and reducing the waste from our sites.” Said Ahmed Kadous, Supply Chain Director, Unilever Gulf.

Ida Tillisch, Director General of EWS-WWF said “We are delighted to work collaboratively with Unilever and retailers to create dialogue, share knowledge and provide tools and local insights on maximizing energy and water efficiency to reduce the UAE’s high per capita carbon footprint and tackle climate change. 

It is very encouraging to see Unilever’s promotion of sustainable business practices through engagement with its clients and retailers, and shows the power of the private sector in reaching out and driving ambitious targets across its value chain. We welcome this approach and hope to see more retailers adopting strategies to reduce energy and water use in their own supply chains.”

Big actions – Big Impact

“The 2014 New Climate Economy Report clearly states that investing in energy efficiency and renewables makes sound business sense,” said Paul Polman, Unilever Global CEO, “If every major company affected by climate change were to address the issue we could together make a significant impact. We hope that other businesses recognise the urgent need to future proof their operations, provide for the long term needs of their consumers, step off the sidelines and move into action,” said Paul Polman, Unilever Global CEO.

This year, Unilever has achieved its target of sending zero waste to landfill from its manufacturing sites across the world. Achieving this key sustainability target has resulted in more than €200m of cost avoidance for Unilever and created hundreds of jobs.. 

In the Gulf region, Unilever has taken many initiatives to reduce the environmental impact by putting in place different consumer and corporate projects from promoting water conservation amongst consumers with the support of the utility authorities, such as DEWA, to introducing the right systems and processes internally to become the first site to send “zero waste” to landfill in the UAE.

* Source: The World Bank

** Source: UNEP

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About Unilever:

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2 billion consumers a day. It has more than 172,000 employees and generated sales of €48.4 billion in 2014. Over half of the company’s footprint is in developing and emerging markets (57% in 2014). With more than 400 brands found in homes across the world, its portfolio includes Omo, Dove, Knorr, Domestos, Lifebuoy, Lipton, Sunsilk, Signal, Magnum and Axe.

Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) aims to double the size of the business whilst reducing environmental footprint and increasing positive social impact. Its three goals are:

Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being

Decoupling their growth from their environmental impact

And enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020

Unilever was ranked number one in its sector in the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In the FTSE4Good Index Series, it attained a top environmental score of 5. It led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey for the fourth year running, and in 2015 was ranked the most sustainable food and beverage company in Oxfam’s Behind the Brands Scorecard.

Unilever has been named in LinkedIn’s Top 3 most sought-after employers across all sectors. For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com. For more information on the USLP: www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/

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