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Unilever celebrates fifth year of Sustainable Living in MENA

Unveils UAE report on ‘Mobilizing Collective Actions to Achieve Sustainable Developmental Goals’. Event highlights progress against Collective Action via JAFZA Sustainability Network, Young Entrepreneur Awards & Hackathon and Zero waste to landfill blueprint

Dubai, November 1st, 2017 - To mark the 5th year of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), Unilever Gulf hosted an event titled #DrivingCollectiveAction to brief stakeholders on collective efforts taken in the last year towards meeting the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UAE Vision 2021. Held on November 1st, 2017 at the Dubai Chamber offices in Deira, the multi-sectoral event saw support and participation from a host of public and private sector organisations, including DP World, Jebel Ali Freezone Authority (JAFZA), Dulsco, Imdaad, MonViso and Blue LLC.

During the event, Unilever unveiled its report “Mobilizing Collective Actions to Achieve Sustainable Developmental Goals”. The report, which aims to continue the dialogue initiated in 2016, outlined the challenges and opportunities in the UAE in the areas of energy consumption & renewable energy; Zero Waste to Landfill; Entrepreneurship and Health.

In particular, the event highlighted three key achievements accomplished since its last event held a year ago – the setting up of the JAZFA Sustainability Network in association with JAFZA and DP World to drive sustainability goals via collective industry action; The Launch of the Young Entrepreneurs Awards as a platform to engage youth; and the creation of the ‘zero waste to landfill’ blueprint for companies to support a 75% reduction in non-hazardous waste going to UAE landfills by 2021.

"Since announcing our ambition of driving collective action last year, our progress has been inspired by the UAE Vision 2021, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. #DrivingCollectiveAction is not just a necessity to confront the increasingly challenging social, environmental & economic goals, but it also has a positive business impact.”

"Our research shows that 54% of our consumers want to be more sustainability conscious with their purchase decisions. Simply put, there’s never been a better time to create a brighter future,” said Sanjiv Kakkar, Executive Vice President for Unilever MENA, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

A high-powered panel discussion during the event saw industry leaders discuss strategies to support the UAE’s agenda of diverting 75% of all waste heading to landfills by 2021 through an integrated waste management strategy. The UAE is planning a 100% diversion rate by 2030, and is the only GCC country to have set clear numerical goals for its waste management efforts.

2017 also saw Unilever bring its Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Awards (YEA) to the UAE for the very first time. Via its hackathon, Unilever reached out to 8,000 young people under the age of 35 across 6 universities and 2 entrepreneurial incubators to spark ideas and innovate solutions for challenges identified by the UAE Vision 2021 and the SDGs. 120 team entries were shortlisted to 11 before 2 finalists were chosen. Winners were invited to the event to share their inspirational ideas.

“The Young Entrepreneur Awards are designed to harness the power of youth innovation in tackling pressing environmental concerns. We are delighted at being able to have reached out to 8,000 students across the country by working with universities and entrepreneur incubators.”

“The quality of ideas, and the dedication shown towards creating viable solutions, was inspiring. I also want to thank all our partners from the public and private sector for joining hands and making concerted efforts towards embedding sustainability – with the JAFZA Sustainability Network being a perfect example of collective action. We are delighted at the results we have already achieved, and are excited about charting new goals for 2018 and beyond,” said Cem Tarik Yuksel, Managing Director Unilever Gulf & Vice President Customer Development MENA, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine & Belarus.

The UAE Vision 2021 priority areas can be found at https://www.vision2021.ae/en/national-priority-areas. Meanwhile, the full list of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is available at http://www.globalgoals.org/outcomes/. Details on the Unilever MENA’s Sustainable Living Plan are available here: https://www.unileverme.com/sustainable-living/

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