Unilever increases sustainable efforts with new commitments
To improve the health of the planet Unilever has established a new range of measures and commitments - taking even more decisive action - to fight climate change; to protect and regenerate nature; and to preserve resources for future generations.
In order to accelerate this action, Unilever’s brands will be investing US$1.1bn into a dedicated ‘Climate and Nature Fund’ which will be used over the next ten years to undertake meaningful and decisive action against climate change.
The organisation's projects will likely include landscape restoration, reforestation, carbon sequestration, wildlife protection and water preservation.
“While the world is dealing with the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and grappling with serious issues of inequality, we can’t let ourselves forget that the climate crisis is still a threat to all of us. Climate change, nature degradation, biodiversity decline, water scarcity – all these issues are interconnected, and we must address them all simultaneously. In doing so, we must also recognise that the climate crisis is not only an environmental emergency; it also has a terrible impact on lives and livelihoods. We, therefore, have a responsibility to help tackle the crisis: as a business, and through direct action by our brands,” explained Alan Jope, Unilever CEO.
Science based targets
Currently, Unilever's science based targets are to have no carbon emissions from its operations and to halve its GHG footprint of its products across the value chain by 2030. However, in response to the scale and urgency of the climate crisis, Unilever has added further commitments to achieve net zero emissions for all its products by 2039.
“To achieve this goal 11 years ahead of the 2050 Paris Agreement deadline, we 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,” commented Unilever, who believes that transparency relating to carbon footprint will be an accelerator in the global race to zero emissions.
“To do this, we will set up a system for our 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,” added Unilever, who believes that this must be a collective effort not only from businesses but from governments too.
“Unilever has been leading the industry on sustainable sourcing practices for over a decade, and we are proud that 89% of our forest-related commodities are certified as sustainably sourced to globally recognised standards,” commented Unilever.
Unilever’s efforts to end deforestation and drive sustainable sourcing includes:
- Achieve a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023, by increasing traceability and transparency by using emerging digital technologies, as well as looking beyond forest to protect other important areas of high conservation value
- Regenerating nature to increase local biodiversity, restore soil health, and preserve water conservation and access by empower a new generation of farmers and smallholders
- Introducing a pioneering Regenerative Agriculture Code for all our suppliers
- implementing water stewardship programmes for local communities in 100 locations by 2030
- Joining the 2030 Water Resources Group
- Making its product formulations biodegradable by 2030
“Our collective responsibility in tackling the climate crisis is to drive an absolute reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, not simply focus on offsetting – and we have the scale and determination to make it happen. But this is not enough. If we want to have a healthy planet long into the future, we must also look after nature,” added Marc Engel, Unilever Chief Supply Chain Officer.
“The planet is in crisis, and we must take decisive action to stop the damage, and to restore its health,” concluded Jope.
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5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.