High Performer: Unilever Australia

Unilever Logo © Unilever

We have seen some great results including a major milestone of achieving zero non-hazardous waste to landfill from our Australian manufacturing sites.

Unilever Australia Ltd received the Australian Packaging Covenant's High Performer award for a large pharmacy and personal care company. The award recognises Unilever’s innovative approach to packaging sustainability, waste reduction and education campaigns.

Unilever’s purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace. In 2010, the company launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, a blueprint for sustainable business to decouple growth from environmental impact and increase positive social impact by 2020. The scale of this ambition and the challenges of climate, resource efficiency and increased consumption has seen Unilever looking beyond their own operations to partner with others in business, government and society towards a world where everyone can live well and within the natural limits of the planet.

Unilever’s APC achievements encompass the different types of actions companies can take to create a more sustainable business, acting as a key example of the practices that promote the future of recycling.

Reducing the size of ice cream sticks saved

16 tonnes of wood a year.

Key Achievements

  • All 12.3 million Dove bar cartons in Australia are manufactured from recycled or certified sustainably sourced board.
  • Lipton Green Tea: removed foil wrapping and changed format, saving 28 tonnes of packaging annually.
  • Ice Cream Sticks: created shorter sticks, saving 16 tonnes wood annually.
  • Dove Aerosols: changed to a lightweight design saving 2.7 tonnes of aluminium annually.
  • 87% of total waste is currently being recycled and all non-hazardous waste from manufacturing diverted away from landfill.

Key Activities

  • Committed to buying 100% of raw materials from sustainable sources by 2020 and requesting suppliers use recycled content when possible.
  • Aim to reduce the weight of packaging by one third by 2020.
  • Send organic waste to Earthpower, who use anaerobic digesters to make green electricity.
  • Imported pallets sent for shredding to make bedding for chickens.
  • Waste awareness training conducted at all manufacturing sites.
  • Sponsored national education campaign to raise awareness about aerosol recycling.

“Reducing our waste is an integral part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan and we have been working to address this in a number of ways here in Australia, right through from the way we source, manufacture and package our products to how we increase recycling rates and reduce packaging litter.

Four years into our Sustainable Living Plan journey we have seen some great results including a major milestone of achieving zero non-hazardous waste to landfill from our Australian manufacturing sites.

We are very proud of these achievements but we also know there is more to be done. We are committed to continuing to reduce the environmental footprint of our products and achieving the goals of our Sustainable Living Plan in collaboration with our many external partners.”

Clive Stiff, Chairman and CEO Unilever Australia and New Zealand.