Environmental strategy - Unilever

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Our environmental strategy has focused primarily on achieving its goals through eco-efficiency in manufacturing, eco-innovation in our products, and through our three sustainability initiatives in agriculture, fish and water.

Our approach

We have gained considerable experience and understanding through our work in the sustainability initiatives and the advances we have made in improving eco-efficiency in our factories. So in 2003, we began to look more carefully at three additional areas:

1. Ways to connect better with our consumers on environmental care and ensure that their needs and desires are met by our brands.

We are beginning to understand that people have views in their role as consumers and also views as citizens. We need to take both into account and build this understanding into the way we position our brands, where appropriate.

As a start, we are enhancing our Iglo, Birds Eye and Findus (Italy) frozen food brands with an updated positioning of "natural pioneering food, simply frozen", using our work on sustainable agricultural and fishing practices, as well as the quality of our raw materials, to support our claim.

Working with Forum for the Future, a UK sustainability organisation, we have run a test workshop in the UK on Ben & Jerry's ice cream, looking at the brand's opportunities and vulnerabilities, as seen from the point of view of a non-governmental organisation.

2. How to make the most of our eco-manufacturing skills across the wider supply chain, including third-party product suppliers, providers of key raw materials and transportation.

Since 1995 we have made considerable progress in reducing the environmental impact of our manufacturing operations and are now building on this experience to work across the wider supply chain with suppliers, contract manufacturers and transport providers.

We have long had systems to ensure we know the source and quality of...