With 70,000 tons of plastic waste annually, Unilever is a major contributor of plastic pollution
In 2019, plastic demands increased by 3.5%, one-third of which was used for single-use packaging1. The production of plastic is expected to grow by 40% by 20301. Only 10% of the used plastic is recycled while the rest is dumped into landfills, incinerated or left unattended, leading to GHG emissions1. Around 8m tons of the plastic litter get thrown into rivers and ultimately pollute the sea1.
Unilever’s Water Footprint improves in manufacturing (-47% baseline 2008), but increases water impact per customer use (+1% baseline 2008).
More than 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress. The situation will likely worsen as populations and the demand for water grow, and as the effects of climate change intensify1. Water scarcity and climate change are major risks to businesses in most sectors2. They have the potential to disrupt supply chains and impact the costs of raw materials. Today, around 40% of Unilever’s manufacturing sites are in areas classified as water stressed3.
Unilever’s Indian Subsidiary rebrands its skin whitening products amid racial protests in the US
Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), the Indian subsidiary of the global conglomerate Unilever has announced that it has dropped the word ‘Fair’ from its best selling product ‘Fair & Lovely’4, India's largest-selling skin lightening cream which holds an 80% market share in the industry1.This response from Unilever comes in the wake of the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement prompted by the death of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, in police custody5.The public outrage that followed the death has urged companies across the world, to check their businesses for signs of discrimination based on race, color, gender, etc5.
Unilever's contribution towards ensuring that South African schools have adequate access to sanitation through its home care brand Domestos
According to the global WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) facts, more than 35% of the world's population does not have adequate sanitation1. Poor sanitation is directly linked to the transmission of diseases. It has been shown to reduce human well-being, social and economic development due to impacts such as anxiety, risk of sexual assault and lost educational opportunities2. Taking this into account, the need for proper sanitation in schools is essential.
Unilever boycotts Facebook, Instagram & Twitter to stop online hate-speech
The rise of social media has led to a revolutionary way of connecting and sharing information with billions of people across the globe. According to Our World in Data, 3.5 billion people are found online with 2.4 billion of them using Facebook.1 With its tremendous scope and reach, Facebook has been described as “the most significant advance in persuasion since the radio was invented in the 1890s”. 2 However, it has been widely criticized for its inaction against discrimination, racism, and hate speech among others.