Unilever to seek shareholder approval for climate transition action plan

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14 December, 2020


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WBCSD Communications

London, 14 December 2020 – The Unilever Board today announced the intention to put its climate transition action plan before shareholders and seek a non-binding advisory vote on the company’s ambitious emissions reduction targets and the plans to achieve them.

The plan will set out the company’s climate strategy to reduce emissions within its operations, through its value chain, as well as describe how the company is managing risks and meeting consumer needs connected with climate change and societal responses to it.

It is the first time a major global company has voluntarily committed to put its climate transition plans before a shareholder vote.

Unilever believes that the economy-wide shift to net-zero emissions will require a greater and deeper level of engagement between companies and their investors about their climate transition plans. In setting out our plan, we hope this increased level of transparency and accountability will strengthen the dialogue with our shareholders and encourage other companies to follow suit.

Unilever’s science-based targets include:

  • Zero emissions from its own operations by 20301
  • A 50% reduction in the average footprint of its products by 20302

In addition, in June this year, Unilever announced a new net-zero target:

  • Net-zero emissions from sourcing to point of sale, by 2039.

Achieving these targets will require a range of measures including decarbonizing the raw materials it sources, completing the transition of its operations to 100% renewable energy, advocating for the accelerated decarbonization of the global energy grid, eliminating deforestation from its supply chain, and innovation and product reformulation through compaction and concentration.

In addition, to achieve its net-zero by 2039 target, Unilever will require high-quality carbon removal credits to balance any residual emissions from sourcing to point of sale.

Alan Jope, Unilever CEO said, “Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time and we are determined to play a leadership role in accelerating the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

“We have a wide-ranging and ambitious set of climate commitments – but we know they are only as good as our delivery against them. That’s why we will be sharing more detail with our shareholders who are increasingly wanting to understand more about our strategy and plans.

“We welcome this increased transparency and in the plan we present, we will be clear both about the areas in our direct control where we have a high degree of certainty of our route to net-zero, as well as more challenging areas across our value chain where systemic solutions will be required to achieve our targets.”

Unilever will share its climate transition action plan in Q1 2021, ahead of its AGM on May 5. The plan will be updated on a rolling basis and Unilever will seek an advisory vote every three years on any material changes made or proposed to the plan. The first year the company will report on its annual progress against the plan will be 2022.

1 Unilever commits to reduce scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 100% by 2030 from a 2015 base year.

2 Unilever has committed to reduce GHG emissions from the life-cycle of their products 50% per consumer use by 2030 from a 2010 base-year

More information here