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How Unilever inspired employees to reduce their environmental footprint

A unique initiative provided employees with practical ways to reduce their environmental footprint at home and in the office.

Hosted by well-known Channel 7 sports presenter Mark Beretta, The ‘Smarter Greener Living boot camp’, was part of an ongoing campaign todemonstrate how the smallactions of every employee can drive significant reductions in Greenhouse gas emissions, water-use and waste and contribute directly to the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan – an ambitious 10 year strategy aimed at doubling the size of the business, whilst reducing environmental impact and increasing positive social impact.

“Sustainable Living is at the very heart of our business model. The challenges facing our world today mean business as usual is no longer possible and it’s more important than ever that our people ‘walk the talk’,” said Unilever ANZ Chairman and CEO Clive Stiff. “We’re passionate about driving sustainable growth – and exciting activities like the boot camp are a great way to engage our people on this strategic priority.”

Held on World Environment Day, the Smarter Greener Living boot camp drove a sharp increase in uptake of sustainable actions by Unilever employees. Of the 400 employees who attended in Sydney:

·89%were inspired to take up a small action to reduce their waste

·82%have taken action to reduce their water use

·78%have taken action to reduce their energy use

·86%of employees spoke to family and friends about sustainable living

·70%signed up to a Unilever ‘Eco Team’, with over 200 people now signed up across 34 teams.

The event involved a series ofexciting and challengingworkshops that tested employees on their knowledge in areas such as food waste, recycling and water saving. As a result, many have put their learnings into action and committed to adopting more sustainable behaviours including four minute showers in the home, using ‘dry shampoo’ that doesn’t require water or energy and reducing food wastage through creative recipes using leftovers.

“When we launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan two years ago, we appointed every one of our employees as our ‘Head of Sustainability’. We want our employees to take individual ownership of our environmental goals by making sustainability a core part of everyone’s job; and that’s a message we continue to focus on with our people today,” added Mr Stiff.

The campaign generated positive feedback from employees, with many reporting that they now have a much greater understanding of the role they can play in helping deliver Unilever’s ambitious sustainability goals.

One employee who attended the boot camp said, “The boot camp gave us all the sense that we’re part of this pioneer movement, working together to find ways to be more sustainable, both at work and at home. I’ve got my whole family on board taking 5 minute showers now, and I’ve learnt so many practical lessons that I had no idea I could do beforehand. These are lessons that I will carry with me for life.”

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