We are taking action to address our climate change risks, as well as working to create the opportunities these changes could present across our value chain. We combine actions to change our own business and value chain, with collective efforts and advocacy to help achieve the wider systems changes needed to create a low-carbon world. Our climate strategy is focused in a number of areas.
Reducing emissions in our supply chain
Around 27% of our GHG footprint comes from raw materials for ingredients and packaging. Mitigating the physical impacts of climate change is critical because we depend on raw materials sourced from countries that are particularly vulnerable to rising sea temperatures and changing weather patterns. An important step in mitigating this risk was the launch in 2018 of the renewed Sustainable Agriculture Code (PDF | 8MB) (SAC 2017), which has guidance on all aspects of Climate Smart Agriculture.
Our commitment to source 100% of our palm oil from sustainable sources is helping to avoid emissions from deforestation from agricultural commodity supply chains. We’re also encouraging the entire industry, including growers, traders, manufacturers and retailers to set and meet high standards of palm oil production, extending beyond current certification schemes.
In particular, we are focused on helping catalyse transformative change at the landscape or jurisdictional level in key regions of South-East Asia, South America, and West and Central Africa; and on ensuring – through our networks and relationships – that large-scale, performance-based payments for emissions reductions from forests are available to tropical forest countries. Find out more in protecting our forests.
Reducing emissions in our operations
Our own factories and sites are the parts of our value chain over which we have the greatest control. We've committed to becoming carbon positive in our operations by 2030. That means 100% of our energy will come from renewable sources – and we intend to directly support the generation of more renewable energy than we need for our own operations, making the surplus available to the markets and communities in which we operate.
Our Foods & Refreshment Division has prioritised reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ice cream freezers since 2008. As the world’s largest producer of ice cream, we have committed to accelerating the roll-out of freezer cabinets that use more climate-friendly natural (hydrocarbon) refrigerants.
Reducing emissions through product innovation
Over 60% of our GHG footprint occurs when consumers use our products. We’re using our knowledge and resources in innovation and R&D to bring people the products they enjoy but which also respond to the challenge of climate change, while creating business growth opportunities. For example, our concentrated liquid laundry detergents, such as Persil and Omo enable people to wash their clothes at lower temperatures, reducing GHG emissions by up to 50% per load.
Alongside our work on liquid detergents, we continue to lead the industry in developing lower-impact powders by removing or reducing phosphate – a key component with high GHG impact. We have eliminated phosphates in our machine dishwash products and reached a 95% reduction in the global use of phosphates across our laundry powders, resulting in lower CO2 emissions of up to 50% per single consumer use.
A shift to vegetarian and vegan diets is also helping to reduce emissions. The business opportunity for natural and plant-based foods and beverages is significant as consumer demand grows. We have a range of vegan and vegetarian variants such as Hellmann’s vegan mayonnaise, Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy ice creams, Magnum vegan and other options. Two new brands – Love Home and Planet, a range of plant-based, home-cleaning products and Love Beauty and Planet, a natural hair and skincare product range – respond to the demand for vegan products. Find out more in innovating to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Advocacy and partnerships to drive systems change
Tackling climate change requires transformational changes to the broader systems in which we operate. For this, we need ambitious government policy that creates the right context for change and business action. It’s critical that organisations from all sectors work in collaboration, partnering on projects and initiatives to take action. Find out more about our external engagement on climate-related issues in global climate action.
We support the advocacy work of the We Mean Business and are actively involved in a number of other business-led initiatives such as WBCSD’s Low Carbon Technology Partnership Initiatives, RE100 which campaigns for renewable energy, the HRH The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and the B Team. We have publicly supported calls for carbon pricing and are a member of the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, hosted by the World Bank.
We are signatories of the Caring for Climate initiative, led by the UN Global Compact together with UNEP and the Secretariat of the UNFCCC, which aims to shape the engagement of businesses with climate change. We are committed to engaging responsibly to help shape climate policy through positive lobbying and regularly review our trade association memberships to ensure alignment with our internal policy positions on climate change. In the last few years, incompatible trade association positions on climate change has been a factor in our decision to revoke membership of at least one trade association.