Driving action on climate change and reducing our impact
Tackling climate change requires transformational changes to the broader systems in which we operate. For this we need strong 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.
We’re advocating for policies that advance the goal of the Paris Agreement. That is, limiting global temperature rises to no more than 2 degrees, and ideally 1.5 degrees, by the end of the century. We’re doing this through ambitious targets within our own operations and working in partnership with others to scale up action around the world through multiple private sector groups and coalitions.
Nothing is more powerful than demonstrating to governments that accelerated progress in decarbonising the economy is actually possible. That is why in the lead up to COP21, we announced that we will become carbon positive in our operations by 2030.
We continue to work with organisations and initiatives such as, Sustainable Business Australia, Sustainability Advantage, Take 2, 350.org and Generation Yes to help drive alignment, scale and momentum in both the private sector’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and Australia’s role in achieving the 2015 Paris Climate Conference Agreement to keep global warming below 2C.
Leading by example – our carbon positive ambition
In addition to our policy engagement and advocacy efforts, we are taking strong action to decouple our growth from our impact and demonstrate that decarbonisation of the economy is both possible and makes good business sense.
This includes our ambition to source 100% of our energy across our operations from renewable sources and working with our partners to make any surplus energy we generate available to the markets and communities in which we operate. We have started this journey in Australia and New Zealand and have developed a renewable energy strategy outlining our roadmap for meeting this ambition.
In 2016, we proudly took out the Business Leadership category at the NSW Department of Environment and Heritage Green Globe Awards which recognise businesses that have fully integrated environmental management and sustainable practices into all aspects of their strategy and operations in Australia (and NSW in particular).
Bottling up environmental savings with Lipton
Our Lipton Ice Tea blow-filling process has helped us to lower our greenhouse gas emissions, reduce waste and lower transportation costs in Australia & New Zealand. The installation of an in-line bottle blowing facility at our factory in Tatura means we are able to purchase pre-form containers, which take up less space to transport, resulting in 1,200 less truck journeys each year. Our re-designed manufacturing process and energy recovery systems save over 1,300 tonnes of GHG’s annually and lightweight bottles and caps reduce 93 tonnes of plastic being used each year.
If it’s melted, it’s ruined!
Scientists agree that to prevent our environment from altering drastically, we need to stop average global temperatures from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius. This means that to avoid devastating impacts to our planet, we need to make sure that 80% of current fossil fuel reserves remain in the ground – that means coal staying where it belongs, in the ground.
Last year, Ben and Jerry’s joined forces with climate advocacy group 350.org Australia on the #STOPADANI roadshow to raise awareness of and stop what would be the biggest coal mine in Australia’s history due to its potential environmental ramifications.
This year, Ben & Jerry’s is joining 350.org Australia on the Accelerate Tour giving Australians the opportunity to learn more about why fossil fuel divestment will make such an impact on tackling climate change and how to take direct action by targeting institutions and lobbying them to divest. It aims to inspire people to unite and lead their local government authority to build a fossil-free community.
Reducing greenhouse gases from manufacturing
In 2017, we reduced CO2 emissions per tonne of production in Australia by a further 13% compared to 2016 and 30% compared to our 2008 baseline. We achieved this through improving our manufacturing practices, streamlining processes and investing in new and more efficient technologies.
At our factory in Tatura, Victoria, we installed Environment Guard insulation covers in our roof and new valves in our boiler room to help save gas and reduce heat loss, as well as automatic controls for lighting & HVAC in our wet foods plant. These improvements have delivered an equivalent of 450 tonnes of CO2 savings per year. We’ve also saved 1,300 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually through our ‘Blowfill Line, with further projects to be installed in the coming year.
Our Minto site in NSW has also implemented energy-saving initiatives including optimising the central heating ventilation and air-conditioning system, and overhauling air compressor motors.
Kelvin Ritchie, Environment Coordinator Unilever Australia and New Zealand, explains how our people are leading the charge to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
“At Unilever, our dedicated teams acknowledge the need to minimise impacts on the environment and prevent climate change. We also understand that manufacturing efficiency and sustainability go hand in hand. Our focus on the ambitions of the USLP and the range of sustainability projects we implement each year best demonstrate our commitment to the environment.”
Reducing greenhouse gases from refrigeration
Since 2010, we’ve replaced more than 18,834 Streets ice cream freezers across Australia & New Zealand with new models that use hydrocarbon refrigerant (R290). Our new, more climate-friendly freezers not only emit less CO2 but are also more economical to run.
We continue to help our network of convenience stores, petrol outlets and corner shops reduce the environmental impact of our freezers through our Streets Freezer Care Program.
Patrick Kerr, Customer Development Director shares how reducing the environmental impact of our freezers is a win-win for our customers and our planet.
“Reducing our environmental footprint and delivering sustainable growth is as much about rolling out natural refrigerant technology as it is about ensuring our customers use and care for our freezers in the right way to maximise the environmental savings and longevity of each cabinet. Our Streets Freezer Care Program features helpful tips and advice to help our customers run their freezers more efficiently, reduce their energy use which ultimately saves them money.”
Reducing energy consumption in our offices
In 2014 we split our Australian head office across two sites, a new Sydney CBD site and a refurbished North Rocks facility. As a result, we have reduced electricity consumption in our offices through the installation of timer controlled sensor lighting and air conditioning in all our meeting rooms.
The building where our CBD site is located has been awarded 4.5 out of 5 stars for energy under the National Australian Built Environment Ratings System (NABERS) criteria, reducing our energy use by 64% compared to our previous location.
We continue to work on reducing the environmental footprint of our Australian and New Zealand offices in different ways including undertaking an audit of IT server rooms to maximise the energy efficiency of cooling equipment.
In Australia and New Zealand, we also embrace flexible working policies which allow us to downsize the footprint of our workspaces and reduce our environmental impact. We’re also committed to reducing our environmental impact through packaging, waste and sustainable sourcing.