Unilever ranks No.1 for sustainability leadership, tenth year in a row

NETHERLANDS – Global consumer goods company, Unilever has been recognised as the No. 1 corporate sustainability leader for the tenth year in a row, according to the latest GlobeScan-SustainAbility survey.

“We are delighted to be once again ranked as the global leader in corporate sustainability in the annual survey compiled by GlobeScan and SustainAbility,” stated Unilever.

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This survey canvasses the opinions of experts from business, government, NGOs and academia.

Its aim is to track how the sustainability agenda is evolving and find out stakeholders’ views on which companies are leaders and why.

This year, more than 700 experts in over 70 countries were asked, unprompted, to name companies that they see as being leaders in integrating sustainability into their business strategy.

Unilever was mentioned by 42% of those who responded – that’s up five points on its 2019 score.

Also featuring on this year’s list are Patagonia (26%) and IKEA (14%), followed by Interface and Natura, both on 8%.

GlobeScan also analyses the scores by region. Unilever, Patagonia and IKEA take the 1-2-3 spots in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

The consumer group company topped in Africa with Anglo American coming in second, ahead of Patagonia. In Latin America, home-grown cosmetics company Natura is No.1, with Unilever second and IKEA third.

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“This geographic spread of leadership is a notable step-change from previous years. It indicates that our strategy to democratise sustainability through our Compass is being recognised externally on the ground where it really matters,” Unilever Chief Sustainability Officer Rebecca Marmot said.

The company first rose to the top of the GlobeScan survey in 2011, just a few months after it launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP).

The plan’s 2020 targets were to improve the health of 1 billion people, buy 100% of its agricultural materials from sustainable sources and halve the environmental impact of its products.

At the time, GlobeScan’s Senior Vice President Chris Coulter highlighted of its ambitions said, “The stakes for sustainability leadership have been raised to a new level.”

In the ten years of the Plan, the company has helped more than 1.3 billion people improve their health and hygiene. It has increased the amount of its agricultural raw materials that are sustainably sourced from 14% to 62%.

The company is now using 100% renewable grid electricity in its manufacturing operations worldwide.

Unilever is empowering over 2.3 million women, supporting them to develop new skills and expand their opportunities, while also helping 1.8 million small-scale retailers around the world access initiatives to improve their income.

“We’re proud of our achievements, but we know we still have a lot of work to do,” stated Unilever.

In June, the company launched ambitious new commitments and actions to fight climate change, protect and regenerate nature, and preserve resources for future generations.

These include net zero emissions from all its products by 2039 and a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023.

The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company has invested €1 billion (US$1.12bn) in a new Climate & Nature Fund over the next ten years in projects that will accelerate its ambitions of promoting a sustainable ecosystem.

“Our vision is to be the leader in sustainable business globally. We want to be a business that delivers value to all stakeholders – socially, environmentally and economically.

“We will do more of what has worked well and correct what hasn’t. And we’ll continue to set ourselves even more ambitious and progressive targets,” says Rebecca.

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