The business, whose brands include Dove, Ben & Jerry’s and Lipton, said it would achieve this by cutting its “absolute use of plastic packaging” by over 100,000 tonnes and “accelerating its use of recycled plastic.” Virgin plastics are produced using raw materials, rather than recycled ones.
The Anglo-Dutch firm also vowed to “help collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells.” Unilever’s current plastic packaging footprint is around 700,000 tonnes each year.
“The way that we’ll reduce the virgin plastic in half is by, first, an absolute reduction in the amount of plastic that we use, and that’s going to require our best innovative capability to come up with different packaging formats,” Alan Jope, Unilever’s CEO, told CNBC’s Julianna Tatelbaum.
“But also, we’re going to make much more use of recycled materials, stuff that the consumer has put into recycling streams and which we’re able to use,” Jope added. “And by doing that we hope to trigger the continued development of the recycled material business system.”
Jope said the first job would be to reshape the company’s portfolio — suggesting a radical shift in how products will appear on shelves.
“We have to move products that are currently made from brand new plastic into lighter weight materials that use more recycled plastic,” he added. “But yes, we’ll be doing concentration, we’ll be doing compaction, and we’ll be doing naked products.