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16 April 2013 | Helen Gilbert
Unilever has reduced the carbon dioxide emissions from its manufacturing and logistics operations by more than one million tonnes – the equivalent of taking 250,000 cars off the road, the company has announced.
In a statement, the food and consumer goods giant said the savings - a combination of 838,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide made through improvements to manufacturing activities and 211,000 tonnes achieved by more efficient global logistics operations – were attained alongside the company increasing its sales by 26 per cent from €40.5 billion (£34.6 billion) in 2008 to €51.3 billion (£43.8 billion) in 2012.
Carbon dioxide reduction measures introduced by Unilever included:
● 30 cost-efficient renewable-energy biomass boilers, which reduced bio-waste, in addition to helping the company reach its 40 per cent renewable energy target.
● A combined heat and power plant (CHP) in Europe – which helped reduce carbon dioxide by 50,000 tonnes and save €10 million.
● An UltraLogistik control tower in Katowice (Poland), which enabled the efficient coordination of thousands of transport movements across road, rail, sea and air and saved the company €50 million (£42 million) in costs since 2008.
Unilever also outlined its intention to create regional distribution hubs, which would improve operational efficiency and reduce distance travelled by 175 million kilometres in Europe alone, it said.
Other plans include the introduction of six more biomass boilers in Latin America, Africa and Asia and the installation of CHP units in Mexico and South Africa.
“Our primary focus is to reduce overall energy use by improving the eco-efficiency of everything we do in our factories, offices and other operations,” John Maguire, Unilever’s group manufacturing sustainability director said.
“We leverage our global scale by selecting ideas that have the best financial and eco-efficiency payback and then implement them globally. We are also committed to ensuring as much as possible of the energy we use comes from sustainable sources, for example 100 per cent of the electrical energy we buy in Europe and North America comes from renewable sources.”