Unilever becomes 'zero landfill' company in Europe

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
22 October 2015

Unilever has announced it has become a “zero landfill" company in Europe and it is aiming to extend the policy to its global operations "around the end of the year".

The FMCG giant said this meant across Europe no non-hazardous waste from manufacturing facilities, Unilever-owned or fully-operated premises, logistics operations, distribution centres or offices went to landfill.

Unilever, which is behind brands including Persil, Hellmann’s and Wall’s, said it was aiming to become a zero waste company globally by around the end of 2015 and it was working towards a “zero waste value chain”.

Earlier this year the €48.4 billion turnover business said it had stopped sending non-hazardous waste to landfill across its global network of 242 factories in 67 countries. The latest declaration adds 63 facilities in Europe to this tally.

The company said hazardous waste made up a “very small percentage of total factory waste” and the types of materials this included varied “due to differing local waste regulations around the world”.

Chief supply chain officer Pier Luigi Sigismondi, said: “Our zero waste to landfill goal is essential to Unilever’s sustainable growth ambitions and we aspire to see an industry-wide movement here.  

“In June this year we partnered with peer companies, experts and key stakeholders to get people personally connected with this environmental and social issue. We are convinced that only together can we eliminate waste on an unprecedented scale across the globe.  

“Our European teams have reached an important new milestone and proven the model and mindset that drove our factory achievements is repeatable outside of a manufacturing environment.”

Unilever’s president of Europe, Jan Zijderveld, said: “Achieving zero waste company is complex as we do not own or even majority occupy many of the non-manufacturing sites and our teams have invested a lot of energy, shown real entrepreneurship and initiative to overcome multiple challenges.

“With sustainable brands delivering more growth and savings made through greater resource efficiency and better use of materials, the business case for sustainability is becoming increasingly clear.”

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