According to Paul Polman, Unilever CEO, ‘plastic packaging plays a critical role in making our products appealing, safe and enjoyable for our consumers. Yet it is clear that if we want to continue to reap the benefits of this versatile material, we need to do much more as an industry to help ensure it is managed responsibly and efficiently post consumer-use.’
Polman furthermore stated that to address the challenge of ocean plastic waste the industry as a whole needs to work on systemic solutions. ‘Ones which stop plastics entering our waterways in the first place. We hope these commitments will encourage others in the industry to make collective progress towards ensuring that all of our plastic packaging is fully recyclable and recycled.’
Investing in technical solutions
To reduce the impact of (food) packaging on the (aquatic) environment, Unilever has committed – as mentioned before – to ensure all of its plastic packaging is designed to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. The company also has renewed its membership of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for another three years and endorse and support their New Plastics Economy initiative. Finally, the multinational continues to invest in proving, and then sharing with the industry, a technical solution to recycle multi-layered sachets, particularly for coastal areas which are most at risk of plastics leaking into the ocean.
Unilever has already committed to reduce the weight of the packaging it uses this decade by one third by 2020, and increase its use of recycled plastic content in its packaging to at least 25 per cent by 2025 against a 2015 baseline, both as part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.