Unilever has called on the Australian government to do more to address climate change.

Setting out a raft of measures the company is taking to reduce their own emissions, the company behind beauty, personal and home care and food and drinks brands such as Rexona, Dove and Ben & Jerry’s, set a bold goal of achieving net zero emissions from all products by 2039, 11 years ahead of the Paris Agreement target. The pledge covers everything from sourcing materials to the point of sale.

The company has already switched to using 100% renewable electricity to power its operations.

Unilever announced their brands will collectively invest AUD$1.89 billion into a dedicated Climate and Nature Fund, which will drive action and help the company honour their commitment to halving their green-house footprint by 2030. The fund will build on existing initiatives, such as Ben & Jerry’s commitment to reducing GHC emissions in dairy farms and Continental’s sustainable farming practices.

The company are working with suppliers across their value chain to cut emissions and plan to ‘prioritise’ partnerships with suppliers already working towards more sustainable practices. Suppliers will also be asked to declare their own carbon footprint for the goods provided on their invoices.

Unilever Australia and New Zealand CEO Nicky Sparshott said climate change was a serious threat to economic stability. That businesses were indpendently addressing the issue should send a clear message to governments that it is possible to transition to clean energy, she added, and a collective effort was now required across all sectors to fully address the issue.

“Businesses and governments across Australia have demonstrated their ability and willingness to step up at this critical moment and pull together to protect our communities. We need to continue working together to tackle the impacts of the coronavirus, whilst also setting our economy on a course to a more resilient, zero-carbon future that leaves no-one behind,” Mr Sparshott said.

The announcement follows a new report commissioned by the WWF which found a post-COVID-19 economic recovery that focused on renewables would boost both local manufacturing, create jobs and reduce carbon pollution, among other positives.

“As our Government prepares to unleash some of the biggest stimulus packages Australia has ever seen, there is an incredible opportunity to use this moment of crisis and renewal to galvanise a more sustainable and future facing economy. Beyond short-term emergency measures, long-term economic stimulus packages must put climate action at their core and build a better future – one that ensures clean air, more jobs and a healthy, safe environment,”  Ms Sparshott continued.

“We need to transition away from high-carbon pathways, and public spending must align with the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to a maximum of 1.5ºC and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.”

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