In April 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed Unilever’s March 2021 Sustainable Living Plan.
An environmental policy was deemed necessary to report on a company's environmental performance and set targets for reducing its impacts in the future. A strong policy would include two future, quantified environmental targets, demonstration by the company that it had a reasonable understanding of its main environmental impacts, be dated within two years and have its environmental data independently verified.
The summary showed a clear understanding of the company’s environmental impacts. It discussed a number of specific environmental impacts: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including through transportation, manufacturing, refrigeration, travel and office use; water; waste; and responsible sourcing including palm oil, soy and paper.
The report stated:
-In order to achieve our target of carbon positive by 2030, we intend to directly support the generation of more renewable energy than we consume and make the surplus available to the markets and communities in which we operate.
- Halve the greenhouse gas impact of our products across the lifecycle by 2030. A footnote stated, "Our GHG footprint target is expressed against a baseline of 2010 and on a ‘per consumer use’ basis. This means a single use, portion or serving of a product."
Many of the figures in the 'Unilever Sustainable Living Plan' were independently assured by PwC, but not all the data.
As the company had updated its environmental information within the past two years, showed a reasonable understanding of its main impacts, had dated and quantified future targets, but not all data was independently verified, it received Ethical Consumer’s middle rating for its Environmental Reporting and lost half a mark in this category.
Unilever UK sustainabilty pages (29 April 2021)