Sustainable living at Unilever

During 2012, we worked closely with Unilever to assure a range of sustainability indicators within its game-changing Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. In the Plan, Unilever has set out an ambitious strategy to continue to deliver profitable growth at the same time as:

  • helping more than a billion people improve their health and well-being
  • halving the environmental impact of its products, and
  • sourcing 100% of its agricultural raw materials sustainably and enhancing the livelihoods of people across the value chain.

Our work, which marks a fundamental departure from standard financial reporting information, was to assure selected performance information across Unilever’s value chain from the sourcing of raw materials right through to the use of its products by consumers.

By the end of 2012 Unilever had reached 119 million people with programmes to reduce diarrhoeal and respiratory disease through handwashing with Lifebuoy soap, 45 million people with safe drinking water from Pureit and provided work to 48,000 people in poor rural communities (‘Shakti ammas’ programme).

Unilever had also bought over a third (36%) of its agricultural raw materials from sustainable sources and reduced the greenhouse gas emissions from the energy used in their manufacturing processes by 31.5% per tonne of production since 2008.

There’s growing recognition that non-financial performance directly impacts financial performance and the long-term viability of any organisation. We’re delighted to be at the forefront of the future of assurance - as well as supporting our clients in their sustainability performance reporting aspirations.