Unilever champions climate action with new partnership | Global News


Unilever champions climate action with new partnership

In the Philippines, one corporation is leading the purposeful transition to renewable energy to mitigate the alarming effects of climate change.
/ 04:37 PM June 11, 2024

Our country is being ravaged by an average of 20 typhoons yearly, bringing with it massive flooding and landslides.  Our natural resources are aggressively diminishing, including our rich marine life with the erosion of the country’s coastal areas.  And while the global rise in sea levels is undeniable in other countries, the Philippines is experiencing extremely hot weather nowadays. With these obvious effects setting all emergency alarm bells off, it is unquestionable that climate change is hitting closer to home. 

While there are citizens and NGOs that have been championing climate action, this advocacy will only be successful if more people like experts, the government, and even the private sector will do a concerted effort to help.  According to the United Nations, renewable energy is available all around us, is a healthier choice, and is a cheaper power option.  The UN also underscored the to any business and the economy, in general,  as it creates jobs, allows substantial cost savings, brand image enhancement, and long-term resilience for any organization.

Several businesses are taking the lead in this purposeful journey including Unilever, one of the biggest FMCG players in the country with leading and strong category positions in Nutrition, Beauty & Wellbeing, Personal Care, Ice Cream & Home Care. Within the Company’s Growth Action Plan, Sustainability is focused in the areas of climate, nature, plastic, and livelihoods.

Evidently, Unilever acknowledges the significant threat that climate change is to the people, the planet, and its business thus, it has long commenced its climate targets through clearer actions as a response to the challenge. Aside from reformulating its products and transitioning to , it also employs regenerative agriculture to make its supply chain more resilient and uses renewable energy by recovering waste heat in all its operations for added efficiency and lesser exposure to volatile energy markets.

Resolute in its commitment to the environment and pushing its shift to renewable energy to the next level, Unilever recently signed a 15-year Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with GreenYellow for its Cavite Nutrition factory.  The Unilever Nutrition business encompasses the categories of scratch cooking aids, dressings, and functional nutrition, with Knorr and Lady’s Choice as key brands in its Philippines portfolio.  GreenYellow, an expert in decentralizing photovoltaic solar production, and other energy efficiency projects, and a major player in the energy transition in France and other countries abroad, is set to supply solar-powered electricity for Unilever’s factory operations. The target is a full solar panel installation to be completed in one year.  This PPA highlights and solidifies the shared commitment between both parties to invest, install, operate, and maintain rooftop solar panels to the buildings of Unilever’s Nutrition factory to produce renewable electricity with zero Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

Unilever renewable energy

Gracing the historic contract signing were honorable Antonio Ferrer, 6th district Congressman of Cavite; General Trias Cavite Mayor Luis Ferrer IV and Vice Mayor Jonas Labuguen; and BPLO Head Romel Olimpo.  Reginaldo Ecclissato, Chief Business Operations and Supply Chain Officer and a member of the Unilever Leadership Executive, together with members of the Philippines Nutrition Leadership Team led by Marinelle Villanueva, Business Lead and Arvind Sunderrajan, Head of Supply Chain for SEA, and Indonesia, represented Unilever. 

Unilever renewable energy

Unilever’s response to climate change and its commitment to sustainability has long been embedded into its way of doing business.  Since the late 90s, it has constantly reported the company’s operational environmental footprint and has begun its first value chain emissions reduction goal in 2010. The company also played a noteworthy role in advocating for the Paris Agreement, an international treaty on climate sealed during the in 2015, by adopting science-based targets for its operations and value chain. Over the years, Unilever has continually incorporated the value of sustainability in its business strategy. 

“Our purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace; and the Philippines stands out as a great part of making this happen. We accelerate actions towards this through meaningful partnerships with experts and investments in technologies that support operational efficiencies,” Reginaldo Ecclissato, Chief Business Operations and Supply Chain Officer and a member of the Unilever Leadership Executive said. 

Unilever renewable energy

To further underscore this commitment to environmental responsibility, Unilever already uses 100% renewable grid electricity globally, in all its factories, offices, R&D facilities, data and distribution centers, and warehouses since January 2020. In the Philippines, the partnership with GreenYellow will enable the company to increase on-site renewable electricity generation, which supports its proactive transition towards net zero, specifically to achieve a 100% reduction in operational emissions by 2030 vs a 2015 baseline. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels will have an installed capacity of 1,211 kilowatts that can generate 1,847 megawatt-hours at peak per year and power the factory’s three main buildings, particularly the Savoury factory, Dressings factory, and utilities building.  

“Unilever Nutrition is a force for good in food and for us this means leveraging on technology and resources that do not harm the planet while delivering nutritious, delicious, and accessible food products for the Philippines and export markets,” Marinelle Villanueva, Unilever Philippines Nutrition Business Lead, enlightened.  This aligns with Unilever’s overall purpose to make sustainable living commonplace—by producing well-loved brands while continuing to reduce emissions that are consistent with the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement, and to reach net zero emissions across our value chain by 2039.  

This move to add solar to its energy mix allows the company to generate significant savings that can be reinvested towards other operational efficiencies.  Even General Trias, Cavite Mayor Luis Ferrer IV, is deeply pleased to see Unilever’s continued commitment to bringing renewable energy options to the city. “Their dedication is truly commendable, and it fills me with great pride to know that General Trias is at the forefront of such impactful initiatives,” he said. “We need more investments like this to make renewable energy sources more accessible to the market. As keeping our emissions low is as important as stepping up our industrial progress,” the Mayor concluded. 

Unilever renewable energy

For more information about Unilever’s sustainable goals, you may visit , or its website at

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