Unilever Becomes Canada’s Biggest Commercial Renewables Purchaser, under Bullfrog Deal

by | Apr 5, 2011

Unilever Canada will become the single largest commercial purchaser of renewable power in that country through a 59,000 MWh a year deal with Bullfrog Power, the two companies announced today.

The agreement between Bullfrog and the manufacturer of brands including Ben & Jerry’s, Axe, Skippy, Q-Tips and Knorr means that many of Unilever Canada’s production facilities will be 100 percent powered by renewables, the companies said. Bullfrog will power all of Unilever’s Ontario offices and factories, accounting for 90 percent of its Canadian operations. This will reduce the company’s carbon dioxide emissions by about 7,544 tons a year, Unilever said.

In Ontario, all of Bullfrog’s electricity comes from wind and hydro facilities certified as low impact by government agency Environment Canada, under its EcoLogo program. Bullfrog says that its purchasing power has directly stimulated the development of five new wind projects in Canada.

Bullfrog said that it has had to create a new category at the top of the bullfrogpowered Green Index, its national ranking of Canadian green power purchasers, to accommodate Unilever. The new “Visionary” category is for companies buying over 50,000 MWh – of which Unilever is the only one.

The next level, “Vanguard”, is for companies buying 20,000 to 49,999 MWh. There are five firms at this level: Walmart, TD Bank, BMO Financial Group, real estate company Ivanhoe Cambridge, and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG).

Today’s announcement supports Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, launched in November 2010. The plan aims to halve the environmental footprint of Unilever products’ manufacture and use by 2020.

This includes a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2020, compared to 2008 levels. The company also aims to source 40 percent of its energy requirements from renewables by 2020. Other goals include sourcing 100 percent of agricultural raw materials sustainably, halving the waste associated with product disposal (versus a 2008 baseline), and halving the water associated with product use from 2008 to 2020.

“Bullfrog Power is proud to be working with Unilever Canada to reduce its environmental impact,” said Bullfrog president Tom Heintzman. “We also look forward to partnering with Unilever Canada and its bullfrogpowered brands to help ignite dialogue about sustainable lifestyle choices in homes across Canada.”

Update: This article was updated when information on the timeframe of the power purchase became available.

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