Unilever reports that its “sustainable living” brands grew 46% faster than the rest of the business and delivered 70% of its turnover growth. This marks the fourth consecutive year of growth for these brands.
Sustainable living brands combine a strong social or environmental purpose with products that contribute to achieving Unilever’s sustainability goals. The company says that over the last four years, these brands have outperformed the average rate of growth at Unilever.
The brands have expanded from 18 in 2016 to 26 currently. Recent entrants include Vaseline, Sunlight, Sunsilk, and Wall’s. The list includes the company’s top six brands: Dove, Lipton, Dirt is Good, Rexona, Hellmann’s, and Knorr. B-Corp certified brands such as Ben and Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, and Pukka Herbs are also on the list.
Brand highlights, according to Unilever:
- Domestos, a core global home care brand sold in 35 countries, has a goal to help 25 million people gain improved access to a toilet by 2020; to date the brand has improved access to a toilet for 10 million people
- Dove, Unilever’s biggest brand, has reached 29 million people with its Self-Esteem project, and has partnered with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to develop and deliver self-esteem education
- Lifebuoy antibacterial soap has a dedicated hand-washing program that Unilever reports has reached 426 million people to date
- Love Beauty and Planet, a beauty and personal care brand made with natural ingredients and packaged using bottles made from 100% recycled materials; the bottles are also recyclable
- PG Tips, a top tea brand in the UK that introduced fully biodegradable tea bags in March; by the end of 2018, Unilever is aiming for every tea bag in the PG Tips range to use the new plant-based material
“Consumers, especially younger ones, are caring more and more about brand purpose and want to see brands reflecting the beliefs of its buyers,” Marketing Week pointed out. Millennials tend to invest in companies targeting social or environmental goals, a Morgan Stanley report last year showed.
In 2010, the company launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which set targets to decouple Unilever’s growth from its environmental impact while increasing the company’s positive social effects. Unilever says the company is on track to meet around 80% of its commitments, which include improving health and wellbeing for 1 billion people, reducing environmental impact by half, and enhancing livelihoods for millions of employees, suppliers, and retailers.
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