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Unilever’s Sustainable First Mover Advantage

Unilever will be adding their carbon footprint to each product’s packaging. Will this invite other CPG leaders to do the same?

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Vote with your dollars, they say…

Well sometimes it’s harder than it looks! Not all sustainable brands are created equal and readily available inside of convenience stores. 

Let’s talk about Unilever which, quite frankly, is available in all of those places. Think: Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, Lipton Tea, Dove, the list goes on. 

They’ve recently announced that they will be adding their carbon footprint to every product’s packaging. This will allow consumers to quite literally vote with their dollars and make easy choices to reduce their own carbon footprint from the products that they choose.

Sound familiar?

We were JUST talking about Allbird’s efforts in doing the same thing on the Sutennial Network email newsletter a few weeks back!

How does one even calculate a carbon footprint for food?

“To calculate a carbon footprint for a food product, you need to total the sum of the greenhouse gas emissions produced or used throughout the product’s entire lifecycle, including production, distribution, use, and disposal,” says Laura Timlin, Director of Business Services at the Carbon Trust.

Seems complex. To start tackling this, Unilever will be setting up a system with their suppliers to declare on each invoice the carbon footprint produced from the goods and services that they are providing. 

How can this enable industry change?

As one of the top CPG companies implements this onto their packaging, it may serve as an invitation for others to do the same. It’s not far fetched. When Etsy announced that they were 100% carbon neutral, they purchased a day’s worth of carbon offsets for eCommerce operations everywhere. Including Amazon, Google and Jet. A subtle but loud, “We’re actually making this happen and we challenge you to do the same.”

Amazon has since committed to being carbon neutral across their business by 2040, with 50% neutrality to be achieved in 2030. 

So what does this mean in terms of business strategy?

First movers have the opportunity to trigger a powerful ripple effect amongst their competitors with regard to sustainability and transparency.

Has there been any packaging or product details helped you make a more sustainable purchase decision lately?


with love for the planet,

the sustennial

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