Unilever to Remove Oil-Based Ingredients from Cleaning Products

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The consumer goods giant Unilever has unveiled plans for a new forward strategy to eliminate oil-based ingredients that contribute to the use of fossil fuels from their cleaning products by 2030.

Unilever, who own several popular product brands including Domestos, Persil and Cif, admit that currently, almost half of the carbon footprint produced by their cleaning and hygiene products comes solely from the use of oil-based ingredients.

Their new ‘Clean Future’ initiative is looking to resolve the issue however, with their aim to develop renewable/recyclable alternatives to ingredients said to be heavily reliant on the oil industry.

The company has set the overall target to eliminate all carbon emissions from its leading brands and products by 2039, in a move that follows their previous investment of €1 billion (approx. £911 million) towards several environmental preservation projects.

Unilever and the Carbon Rainbow

There are several alternatives that are being considered as alternatives for much of the oil-based ingredients currently being used in Unilever’s cleaning products, including the possibility of creating ingredients from plastic waste and algae.

Speaking further on how Unilever are currently investigating different possibilities for eco-friendly alternatives for their range of products, Peter ter Kulve, President of Home Care at Unilever, said:

“A new bioeconomy is rising from the ashes of fossil fuels.

We’ve heard time and time again that people want more affordable sustainable products that are just as good as conventional ones.

Rapid developments in science and technology are allowing us to do this, with the promise of exciting new benefits for the people who use our products, from ultra-mild cleaning ingredients to self-cleaning clothes and surfaces.”

Tackling the Climate Crisis with Alternatives

As a feature in a recent article from the Guardian notes, Unilever has already begun looking at ways to source new alternative materials to include in the make-up of many of its home cleaning products.

In Southern India, the company has been researching the possibilities surrounding soda ash, which is commonly found in most laundry powders and detergents.

The material can be produced from carbon captured from energy production and is extracted with the use of advanced technology practices.

Head of Home Cleaning Products at Unilever, Madhu Rao, explains how the company is addressing concerns on carbon fuel usage.

He comments further on the company’s intention of transforming its well-established brands in order to make them more sustainable, bringing environmentally friendly alternatives into mainstream production.

“The height awareness around cleanness doesn’t take away the crisis everybody feels today – the climate crisis.

The battle of our lifetime is climate change and consumers are very focused on this.”

He adds:

“Two-thirds of consumers want to buy more sustainable products and packaging that is sustainable.

We are on a big journey and this is the starting point.”

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Sam Rose

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