Unilever to crowd source sustainability ideas

Consumer goods giant Unilever has announced plans to crowdsource sustainability innovations from its consumers as it looks to tackle “grand challenges” such as climate change.

The scheme will be run through Unilever’s Foundry IDEAS online platform, which was released earlier this year. It will ask people to put forward plans that will allow the company to deal with issues relating to sanitation, hygiene and nutrition.

“Enabling our sustainable growth ambition requires that we invite and harness capabilities and ideas from everywhere,” says Unilever’s senior vice president of global marketing, Marc Mathieu.

Unilever says that the best ideas it receives may move on to a pilot phase or may be implemented, while one-on-one mentoring would be offered to companies or organisations coming forward with viable proposals.

“We’re five years into our ten-year Unilever Sustainable Living Plan to make our operations and brands more sustainable,” says the company’s senior vice president of sustainable business development Sue Garrard. “We have made huge strides in our factories and with our suppliers. The next stage is to find people with new and innovative ideas so that together we can help transform the way we live our daily lives, for us all to become more sustainable.”

Unilever has made major strides in boosting the sustainability of its operations in recent years. Its European plants no longer send any non-hazardous waste to landfill, and earlier this year it announced that it has reduced its carbon footprint by 1m t.