Unilever to Give Investors a Vote on Its Climate Change Plan

The UK’s largest consumer goods company has outlined its vision for a carbon-neutral, forest-friendly supply chain.

UK-based consumer goods giant Unilever said on Monday that it would give shareholders an advisory vote on its plans to curb emissions at its next annual general meeting in May, becoming the first blue-chip company to give investors a voice on its climate plan.

Unilever has set a goal to reach net zero carbon emissions from its own operations by 2030, and to reduce the average carbon footprint of its products by 50% by the same deadline. The firm announced in June that all of its products would be carbon neutral from production to point of sale by 2039, and now plans to create a €1 billion climate and nature fund to invest further in improving the environmental impact of its operations.

Unilever will publish a detailed action plan outlining how it expects to hit these targets in Q1 2021, after which it will report progress against the plan annually and seek shareholder approval of its current measures. This plan will be updated every three years.

“It is the first time a major global company has voluntarily committed to put its climate transition plans before a shareholder vote,” Unilever said in a statement.

In order to achieve its climate goals, the company said it would need to transition its operations to 100% renewable energy, eliminate deforestation from its supply chain and rework many of its flagship products.

“Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time and we are determined to play a leadership role in accelerating the transition to a zero carbon economy,” Unilever CEO Alan Jope said.

Unilever is one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, with a market cap of $120 billion. Through household brands including Ben & Jerry’s, PG Tips and Domestos, the company claims to reach over 2 billion customers worldwide.

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