Unilever canada’s big switch to renewable energy
June 27, 2011
by Canadian Packaging Staff
Leading consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturer and brand-owner Unilever Canada has signed an agreement with alternative energy provider Bullfrog Power to supply all of its Ontario-based manufacturing facilities with renewable electricity harvested from wind and environmentally-friendly hydro plants certified as “low impact” electricity generators by the EcoLogo program administered by Environment Canada.
Estimated at about 59,000 mWh (megawatt hours) of electricity, the deal makes Unilever Canada the country’s largest commercial purchaser of renewable energy, according to its vice-president of legal and external affairs John Coyne.
“By choosing Bullfrog’s ‘green’ electricity, our organization will reduce the emissions footprint of its facilities by 7,500 tonnes annually,” says Coyne, pointing out that many of the company’s market-leading product brands—including Becel, Hellmann’s, Knorr, Breyers and Ben & Jerry—will now be made at plants powered entirely with 100-precent clean, renewable sources of energy.
Says Coyne: “The decision is part of our company’s global Sustainable Living Plan, under which Unilever will grow its business in a way that helps improve people’s health and well-being, reduces environmental impact, and enhances livelihoods.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Bullfrog Power’s generators will inject renewable electricity into the provincial electricity grid to match the amount of power used by Unilever’s Bullfrog-powered facilities, according to Coyne, helping Unilever’s Canadian operations to support the parent company’s overall plan to reduce its GHG (greenhouse gas emissions) worldwide by 50 per cent by 2020 from the 2008 levels, as well as to be sourcing 40 per cent of all its global energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020.
Unveiled in late 2010, the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan also calls for the sourcing of all of the company’s agricultural raw materials exclusively from renewable sources by 2020, while reducing both its water consumption and the waste associated with the disposal of its products by 50 per cent.