If you think you spy a big shark among the dolphins, you are right. It's Unilever. Swimming happily alongside all the eco dolphins, dodging his own ocean plastic. Unilever, the big white shark of fast moving consumer goods is one of the fastest growing green businesses on earth. Yes, the same Unilever whose plastic packaging is floating around in the planet's oceans. (Nestlé, Unilever, Proctor & Gamble are among worst offenders for ocean plastic pollution.) Pretty much every business on ekko.world - and in consumer products generally, is actually collaborating with Unilever. Here's why.Unilever have literally spent and saved hundreds of millions of dollars greening their manufacturing processes and spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying up green businesses - and are still going. Unilever research tells us that:
If you read those 3 points carefully, it will be pretty obvious why Unilever is in the dolphin patch and are not only leading eco consumer behaviour research, but are actively working to create a circular plastics economy. So, while Unilever are still treating the planet as their personal landfill bin, they are actually leading the big end of town toward more responsible packaging. Why?It's all there in their research - respond or lose big market share. For starters, the awareness of who made the plastic littering our oceans is putting pressure on those who make it to be more responsible about it. Or suffer the consequences. Legal, market share and reputation. Unilever have to green themselves to sell us more product. This simply means they are gearing up to defend their own market share of the encroaching green turf. And there is a huge advantage in being the industry green leader.To be fair, Unilever are using their knowledge of market expectation and considerable resources to make a number of commitments:
The upside of the work of giants like Unilever is that while they have collaborated to create the mess that is now in our world, they are the only ones with the capacity to really influence the fix on a grand scale. To change practices, back ideas and lead change.Micro and small eco businesses exist in a real symbiosis with the Unilevers of the world as they also benefit in many ways. The development of new packaging solutions, which are needed to more responsibly package good products right through to their own market share. The irony of market share is that it's the rise of small and micro eco businesses that partly drove the changes to Unilever's behaviour. It's not as if organisations like Greenpeace haven't been banging on about the packaging mess in our oceans for years. But when consumers start to take a stand, market share and legal implications drive action. As a consumer, we have choices and make decisions based on our own values. Is it morally corrupt to buy from a company who on one hand sells perfectly good eco products and on the other hand sells unhealthy, chemical ridden crap that is making people fat, sick and wasteful even if it is packaged in something more responsible?On the other hand there are many many local, eco, organic businesses, now just as accessible, who can sell you beautiful, fresh and often better versions of the same products. But often packaging is not so beautiful, fresh or eco.A typical small eco business makes products or provides services that are good for you and for the planet, to sell more product. A typical Unilever greens themselves to sell more product. The choice is yours - and it's probably going to be a bit of both.All this is why we need a simple, transparent, independent system to rate the eco-ness of products, so we can know anywhere, anytime just what we are buying.
Unilever are buying up loads of green companies and also greening many of their own manufacturing practices. It's more that the over all beast is still the same. So the fox got himself his own hen house, filled it with prize hens, found them the best organic food and now produces fab eggs. He doesn't eat these hens and even wins 'Best in Show' ribbons for them.Meantime he's still got a whole bunch of Battery Farms, full of millions of battery hens, which he chomps on when he feels like it and from which he derives his real income.Like so many in big food, Unilever is one of the planet's big contradictions. They are literally greening themselves on one hand, including saving millions by making their own processing more sustainable. Pretty much all the best reference data on consumer buy that we get at Ekkoworld comes from Unilever. BUT they are still one of the biggest plastics polluters on the planet and have many palm oil products. The choice with these kinds of companies is whether by supporting one of their companies you perpetrate another. That's why my company supports small batch production businesses,
Tuesday, 12 February 2019