Unilever has announced that it will seek shareholder approval for its climate action plan, with the firm seeking a non-binding advisory vote on its emissions reduction targets and the plans to achieve them.
Unilever claims that this represents the first time a ‘major global company’ has voluntarily committed to putting its climate transition plans before a shareholder vote.
The plan will set out the company’s climate strategy to reduce emissions within its operations through its value chain and describe how the company is managing risks and meeting consumer needs connected with climate change and societal responses to it. Unilever will share its climate transition action plan in Q1 2021, ahead of its AGM on 5 May 2021. The company states that the action plan will be updated on a rolling basis and Unilever will seek an advisory vote every three years on any material changes made or proposed to the plan.
The company has made a number of sustainability commitments in recent times. In June, Unilever announced that it would invest approximately €1 billion in sustainability projects over the next ten years, as part of its new ‘Climate & Nature Fund’. As part of this commitment, Unilever set a target of net-zero emissions across its product portfolio by 2039 and has committed to halving the greenhouse gas footprint of its products by 2030.
The consumer goods giant also announced that it would aim to achieve global sales of €1 billion from plant-based meat and dairy alternatives within the next five to seven years, to help reduce the environmental impact of the global food chain.
Alan Jope, Unilever CEO said, “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. “We have a wide-ranging and ambitious set of climate commitments – but we know they are only as good as our delivery against them. That’s why we will be sharing more detail with our shareholders who are increasingly wanting to understand more about our strategy and plans.
“We welcome this increased transparency and in the plan, we present, we will be clear both about the areas in our direct control where we have a high degree of certainty of our route to net zero, as well as more challenging areas across our value chain where systemic solutions will be required to achieve our targets.”