Unilever Vietnam strives toward implementation of UN SDGs

September 29, 2021 | 14:54
Unilever Vietnam has conducted several sustainable development projects throughout the past 25 years. This not only proves the company’s commitment of “making sustainable living commonplace” to millions of Vietnamese but also contributes to implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals
The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 3 – Good health and well-being

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SGD 3 – Good health and well-being) aligns with the sustainability ambitions of Unilever Vietnam (ULV) to improve people’s health, confidence, and well-being.

In the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, ULV has pioneered to closely collaborate with government agencies, implementing the "Stay Strong Vietnam" campaign since 2020 to accompany the community in the fight against the pandemic.

A comprehensive communications campaign in collaboration with the Ministry of Health called "5K Dance" was carried out to improve awareness of personal hygiene to prevent COVID-19, aired on multiple media channels with diverse and creative contents like 5K anti-COVID-19 songs and dances, TV shows, viral videos, and frame advertising on buildings, among others. This media campaign has earned over 700 million accumulated reach in 2021 and 37 million reach in 2020.

In addition, the 2020-2021 campaign also offers immediate support to the community through 2.5 million products by ULV brands (Lifebuoy, Omo, Vim, Cif, Sunlight, Clear, Knorr, PS, Pond's), directly supporting 2.6 million people at 110 quarantine centres, 500 hospitals, 28 centres for disease control, 30 youth unions, 27 women's unions, and 3,000 schools nationwide.

Unilever Vietnam strives toward implementation of UN SDGs

SDG 5 – Gender equality

With the desire to contribute to an equal world, ULV has been constantly promoting women's empowerment through community activities and partnerships, helping Vietnamese women improve their quality of life and social status with the companionship of Sunlight and Knorr.

In 2011-2020, ULV has helped 3.7 million Vietnamese women to be trained and 49,500 households to access microfinance of up to VND350 billion ($15.22 million).

Recently, in the first half of 2021, ULV's women's empowerment initiative has reached eight million people and facilitated more than 30,000 women to join the "Women do business" online training event and 60 women in rural areas to open startups.

Unilever Vietnam strives toward implementation of UN SDGs

SDG 7 – Affordable and clean energy

ULV has set the goal of halving its environmental impact in 2021-2025 and using sustainable sourcing.

The company aims to recycle and reuse all kinds of waste from its factory, ensuring 100 per cent of plastic, paper, and wood waste from manufacturing activities is collected and recycled, thereby creating recycled products for ULV operations and other industries.

100 per cent damaged pallets and shredded paper are now recycled into clean biomass wood pellets for boiler use, replacing 100 per cent of diesel fuel.

A biomass wood pellet production furnace at ULV's factory
A biomass wood pellet production furnace at ULV's factory

In addition, ULV has also converted from fossil to renewable energy, ensuring its commitment to using clean fuel in manufacturing by transitioning to biomass and covering 30 per cent of its energy demand from solar energy, while ensuring that it uses zero fossil fuels and reducing CO2 emissions.

Currently, ULV’s factories in Cu Chi and Bac Ninh run on 100 per cent renewable energy, reaching the carbon neutral target and have reduced water consumption by as much as 43 per cent in manufacturing. (when was this achieved?)

A solar power system at a ULV factory in Vietnam
A solar power system at a ULV factory in Vietnam

SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities

After its 10-year sustainable development plan (2011-2020), ULV has helped improve the health and living conditions of more than 25 million Vietnamese people through meaningful programmes in cooperation with government agencies such as the ministries of Health, Education and Training, Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Vietnam Women’s Union, among others.

The programme “Washing hands with soap for a healthier Vietnam” helps raise awareness of washing hands with soap to prevent disease; “P/S Protect Vietnamese Smile” promotes oral health and donates products and provides free dental care to children nationwide, especially in remote areas; The "Clean toilet journey" and "Green – clean – healthy school" help to upgrade school facilities and comprehensive hygiene conditions, build safe Omo playgrounds for children, and install Pureit drinking water filter equipment, among others.

In 2021, ULV and the Central New Rural Coordination Office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development signed an MoU to implement the National Target of New Rural Development in 2021-2025 to improve the quality of life for Vietnamese people in rural areas by building truly effective and sustainable new rural areas.

ULV and the Central New Rural Coordination Office signed an MoU on new rural development
ULV and the Central New Rural Coordination Office signed an MoU on new rural development

SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production

ULV continuously works to fulfill its commitment to make 100 per cent of its product packaging reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable by 2025 and reduce the use of virgin plastic in production by 50 per cent through enhancing the use of recycled plastics.

ULV also play the catalyst role in plastic waste management and the circular economy by focusing on four main pillars:

- Application of scientific and technological innovations and advances to the circular economy;

- Communication and education on circular economy and environmental protection;

- Waste segregation at source and collection;

- Accompanying government agencies in building environmental protection .

Plastic collection activity to drive the circular economy in plastic waste management
Plastic collection activity to drive the circular economy in plastic waste management

SDG 13 – Climate action

ULV has launched the “Clean Future" strategy for cleaning and laundry products, associated with four commitments:

- Greenhouse gas reduction;

- Eliminating carbon derived from fossil fuels;

- 100% biodegradable formulation;

- Better plastic usage in packaging.

In order to effectively implement the "Clean Future" strategy with the aforementioned commitments, ULV has made two key commitments: Better product formulation and Better product packaging.

Currently, 100 per cent of ULV's Home Care product formulas are 90 per cent biodegradable and the business aims to push this figure to 100 per cent by 2030. The packaging of Sunlight and Comfort products is entirely made from recycled plastic already.

Sunlight products are produced with 100 per cent plant-based ingredients and come in 100 per cent recycled plastic packaging
Sunlight products are produced with 100 per cent plant-based ingredients and come in 100 per cent recycled plastic packaging

SDG 17 – Partnership for the goals

ULV coordinates with central and local government agencies as well as associations and organisations such as the EuroCham, AmCham, and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry to work towards these goals together and inspire other organisations, businesses, and individuals to follow.

By Mai Dang

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