As You Sow Praises Unilever’s Plastic Reduction Plan, But Collection Goals Need Unprecedented Collaboration and Funding


MEDIA CONTACT: Stefanie Spear, [email protected], 216-387-1609

BERKELEY, CA—Oct. 7, 2019—Today, Unilever announced ambitious new commitments to reduce its plastic waste and help create a circular economy for plastics. Unilever said that by 2025 it will halve its use of virgin plastic, by reducing its absolute use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes and accelerating its use of recycled plastic, and help collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells.

Conrad B. MacKerron, senior vice president of As You Sow, had this to say about the Unilever announcement:

As You Sow salutes Unilever for committing to totally eliminate 100,000 tonnes of plastic packaging and increase the use of recycled plastic content by 2025. This commitment builds on a 2017 commitment made by the company, following engagement with As You Sow, to make all packaging recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025. 

“Subsequently, As You Sow asked the company to go further in dialogue with investor allies who comprise the Plastic Solutions Investor Alliance. We asked Unilever to set plastic use reduction goals. The company has clearly responded with an ambitious plan. We also asked it to develop alternatives to plastic packaging, which it appears to be doing by performing a ‘fundamental rethink’ in its approach to packaging, exploring reuse, and refill delivery systems.

“However, meeting these recycled content collection goals will require unprecedented collaboration among stakeholders including governments, consumers, other consumer goods businesses, and recyclers, and greatly increased funding. We look forward to receiving more details on how this will be implemented. We recently noted PepiCo’s failure to increase U.S. bottle and can recycling rates after eight years of effort. We hope Unilever can learn from the previous failed efforts of others, and undertake unprecedented collaboration with stakeholders, including aggressive promotion of extended producer responsibility, or similar, legislation in the U.S., where we continue to suffer from embarrassingly low recycling rates.”

To learn more about As You Sow’s work on plastics, click here.

# # #

As You Sow is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. See our resolutions here.

As You Sow