Unilever to focus on children’s hopes in second stage of Project Sunlight

Unilever will launch the second phase of its Project Sunlight sustainability campaign to coincide with International Families Day on 15 May as it moves its message onto the changes children want to see to boost sustainability.

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Unilever is preparing to launch the second phase of its Project Sunlight sustainability campaign

The film begins with the line “Kids all over the world are dreaming of a brighter future” before showing what children in countries including the US and India would like to do, including ending poverty and having access to running water. It finishes with the words “With small actions together we can make their dreams come true”.

The latest part of the campaign will launch in the five markets where Project Sunlight is currently active, including the UK, Brazil and Indonesia. It is a move on from the first film, which asked couples expecting their first baby to speak about why they are bringing a child in the world and the changes they would like to see happen to make the world a better place for the next generation.

Speaking at an event this morning (28 April) to update on the progress of Unilever’s 10-year Sustainable Living Plan on the third anniversary of the launch, chief marketing officer Keith Weed said more than 70 million people had viewed the first Project Sunlight film and it had created 3 billion media impressions. He added that “hundreds of thousands” of people have signed up to find ways to change their behaviour to make it more sustainable.

Unilever is now launching a new challenge in the UK to get people to change their household habits focused around “reusing, recycling and upcycling”, following on from initiatives to find ways for people to reduce their energy use and create less waste. It is planning to launch similar challenges with media partners across the other markets where Project Sunlight is active over the summer.

Weed said changing people’s behaviour remains the biggest challenge in Unilever’s plans but that with more than 2 billion people using its products every day, the company was perfectly positioned to help consumers because of its “massive reach, brilliant brands and marketing skill”.

“If any company can have a chance of doing this it should be Unilever. We are optimistic about what we can do to create a better future if we leverage the opportunity we have right now. There are 3 billion people on the internet, 2 billion on social media. There has never been a better time to engage people at scale to take action in what we need to do to make sustainable living commonplace,” he said.

Gail Klintworth, Unilever’s chief sustainability officer, said it is not just about getting consumers on board but also brands. She said the company’s leadership training programme now integrates its Sustainable Living Plan, while Unilever also offers rewards for engaging with the programme.

Unilever claims it is now the “most favoured employer” in 13 of the top 20 countries where it operates because the new generation of workers, including marketers, want to work for a company that “makes a difference”.

Paul Polman, Unilever’s chief executive, said the success of the Sustainable Living Plan proves that there “doesn’t need to be a trade off between sustainability and profit growth” and that in fact it creates better market conditions for brands to thrive because it drives innovation, risk-taking and employee engagement. He claimed there is a “correlation” between the Unilever brands, including Dove and Domestos, experiencing double-digit growth and those that have a social purpose.

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