Unilever puts brands front and centre in renewed sustainability push

Unilever is shifting strategy for its new sustainability campaign, putting the focus on its brands and how they are working towards building a “brighter future” rather than its corporate brand.

Unilever is launching a sustainability campaign aimed at showing consumers how its brands are “already building a brighter future” and can make a positive impact on the world.

While its 2015 ‘Farewell to the Forest’ campaign looked to raise awareness of deforestation and climate change and focused on the overall business, the ‘Bright Future’ campaign aims to demonstrate how Unilever’s brands help make the world “a better place”.

The activity, which was created by Ogilvy and will run across TV and digital, explains how various brands have helped make a difference across the globe. For example, Domestos is helping 5 million people to access toilets, Persil has helped 10 million children get an education while Dove is helping 19 million young people to build positive self confidence.

“Our Bright Future campaign shows people that when they buy our products they’re not just purchasing a bar of soap, they’re enabling children to live past the age of five by helping to teach handwashing and they’re helping children access education,” says Keith Weed, Unilever’s chief marketing and communications officer.

“Brands with a purpose are at the heart of Unilever and we believe that the small choices we all make every day can make a big difference to the world we live in.”

Unilever’s commitment to make a positive difference is at the heart of its Sustainable Living Plan, which is now in its sixth year. According to the company, sustainability is helping it to deliver faster growth and to lower costs, as well as reducing risk in the supply chain and increasing trust from consumers.

READ MORE: Why brand purpose requires more than just a snappy slogan

And new Unilever research challenges a common perception that sustainability doesn’t sell, arguing that 54% of consumers want to buy sustainably. Unilever’s five biggest brands – Knorr, Dove, Persil, Lipton and Hellmann’s – are all sustainable and grew 30% faster than the rest of the business last year.

Since the launch of its Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever says it has helped around 482 million people to improve their health and hygiene, including through handwashing, improving self-esteem and oral hygiene. Meanwhile, in its own operations the company has reduced CO2 emissions from energy by 39% per tonne of production; water by 37% per tonne of production; and waste sent to disposal by 97% per tonne of production.


Unilever’s chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed will be speaking at the Festival of Marketing, which is running on the 5 and 6 October at Tobacco Dock, London. For more information about the event, including how to book tickets, click here.

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