Maturity Progression: Operations Engagement
Scope: Corporate Value Chain

Case Study Overview:

This case study drawn from the 2016 CDP Water Report.


Unilever has established targets and goals that involve not only its direct operations, but also its suppliers and local communities.

The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company has set a target for 2020 to hold water abstraction by its factories around the world to below 2008 levels, despite significantly higher anticipated production volumes. In 2015, it reported abstraction at 19 million cubic meters below 2008 levels, representing a 77% reduction in absolute terms compared with 1995.

In addition, the company aims to provide 150 billion liters of safe drinking water by 2020 through sales of its Pureit home water purifier. From 2015, the company provided 78 billion liters of safe drinking water, including 13 billion in 2014.

Unilever has also set a goal to engage with suppliers to help them reduce their water impacts. “Water impacts in our supply chain could affect the viability of our business growth strategy by affecting commodity prices or supply availability,” the company says. In response, it asked 179 key suppliers to complete CDP’s supply chain water questionnaire: in 2015, almost 90% did so.”

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