Unilever, Emirates Wildlife Society co-host environmental retailers workshop

Unilever, one of the biggest fast-moving consumer goods in the world, and Emirates Wildlife Society recently partnered with the World Wildlife Fund (EWS-WWF) to host an environmental-efficiency workshop for six major retailers based in the United Arab Emirates.

“Taking proactive action on climate change is essential to ensuring the sustainable continuity of our business,” Unilever Gulf Supply Chain Director Ahmed Kadous said. “We will also reap the benefits in innovation, new product development and cost efficiencies. As part of Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan, we have set a target to halve the greenhouse gas impact of our products across their lifecycle by 2020. We are making progress towards this commitment, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport and manufacturing, reducing water consumption and reducing the waste from our sites.”

The workshop focused on helping the retailers -- Carrefour, Spinneys, Emirates Co-operative Society, Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society, KM Trading and Aswaaq -- further implement water-conservation and energy-efficiency measures in their stores. They say implementing these changes will reduce carbon emissions and help fight climate change.

“We are delighted to work collaboratively with Unilever and retailers to create dialogue, share knowledge and provide tools and local insights on maximizing energy and water efficiency to reduce the UAE’s high per capita carbon footprint and tackle climate change,” EWS-WWF Director General Ida Tillisch said. “It is very encouraging to see Unilever’s promotion of sustainable business practices through engagement with its clients and retailers, and shows the power of the private sector in reaching out and driving ambitious targets across its value chain. We welcome this approach and hope to see more retailers adopting strategies to reduce energy and water use in their own supply chains."

The United Arab Emirates has one of the biggest environmental footprints in the world. The UAE has five times more emissions per capita than the world average and the region ranks third for water consumption per capita. This figure is projected to increase by 44 percent by the year 2025.

“The 2014 New Climate Economy Report clearly states that investing in energy efficiency and renewables makes sound business sense,” Unilever Global Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman said. “If every major company affected by climate change were to address the issue we could together make a significant impact. We hope that other businesses recognise the urgent need to future proof their operations, provide for the long term needs of their consumers, step off the sidelines and move into action.”

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