• Nicky Sparshott, Unilever ANZ CEO
    Nicky Sparshott, Unilever ANZ CEO

Unilever Australia has announced a range of measures aimed at fighting climate change, including a new partnership with the World Wildlife Fund and switching to 100 per cent renewable electricity, as the global business aims to achieve net zero emissions from all products by 2039.

The partnership with WWF Australia will allow for Unilever Australia to call on leaders to make Australia the “world’s leading exporter of renewable energy by 2030”, as a report from EY – commissioned by WWF – found an economic recovery based on renewables could boost local manufacturing, grow existing sectors, as well as creating new jobs and reskilling the workforce.

“As our government prepares to unleash some of the biggest stimulus packages Australia has ever seen, there is an incredible opportunity to use this moment of crisis and renewal to galvanise a more sustainable and future facing economy,” Unilever Australia and New Zealand CEO Nicky Sparshott said.

“Beyond short-term emergency measures, long-term economic stimulus packages must put climate action at their core and build a better future – one that ensures clean air, more jobs and a healthy, safe environment.”

In January, Unilever Australia joined its global parent in switching to 100 per cent renewable electricity to power all operations, with the Australian supply met through a five-year Power Purchase Agreement with Red Energy.

It is expected that the business will reduce its greenhouse emissions by around 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year – an equivalent of powering 3600 homes or 6000 cars annually.

“This local milestone demonstrates how we are decoupling our growth from our environmental impact. But there is still more to be done and we recognise the ongoing urgency of addressing climate change, which is why we have set new actions to accelerate change,” Sparshott said.

“The race to zero must be a collective effort, and business alone cannot drive the transition at the speed that is required. Instead, it requires coordinated action by multiple organisations from across all sectors. Nothing is more powerful than businesses demonstrating to governments that accelerated progress in de-carbonising the economy is possible.”

Globally, Unilever’s brands will collectively invest $1.9bn in a new dedicated climate and nature fund, which over the next 10 years, will drive sustainable actions and build on the work already underway, such as Ben & Jerry’s initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dairy farms and Continental’s support of farmers to grow food more sustainably.

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