In 2020 the company developed the Unilever Compass, a new, fully-integrated corporate strategy that lays a pathway to becoming the leader in sustainable business globally. The Unilever Compass includes multi-year priorities covering the full spectrum of their business and wider ecosystem.
Innovations for sustainability can be found across Unilever product lines. Dove recently launched new, more sustainable packaging for two core products, deodorant and body wash. Dove Refillable deodorants are available in three scents and include a stainless steel reusable case to house the deodorant refills. Dove Body Wash Reusable Bottles + Concentrate Refills
offer two options. Consumers can choose between a 100% recycled plastic bottle or a recyclable aluminum bottle. The Concentrate Refill is poured into the bottle, water is added, and once the user has shaken it to mix the water and concentrate, they’ll have a wash with the same consistency they expect in a Dove body wash. King said, “After four refills of the 100% recycled plastic bottle or two refills of the aluminum bottle, the consumer has used 50% less plastic than if they were to buy the standard single-use 22-oz. bottle. There are also the additional environmental impacts such as reduced CO2 emissions and energy savings.”
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King continued, “We’re working on a goal of 100% of our plastic packaging being recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025, and currently much of our packaging is recyclable.” One example King provided is a partnership with the Association of Plastic Recyclers to develop a detectable black plastic. “Black plastic has previously been problematic because of its colorant, which renders it undetectable to most sorting machines and so it therefore, unfortunately, ends up in the landfill despite being perfectly recyclable plastic. This detectable black plastic is now in use across Axe product lines,” King stated.
As exemplified at Unilever, environmentally-responsible products can be found in various personal care categories. HRG merchandising analyst, Cat Renwick, who is a member of HRG’s new item review team, offered recent innovative packaging examples of shampoo bars, refillable hand soap and floss containers, reusable makeup wipes, bamboo razors, and more. Renwick commented on some of the stand-out innovations she has seen in the last few years. “I think reusable period underwear is a great innovation for both the reduction in packaging and minimizing waste in landfills. Additionally, I think the refillable deodorants are revolutionary.”