- Unilever has announced that it achieved its goal of zero waste in Europe, meaning that the company did not send any waste to the landfill from its owned or operated premises, logistics operations, or distribution centers.
- By achieving zero waste at over 240 sites, the company was able to save €200 million (about $220 million) and create hundreds of jobs. "Everyone involved was focused on either avoiding waste in the first place or realizing the value of the waste that was left as a resource," said Unilever chief supply chain officer Pier Luigi Sigismondi to BusinessGreen.
- Sigismondi explained that achieving zero waste across multiple countries in Europe presented challenges that "required collaboration and negotiation to resolve." He urges peers that wish to achieve zero waste to "believe that anything is possible if you focus efforts and work with partners who share your ambitions."
While achieving zero waste is a seemingly impossible task, Unilever has proven that it is achievable through a committed mind-shift. "The new zero waste company achievement in Europe is an important milestone because it proves that the model and mind-set that drove our factory achievements is repeatable outside of a manufacturing environment," said Sigismondi.
Zero waste is a common goal for many municipalities and companies, as the global effort to reduce and reuse waste moves forward. This week, more than 60 companies joined the Climate Action Pledge to practice more eco-friendly habits. Many of these companies are committing to reduce waste-to-landfill, as some are pushing to reach zero waste.
In August, SWANA and the California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA) announced a partnership to develop and offer a Zero Waste Principles and Practices course and certification program throughout the U.S. and Canada. The classes will help executives and professionals in the industry learn the best tools and practices to apply in their communities to reach zero waste.