AFRICA: Unilever and GENO launch joint venture for sustainable consumption

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AFRICA: Unilever and GENO launch joint venture for sustainable consumption © Dmitry Rukhlenko / Shutterstock

Known in West Africa for its Omo laundry detergent, Lipton tea and Signal toothpaste brands, Dutch-British multinational Unilever is teaming up with US-based biotechnology company Genomatica (GENO) to create a joint venture. The joint venture will reduce Unilever's carbon footprint and improve the manufacturing of its food products.

The Dutch-British multinational Unilever relies on the sustainable solutions of the American biotechnology company Genomatica (GENO) to develop ingredients for cleaning and personal care products. The two partners will launch a joint venture at a total cost of $120 million, with the aim of sufficiently reducing the use of raw materials such as palm oil or fossil fuels that dishonour their environmental commitments.

“We have developed our technology in response to our planet’s urgent climate crisis and have proven that biotechnology can replace traditional production methods to provide ingredients with bio-based sources that offer both high performance and sustainability on a large scale,” explains Christophe Schilling, GENO’s CEO.

While Unilever has earmarked €800 million for research and development (R&D) in 2020 alone, Richard Slater, who heads the department, said the new sustainability venture will reduce the Rotterdam and London-based group’s carbon footprint by at least 50%.

Promoting sustainability

Also as part of its sustainability strategy, Unilever participated in the Global Alliance Innovation Exchange competition jointly organised by KTN Global Alliance Africa and UK Aid (a UK government support fund) in South Africa in January 2022. At the event, the company announced that it would collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells, in order to reduce its plastic use by over 100,000 tonnes.

Read also-AFRICA: Sustainability to be discussed at CSR forum in Dubai in October

“We spend €19 billion a year on raw materials and packaging to make our products. We are proud that 67% of our agricultural raw materials come from sustainable sources. Each of our 290+ factories is powered by 100% renewable electricity and sends no non-hazardous waste to landfill,” says Unilever.

Benoit-Ivan Wansi

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