Unilever calls all to Take Climate Action now

Building a brightFuture for all

SA BrightFuture Gala Dinner peter Group SA BrightFuture Gala Dinner SA BrightFuture Gala-Dinner Andrew

“There has never been a better moment than the present to protect the planet for future generations,” said Paul Polman, Global CEO of Unilever, speaking at the Unilever Gala Dinner at Monte Casino, in Fourways on 01 June 2015. In his call to government, business and NGOs to launch the company’s “brightFuture” campaign, he continued by saying: “Now is the time to join hands as a global community to work together towards finding and committing to solutions for climate change.”

The “brightFuture” campaign is intended to engage people, especially future leaders to ensure that:

  • Everyone has enough food to eat and no child goes to bed hungry
  • Children reach their fifth birthday and have the right to a happy childhood
  • Every home has enough water to drink and to wash, cook and clean
  • And everybody can enjoy life today while protecting the planet for future generations

Peter Cowan, the Chairman of Unilever South Africa made it known that with the collective power of people, input by government and interest by all companies, big and small, the human race can undo the damage it has caused on the planet.

“Roads in India are actually melting as we feel the brunt of global warming. Gone are the days where global warming was a future notion; an issue for the next generation to handle. It is our time to act now or there may not even be an earth, a planet to sustain our progeny. The time to act is now,” he elaborated on his message.

Mr Polman emphasised Unilever’s commitment to sustainable business practice. “We don’t just create campaigns for the sake of looking good and ticking CSI boxes. At the core of our business we strive to decouple the company’s growth from its environmental footprint and increase positive social impact. We aim to help more than a billion people by improving their health and well-being as well as enhancing their livelihoods by 2020,” he added.

In partnership with government and NGOs, Unilever and other large corporates have the opportunity to eradicate poverty and deal with the issue of climate change. In order to tackle climate change and ensure global growth, future leaders must be engaged and encouraged to heed the call and ‘Take Climate Action Now!’.

Speaking at the same event, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies said the Green Economy had been identified as a key focus area in the Industrial Policy Action Plan and it provided significant opportunities for job creation and economic growth.

He added that in the Climatescope 2014 report released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, South Africa was ranked third, after China and Brazil, for investment in clean energy, accounting for more than 90% of these investments in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Also, in 2013, South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP) won the Green Infrastructure project of the Year at the 6th Global Infrastructure Leadership Conference in New York. Over the REIPPP’s first three bid windows, the renewable energy sector has committed investments totalling R120 Billion, of which R23 billion was committed to local content,” said Minister Davies.

He said the South African government was extremely pleased that the investments made by Unilever were advancing “Green Technology” and their plants serve as a model for future Unilever global operations.

Mr Polman concluded: “Unilever cannot solve the world’s climate problems alone. Worldwide in every country, every citizen, company, government and NGO has a role to play. Together we can make significant strides in ensuring a better future for the leaders of tomorrow.”


Notes for the editor

While Paul Polman is in South Africa as co-chairman of the World Economic Forum, he will also open the new Unilever Khanyisa Plant in Ekurhuleni and the recommissioning of Unilever’s “Project Ingede” – the Indonsa factory in Kwa-Zulu Natal on June 2nd 2015.

About Unilever South Africa

Unilever South Africa (Pty Ltd) is one of the largest FMCG companies in South Africa. The company is over 100 years old, with brands like Sunlight, OMO, Lux, Knorr, Vaseline, Shield, Sunsilk, Flora, etc that are household names throughout the country. Unilever South Africa has over 3 000 employees based across two offices and five manufacturing locations in South Africa. It is rated as one of South Africa’s best employers. For more information visit –www.unilever.co.za.

Barry Dijoe External and Media Relations Manager

031 570 247 or 072 633 7248

Burson Marsteller: Associate Director

011 480 8555

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