Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan is full of aggressive environmental goals, one of which is to halve its environmental impact by 2020. But with more than two-thirds of the company's environmental impacts resulting from consumer use and disposal of products, it's clear Unilever can't achieve these goals alone.
After analyzing the results of new research conducted by partner The Futures Company, Unilever found that the main barrier to a more environmentally conscious lifestyle was that consumers believed living "green" would cost them more. To overcome this flawed perception, Unilever has selected 12 U.K. families to take part in the Sustain Ability Challenge. Over the next six months, these families will work with Unilever to eliminate major barriers to sustainable living, while in turn reducing household spending. Since Unilever found food waste to be the largest obstacle to sustainability and a chief hit to the wallet, the Challenge will first focus on behavioral change surrounding food in the home. The goal of this program will be to reduce monthly food bills by 15 percent and total household food waste by 25 percent. Unilever plans to educate consumers on ways to reduce waste, like recycling tea bags instead of throwing them in the trash and preparing the right amount of food for meals so leftovers don't spoil.
The Sustain Ability Challenge has a two-fold benefit; not only does the program educate consumers on how to reduce their own environmental impacts to reduce Unilever's footprint now, but it fuels insights and key learnings to build out the next generation of Unilever products that are even better in-tune with consumer behavior in the home. If Unilever succeeds in breaking through the age-old "green costs more" stigma, the program could prove to be a major innovation for environmental products and corporate social responsibility programs, alike.
What habit do you wish you could change to be more sustainable at home? Let us know on Twitter by using #WDYSF.