Carbon rainbow and climate targets

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2022 14:00

Greenhouse gases – typically carbon – are one of the main causes of climate change. However, it is impossible to stop using carbon. The main solution is to use the right carbon sources which do not harm the atmosphere.

“Colouring” for kinds of carbon

Pioneering in sustainable development, particularly environment protection, Unilever coined the term "Carbon Rainbow" or "Carbon Cycle" to help articulate the different sources of carbon available, thereby diversifying the carbon sources in the input materials and fuels, contributing to minimising the impact on the environment.

“Carbon Rainbow” was coined by Unilever.

First, black carbon refers to non-renewable sources of carbon derived from fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and gas from underground or under-the-sea mines, which cause the greenhouse effect.

Therefore, Unilever's goal is to replace black carbon sources with purple carbon from CO2 capture, green carbon from plants and biological sources, blue carbon from marine algae, and grey carbon from waste materials. Life-cycle assessments will underpin this to guide the selection of the best mix of carbon sources to gradually phase out dependence on fossil fuels.

Applying to product development

Heading towards the goals by 2030 of eliminating 100 per cent of Fossil Fuel Derived Carbon from Home Care products and 100 per cent biodegradable formulation in Home Care products, the “Clean Future” program by Unilever Vietnam has applied “Carbon Rainbow” in their product development.

“Clean Future” by Unilever Vietnam’s Home Care

Home Care brands have taken advantage of green carbon sources by combining natural and scientific elements to create biochemical and completely biodegradable compounds and using renewable sources.

With Sunlight, Unilever Vietnam is the first Unilever unit in Asia to use Rhamnolipid bio-based cleaning agent in Sunlight Gentle products.

Unilever Vietnam's Home Care category uses natural-based cleaning polymers to replace conventional surfactants. For example, OMO with “Green Polyshield”, Vim with “24-hour effective smart dirty screen” technology, or Comfort with wheat-based fabric softener.

In addition, the “Clean Future” project also aims to reduce the amount of virgin plastic and utilize post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR) in packaging; specifically, by 2025, 100 per cent of Home Care product packaging will be reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable, and more than 25 per cent packaging using PCR.

To achieve this goal, the Home Care category has applied grey carbon – a carbon source derived from plastic waste. The program drives the use of recycled plastic, helping reduce the amount of virgin plastic from black carbon.

There are products with bottles made from 100 per cent PCR plastic, such as Comfort for sensitive skin, Soft Sunlight dishwashing liquid, Sunlight Lemon 100, Natural Sunlight floor cleaner, Cif Nature, Lifebuoy floor cleaning, and blue Vim toilet cleaner.

The “Clean Future” programme also drives product packaging’s recyclability, as well as implementing activities to encourage consumers to reuse packaging and refill products into old empty bottles at home to reduce the amount of plastic packaging.

Brands and products are the core of business at Unilever Vietnam. Achieving our climate targets requires us to outline the plan and take action on reinventing and renovating our products “from the inside out.”

This means that we pay attention to not only product formulation ingredients but also the product packaging through the model “less plastic, better plastic, no plastic.” This effort helps the company improve the planet’s health by reducing greenhouse gases and consolidating our brand position in consumers' hearts.

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