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Case Study: Unilever

Conducting sustainability audits to drive performance improvement and ensure data accuracy for reporting

Background

Unilever has been the Food & Beverage super-sector sustainability leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for 12 straight years. Launched in 1999, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes are the first global indexes tracking the financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide. Based on the cooperation of Dow Jones Indexes and SAM they provide asset managers with reliable and objective benchmarks to manage sustainability portfolios.

Investors perceive sustainability as a catalyst for enlightened and disciplined management and thus, DJSI is a crucial business success factor. Highly regarded by influential investors all over the world, the DJSI helps shape the increasingly popular sustainability-driven investment portfolios.

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is Unilever’s groundbreaking and ambitious roadmap to achieve its growth vision in a way that increases the social value of its brands while simultaneously reducing its environmental impact.  Unilever will report its progress to achieving the goals set forth in the USLP and therefore Unilever wanted to ensure that the Sustainability data collected and reported by its manufacturing sites was accurate.

Our Approach

As a pilot exercise, ERM offered to extend its existing audit to a Unilever facility.  This work involved completing a detailed review of the Environment, Health and Safety sustainability data that had been reported, and comparing this data to the situation on site.  As a result, ERM made a series of recommendations which Unilever adopted.

The sustainability related audit took one day to complete and, following its success, has now become a standard process for all Unilever sites across the Americas. ERM’s involvement will enable sites to ensure the accuracy of the data collation and reporting.

As a long-term partner, ERM has completed 82 audits for Unilever in the last three years.

Benefits and Value

Integrating ERM’s recommendations on sustainability into Unilever’s existing audit program will help Unilever in:

  • Reporting against its new sustainability goals
  • Safeguarding the accuracy of EHS data being reported across the Americas
  • Drive performance improvement
  • Leveraging ERM’s experienced auditors

Note: The DJSIs are the world's most important and widely-recognized indexes for tracking the performance of sustainability-driven companies. They are calculated and published by the Swiss investment boutique SAM Group in cooperation with Dow Jones Indexes

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