Companies are integrating green marketing and corporate social responsibility into their corporate image in order to benefit from shoppers’ desire “go green” when they are shopping (Lesonsky, 2012). One company that has prioritized green marketing is Unilever, who even features sustainability and pictures of gardening on their home page (Unilever: Unilever global company website, n.d.). They link to a lot of content celebrating sustainability on their site, and a quick Internet search reveals content that they have created on the topic of corporate social responsibility as well. Unilever is taking green marketing seriously.
Unilever is most impressive with their Sustainable Living (Unilever: Sustainable Living, n.d.) site. They are focusing on packaging waste, including women, sustainable sourcing, fairness in the workplace, water use, nutrition, greenhouse gasses, health, and inclusion, making their Sustainable Living site a complete corporate social responsibility content area, touching on human rights, equality, and the environment. They are hitting all of the causes that people care about in one page. Unilever’s commitment to recyclable packaging is impressive, as they have committed to using only recyclable plastic packaging by the year 2025 (Boin, 2017). They are committed to a circular economy model where they are sourcing their materials from the recyclers in an approved supply chain. At the same time, they decided to move to only recyclable plastic packaging, they also begin making moves in their product lines to remove plastic from packaging, choosing paper, aluminum, and glass instead of plastic (Unilever: Waste & packaging).
In addition to package waste reduction, their commitment to controlling climate change is also impressive. Unilever has made protecting rainforests and reducing greenhouse gases some of their environmental priorities. They have also joined environmental action alliances and advocate groups to market their participation and their environmental purpose (Unilever: Global Climate Action). Unilever has been putting out plenty of purpose-built ads around sustainability, diversity, and inclusion as well, getting the word to the market. Unilever also has purpose-led brands around “green” causes, including their Sustainable Living Brands, which includes the Seventh Generation brand, as seen in their press release titled Unilever’s purpose-led brands outperform (Unilever: Unilever’s purpose-led brands outperform, n.d.).
While Unilever is great at green design and waste reduction, most of their products are using virgin products. While they have a commitment to recycled and recyclable packaging, their products are freshly manufactured. They have made a commitment to reducing waste and improving environmental impact, so their manufacturing techniques are improving, but their products are manufactured rather than upcycled. Unilever is missing an opportunity to market waste. They are missing an opportunity to sell waste product as another brand or product line. Not only are they missing out on that opportunity to monetize on waste, but they are missing out on the marketing and public relations opportunity for green marketing around their re-use of waste products in upcycled products.
In conclusion, Unilever is a most impressive modern company that owns hundreds of brands and has made serious commitments to corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Their site flourishes with green marketing, and they have created expensive ad campaigns around green marketing. They have become involved with countless environmental and social groups and alliances in order to extend their reach and gain favor with environmental consumers and advocacy groups. Unilever is only missing out on the opportunity to market a product line or brand that is centered around upcycled products or products that are based upon a waste stream.
Lesonsky, Rieva. (2012). How to Use Green Marketing Effectively in Your Business. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20170430204522/https://www.sba.gov/blogs/how-use-green-marketing-effectively-your-business
Boin, Caroline. (2017). Unilever commits to 100% recyclable plastic packaging by 2025.
Unilever. (n.d.). Global climate action. Retrieved from https://www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/reducing-environmental-impact/greenhouse-gases/global-climate-action/
Unilever. (n.d.). Sustainable Living. Retrieved from https://www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/
Unilever. (n.d.). Unilever global company website. Retrieved from https://www.unilever.com
Unilever. (n.d.). Unilever’s purpose-led brands outperform. Retrieved from https://www.unilever.com/news/press-releases/2019/unilevers-purpose-led-brands-outperform.html
Unilever. (n.d.). Waste & packaging. Retrieved from https://www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/reducing-environmental-impact/waste-and-packaging/