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Plastic Polluted Money

Unilever profit warning delivered by Greenpeace UK as activists scale HQ in plastic pollution protest
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Plastic Polluted Money

Main image: © Kristian Buus / Greenpeace

On the eve of Unilever’s profits announcement Greenpeace UK has scaled the company’s HQ erecting a huge sign reading ‘PROFIT WARNING – Plastic Polluted Money’.

As dawn broke a team of Greenpeace UK activists climbed the walls of the company’s HQ by Blackfriars Bridge to unfurl the the 13x3m banner above the main entrance.

The banner features a subverted version of Unilever’s iconic Dove branding.

Further activists on the ground set up a pollution warning zone around the entrance to the HQ, warning passers-by of the company’s overwhelming plastic pollution problem. 

Unilever’s sachets problem

Only today (07 Feb) a new report by Break Free From Plastic showed that Dove’s owner, Unilever, had risen into the top three worst plastic polluters globally.

This came a matter of months after Unilever was revealed to be the biggest seller of some of the worst polluting packaging – multi-layered plastic sachets.

Plastic sachets are infamous for being near impossible to collect and recycle, helping to cause devastating flooding when they enter the environment and jam local waste systems and waterways.

The report by Greenpeace International showed the company was on course to sell 53 billion sachets in 2023, equalling 1,700 a second.

This is despite the claim that Unilever brands like Dove are ‘passionately committed to being one of the brands making the biggest impact against plastic waste’.

‘They have to change’

Greenpeace is calling on Unilever to stop sachet sales now, and phase out single-use plastic within 10 years.

The charity is also calling on the company to use its influence to advocate for these goals at the UN Global Plastics Treaty negotiations through its role as a co-chair of the Business Coalition. 

‘Unilever’s profits are drenched in plastic pollution. Brands like Dove might give them a clean public face and a healthy bank balance but the truth is the billions in profit Unilever will announce tomorrow is matched only by the billions of pieces of plastic they flood into the world.

‘From devastating floods to toxic fire fumes, it’s communities far from their London HQ in places like the Philippines and Indonesia who are paying the price of plastic pollution. 

‘That’s why we’re here issuing Unilever with their own profit warning – profiting from plastic pollution is a dead end, they have to change. They must stop selling plastic sachets now, commit to phasing out single-use plastic within a decade and advocate for this same level of ambition at UN Global Plastics Treaty negotiations.’

Head of Plastics at Greenpeace UK

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