Unilever to switch to 100% renewable energy in UK plants

By Emma Jane Cash

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever to switch to 100% renewable energy in UK plants

Related tags: Renewable energy, Anaerobic digestion

Renewable energy is now supplying 15 of Unilever’s UK sites, as part of its Sustainable Living Plan, which aims to hit the 100% mark by 2030.

Under the same plan, the manufacturer aims to source all electricity purchased from the grid from renewable sources by 2020.

The renewable energy is sourced from a wind farm owned by Eneco UK, a company specialising in renewable energy.

The wind farm boasts 23 turbines and is based in the Scottish Highlands.

Unilever has purchased 87%, or 165GWh, of the farm’s output to supply its UK sites, and the site’s surplus energy is sold to local communities in the area.

The UK factories supplied with the renewable energy are responsible for the manufacture of products from brands such as Marmite, Hellmann's, Flora, Wall's and Lipton.

The new contract with Eneco UK builds upon an existing deal in the Netherlands, where Unilever sites are powered by a wind farm in the North Sea.

“It’s been an exciting start to the year in the UK where we are on a journey to improve the sustainability of our sites,” ​said sustainable business and communication director at Unilever, Yvette Edwards. "This latest step in securing an in-country, sustainable supply of wind-generated energy is an important milestone in helping us meet our bold ambition of becoming carbon positive by 2030

The announcement follows on from Unilever’s decision to use biomethane to power five UK and Ireland sites.

Using green gas, or biogas, to power offices in Leatherhead and Victoria Embankment and factories in Norwich, Trafford Park and Cork, is part of a deal inked by Unilever with GENeco.

The biogas is generated by GENeco anaerobic digester in Avonmouth, which converts inedible food waste and sewage into energy.

This agreement, alongside the deal with Eneco UK, means that all Unilever’s UK manufacturing sites source 100% of their electricity from certified renewable sources.

Unilever also aims to eliminate coal from its energy mix by 2020 and make surplus renewable energy available to markets and communities.

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