European consumer goods company Unilever has announced that its UK manufacturing sites are now powered 100% by renewable energy, thanks to several Power Purchase Agreements it has signed over the past six months.
Unilever UK announced earlier this month that, since April, its UK manufacturing sites are now powered by 100% renewable energy. Specifically, Unilever UK has signed a Power Purchase Agreement to acquire 87%, or 165 gigawatt-hours (GWh), of the electricity generated at the Scottish Highlands-based wind farm in Lochluichart owned by renewable energy company Eneco UK. This is one of several agreements Unilever has made, including an existing agreement with Eneco in the Netherlands for electricity to power Unilever’s offices and factories. A third deal, signed in January, will see Unilever UK & Ireland using 10,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of biomethane at five of its sites.
Together, these agreements now mean that Unilever UK is running 100% on renewable energy, and Unilever as a whole is currently using 63% renewable energy to power its operations.
“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 Yvette Edwards, Sustainable Business and Communications Director. “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. It’s made all the more significant as any surplus supply will be sold to nearby communities, thereby progressing our vision of making sustainable living commonplace.”
“Eneco is proud to partner with Unilever to provide a solution to its 2030 ambition to become carbon positive,” added Zoisa Walton, Country Director, Eneco UK. “We are committed to working with companies in realising their sustainable energy ambitions as well as the local community through our partnership with Cooperative Energy on the ‘Highlands and Mearns Wind’ tariff. It is a good example of Eneco’s mission to provide sustainable energy for everyone.”
The moves all come as part of Unilever’s commitment to become carbon positive by 2030. Announced in late-2015, Unilever committed to sourcing 100% of its total energy across all its operations from renewable energy sources by 2030, and to source all electricity purchased from the grid from renewable energy sources by 2020. The company is also committed to excluding coal from its energy mix by 2020, and aims to “Directly support the generation of more renewable energy than the company consumes and make the surplus available to the markets and communities in which it operates.”
This last it has already begun doing with the aforementioned Lochluichart wind farm, where the remaining 13% of the electricity generated from the wind farm not used by Unilever is sold under a retail tariff to local communities in the surrounding area.
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