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Working On It — Climate Change


Over the next few decades, the Middle East and North Africa will experience less rainfall and more extreme temperatures, according to a recent report by the World Bank.

Climate change isn’t a debate. It’s a reality, and for the Middle East that reality means preparing for a future that may include an increasing scarcity of food and water. And that’s just one region of the world.

The future also holds challenges for consumer brands. Not only does climate change affect the well-being of the people who make and buy our products, it also presents significant business risks.

But consumer brands are doing what we can to increase our climate resilience. And, the measures we are taking together are having an impact, according to Climate Counts, an organization that promotes greenhouse gas reduction.

In its annual rating of consumer brands announced this week, Climate Counts shared that the combined 2011 greenhouse gas reductions by its top scoring brands – Unilever (91), UPS (89), Levi Strauss & Co. (87) and L’Oreal (87) –  saved enough carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels to provide electricity to 146,000 homes. That’s a real impact.

But there’s still more to do.

This year, in addition to reducing our overall global footprint 13 percent from our 2007 baseline, we also introduced ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, which will result in even greater greenhouse gas reduction for our offices, retail, and distribution centers. We also added  5 percent annual targets to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions for each product made in our own manufacturing plants.  And, we’ve committed to using 20 percent renewable energy across the company by 2020.

By lowering our energy consumption, we’re also reducing business risks, ranging from disruptions to our operations, to the availability of water, and to potential impacts to cotton supply, our core raw material. And, we know that investing in these changes will ultimately benefit our employees, partners and consumers.

We’re honored to be named in the top tier of “soaring” companies taking action to reduce climate change by Climate Counts, and look forward to continuing our work across our industry and beyond – because there’s still more work to be done.

Images: Dorte Verner / World Bank