Unilever is launching a consumer challenge to help families lead more sustainable lifestyles and save money on household bills. Developed in partnership with insight and innovation consultancy The Futures Company, the challenge aims to bust the myth that environmentally-friendly living costs more, and prove that sustainable living can in fact help families to save money, at a time when disposable incomes are under pressure.
According to new research by The Futures Company, seven out of 10 (68 per cent) of UK adults say the main barrier to living a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle is that it costs more – an erroneous perception that Unilever wants to overturn.
The challenge has also been designed to address the findings of new Fabian Society research, supported by Unilever UK & Ireland, to understand consumer attitudes to food waste, which showed that more than 60 per cent of adults recognise that food waste is a problem that needs to be solved. More than half (53 per cent) of adults said they would waste less food if it could save them money and over a quarter (28 per cent) would change if they found it easier to do.
During the next six months, 12 families across the UK will take part in Unilever’s Sustain Ability Challenge. They will test practical ways to adapt their daily routines in order to reduce their impact on the environment and cut their household bills. With 62 per cent of adults saying a lack of knowledge about what they can do to live more sustainably prevents them fromliving a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle, Unilever will provide a series of tools, advice and inspiration to help the families achieve this goal. Their progress will be independently measured by The Futures Company and published in 2013.
The Sustain Ability Challenge is Unilever’s latest project to support the company’s Sustainable Living Plan, which sets out a series of time-bound commitments to help Unilever increase its positive social and economic impact while reducing its environmental footprint. At present, more than two-thirds of Unilever’s environmental impact results from consumer use and disposal of its products – underlining the need to help consumers change their behaviour in the home if the company is to succeed in its long-term aim to halve its environmental footprint.
Amanda Sourry, chairman of Unilever UK & Ireland, comments: “We know that nearly 70 per cent of our environmental impact occurs when consumers use our products at home so changing consumer behaviour is one of the biggest challenges we face in achieving our Sustainable Living Plan goals. We are committed to making sustainable living commonplace and in order to help our consumers live more sustainably and help their household budgets go further, we need to understand the triggers, barriers and motivators to inspire people to adopt new behaviours.”
With the average family throwing away £680 of food waste each year, the families’ first area of focus will be on food. Throughout November and December 2012, they will aim to reduce their monthly food bill by 15 per cent and their household rubbish by 25 per cent.
Unilever has built the food challenge around financial savings in response to the findings of its project with The Fabian Society to understand how Unilever can help consumers reduce avoidable food waste. The advice and support that Unilever will provide to families will focus on increasing confidence and skill in the kitchen which will address the top three barriers which the research highlighted to reducing food waste: food going off quickly; throwing away leftovers; and preparing too much food.