Unilever, one of the world’s leading FMCG companies and manufacturer of iconic brands such as Lipton and Lifebuoy, has announced signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with retail chain Choithrams, that operates over 32 stores in the United Arab Emirates.
Choithrams, the popular supermarket chain in the seven emirates which also has a distribution network, took on this agreement to reduce their environmental impact through waste management, in addition to water and energy conservation at its sites in the UAE. Choithrams International has globally allocated $2m for this project and will leverage Unilever’s expertise and leading knowledge in the field of sustainability.
This MoU targets to reduce the environmental footprint on a great scale in the matters of energy, water and waste by reducing them to 5%, 3% and 10% respectively.
“If we are to create a world where sustainable business and sustainable living are the norm, we need more collaboration between companies, governments, NGOs and consumers. This MoU is a fundamental step towards building the right network of partnerships that will help Unilever achieve its long term vision of doubling the size of the business and halving its environmental impact,” Arijit Ghose, Managing Director, Unilever Gulf.
As part of this understanding, Unilever audited and assessed Choithrams’ facilities to advise on sustainability projects that would help in reducing the environmental footprint while ensuring long term savings for the retail chain. Many projects are on plan as part of this agreement, including the usage of superior energy efficient refrigeration systems in Choithrams outlet stores and implementing comprehensive LED lighting in their warehouses. Also, plans to work with global specialists in alternative energy solutions, stand on a global scale to explore remote monitoring of facilities to maximize energy and upturn savings.
“This year as Choithrams celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founder, we honour his memory by remembering his dedication to community responsibility and we are delighted to partner with Unilever on this ambitious and exciting project to reduce our environmental footprint. Unpredictable and extreme weather events throughout 2013 saw many humanitarian crises affecting all parts of the globe, many close to home such as the Philippines and India and many small disasters unreported happening daily to our farmers. As a supermarket chain involved in providing excellent quality food at a reasonable price to our customers, it is incumbent on us to take steps to become part of the solution to the environmental crisis facing us all. We are delighted to be partnering with Unilever, a company with whom we have enjoyed a long standing fruitful relationship for more than 60 years and we hope to continue on this journey together,” said L T Pagarani, Choithram’s chairman.
Unilever Gulf is on track in achieving its ambition of halving its environmental impact. Different consumer and corporate projects were put in place; from promoting water conservation amongst consumers with the support of the utility authorities, such as DEWA, to introducing the right systems and processes internally to become the first site to send “zero waste” to landfill in the UAE.
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Zeina Al Haddad