The huge corporation, Unilever, whose company mission statement states, “We meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal car with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life” started a sustainability campaign in 2010 due to increased distaste from the public with regard to Unilever products. Every year the company conducts a “Sustainable Living Plan” progress report and in the first year of the campaign the company’s greenhouse gas intensity fell 16% from 118.31 to 99.97 kg per metric ton of production, as seen in the pie chart. According to this chart which was included in the progress report the highest amount of greenhouse gas emission comes from customer use of soaps, shampoos and shower gels. As of 2018 the company has set a target to double its business while halving the environmental footprint of its products across the value chain, and sourcing 100% of agricultural raw materials sustainably, all by 2020. This goal was set in 2010 so the 2020 goal seemed lightyears away but with 2020 right around the corner, data analysts have criticized Unilever for not providing the whole picture with regard to their sustainability progress. Specifically in the 2011-2012 progress report there was no data to back up this chart, there was only the chart. On the Unilever website, the company claims that that it is on-plan for every individual sustainable sourcing target thus far. I suppose we’ll find out in two years.
Tag Archives: greenhouse gas
How Do We Know CO2 is Affecting Our Planet?
In the article, “Climate change: How do we know?”, the author discusses just how prominent of the effects of global warming are today, specifically the effects that CO2 has played in getting us to where we are. The overall warming trend of the planet has been due to the result of human activity over the past years, specifically the increase in the levels of greenhouse gases being released into the environment.
Greenhouse gases are those that are released into the environment and trap the heat radiated by the sun, causing the warming effect that has led to the intense climate change we are experiencing. One of these very effective greenhouse gases is Carbon Dioxide. As shown in the chart attached to this article, CO2 levels, in units of parts per million, have reached new and astonishing levels where our planet is currently. Prior to 1950, the highest the CO2 levels ever reached was around 300 parts/million. However, today levels have reached numbers as high as 400 parts/million.
Everyday effects of global warming have been seen in the global temperature rise, of approximately 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century. In addition, there is the warming oceans, the shrinking ice sheets, the glacial retreat, the decreased snow cover, the rise in sea level, and many others.
Overall, this increase in CO2 levels, along with other greenhouse gases, proves to be resulting in a number of detrimental effects to our planet.
CO2 Levels are Rising
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a naturally occuring greenhouse gas that is a part of our atmosphere. The reliance on factories and various forms of transportation to burn fossil fuels have increased the amount of CO2 found in our atmosphere today. While, carbon dioxide only makes up 0.04% of the atmosphere this number has increased significantly overtime. Today CO2 levels consist of over 380 parts per million (ppm) but, prior to the Industrial Revolution carbon dioxide consisted of 270 ppm. Specifically, throughout this decade, CO2 levels have increased on average, 2.3ppm per year. Also, we emit 400 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year. In metric units this is 362.874 Tonnes. Again, this number simply shows that while CO2 makes up less than 1% of our atmosphere, the unnatural increase of CO2 has shown negative effects.
It is important that we find a way to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because it has serious effects on the environment such as making our oceans more acidic and increasing the temperature on earth. A New York Times article discusses the fact that removing Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere is a potential way to stop global warming. The goal would be to keep the carbon dioxide below the two degree Celsius target estimated in 2015 by the Paris Agreement. However, this is an extremely difficult task. One suggestion would be to follow a process known as “direct air capture” to minimize its presence. All of the studies show that it is extremely hard to decrease the amount of CO2 currently in the atmosphere but it is crucial that we take conscious steps to reduce it for the future sake of our environment.