UK – British multinational consumer goods company, Unilever, will lose the services of its current CEO, Alan Jope, who has announced his retirement from the position at the end of 2023 to the company’s Board.

The company said its Board will proceed with a formal search for a successor and will consider both internal and external candidates.

Unilever Chairman Nils Andersen said: “Unilever has seen improved performance, enabled by its clear strategic choices and a significant company transformation. The Board will now conduct an orderly succession process and support Alan and the management team in further driving the performance of Unilever.

“Alan’s retirement next year will mark the end of a remarkable career with Unilever. Under his leadership, Unilever has made critical changes to its strategy, structure, and organization that position it strongly for success.”

Alan Jope, who approaches five years in the role of CEO in Unilever, commented that growth remains his top priority, and in the quarters ahead he will remain fully focused on disciplined execution of the company’s strategy, and leveraging the full benefits of the new organization.

At the same time, the multinational company says it is moving to decarbonize its factories as a vital part of meeting the climate targets of reducing emissions to zero within operations by 2030 and to net zero across our value chain by 2039.

Lewis Rae, Unilever’s Safety, Health, and Environment Capabilities Manager for Air Emissions, explained that emissions from the factories, offices and labs only account for about 2% of Unilever’s greenhouse gas emissions footprint.

So far, the company highlighted it has reduced those emissions by 64% and is working to meet the interim goal of 70% by 2025, though a lot is to be done, Rae noted.

After good progress with implementing some of the more straightforward projects, the company has embarked to invest in newer and more complex technologies like heat pumps and electrifying its thermal systems.

The efforts will also include sourcing 100% renewable electricity while also transitioning its thermal energy, which is the energy used to generate heat for the production processes and for heating the factories, to using sustainable biofuels or renewable electricity instead of combustion.

In addition, Unilever will be focusing on energy efficiency, particularly optimizing the factories as much as possible to reduce reliance on energy which could save the business millions of dollars, just as Roe estimated that since 2008, energy efficiency has saved Unilever well over US$0.97billion, helping to protect the company from the energy price hikes witnessed today.

As part of the energy efficiency drive, Unilever demonstrated the use of hydrogen as a fuel in an industrial boiler at the Port Sunlight factory.

The company said it successfully proved that hydrogen can safely be used in manufacturing operations to generate steam.

When made with renewable electricity or reforming natural gas with carbon capture and storage, hydrogen can be a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels.

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