USA – Unilever, a multinational consumer goods company, has been awarded US$20.9 million by the US Department of Energy to implement measures aimed at reducing carbon emissions at four of its ice cream factories in the United States.

This project, selected as part of the ‘Industrial Demonstrations Program’ by the US Department of Energy, holds promise for its potential to significantly decrease emissions, benefit local communities, and serve as a model for broader decarbonization efforts within the food and beverage sector.

The initiative targets a reduction of 14,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually, aligning with Unilever’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality across its facilities.

Brands produced at these facilities include renowned names such as Ben & Jerry’s, Talenti, Magnum, and Breyers.

Unilever’s ice cream business plans to implement several strategies to achieve these emissions reductions.

This includes the replacement of natural gas boilers with electric boilers and industrial heat pumps incorporating waste heat recovery. Notably, Unilever achieved 100% renewable grid electricity globally in 2020 and is actively working to transition all its facilities to 100% renewable energy sources.

The planned upgrades at the ice cream factories, located in Missouri, Tennessee, and Vermont, are expected to lead to a significant decrease in carbon emissions, particularly related to heat processes.

Sandeep Desai, Chief Product Supply Chain Officer for Unilever’s ice cream business, emphasized the importance of these upgrades in decarbonizing operations.

We are making progress to decarbonize our ice cream business, and these substantial upgrades will mean a major cut in emissions. This step moves us closer to our sustainability goals and is a significant investment in the future for our business and planet,” he stated.

The project is part of Unilever’s broader sustainability agenda, which aims for zero emissions from its operations by 2030 and net zero emissions across its entire supply chain by 2039.

This announcement follows closely on the heels of Unilever’s recent plans to restructure its company by spinning off its ice cream segment into a separate entity.

CEO Hein Schumacher indicated that this division, encompassing brands like Talenti and Klondike, is likely to be listed as a separate entity.

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