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Tomorrow’s Value Rating 2014: Unilever’s ambitious vision sees it retain No 1 position

25 September 2014

Unilever has emerged as the sustainability leader in the Tomorrow’s Value Rating 2014 (TVR). For the second year running, the multinational consumer goods company has topped the Rating, which evaluates the sustainability performance of the world’s largest companies. Nestlé and Diageo follow as the next highest performing food and beverage companies. But while sustainability leaders demonstrate ambition, drastic action is required if we are to remain within our planetary boundaries.

In retaining its number one position, Unilever offers a significantly more comprehensive, compelling and ambitious vision of the future for itself, its sector and the global economy as a whole, says the report published by DNV GL .

“Unilever stands out for its ambition and sensible milestones,” comments Jon Woodhead, Business Development Manager, DNV GL - Business Assurance. “It has set an ambitious target of halving the environmental impact of its products by 2020 while still maintaining economic growth in that period. It is a brave move, challenging the status quo, and demonstrates essential components of leadership."

The TVR 2014 evaluates the sustainability performance of 45 major companies, including 10 in the Food and Beverage sector. It demonstrates how frontrunners in the Food and Beverage sector are making substantial progress in linking their operational performance to wider mega-trends such as climate change patterns and demands for increased food production. However, there is a notable gap between the leaders and the laggards, which appears to be largely driven by disparity in companies’ sustainability governance and level of transparency.

Jon Woodhead concludes, “It is becoming increasingly clear that, as a global society and economy, we are reaching the limits to traditional growth. Our analysis suggests a need for companies to fundamentally rethink their approach to targets and long-term strategic planning. In line with increasing demands for transparency, they will need to set and communicate metrics that are rooted in a scientific understanding of the limits ahead and what we can do to stay within them.”

Throughout its 11 year history, the TVR has always sought to challenge the companies rated to illustrate which ones really are leading the charge towards truly sustainable business. It analyses strategy, examines whether there are sufficient supporting structures in place, and delves into how the companies have actually been performing on the most critical material issues. Most importantly, the TVR looks at what still needs to be done to realise a safe and sustainable future for all.

Key TVR findings for the Food and Beverage sector:
  • There is a strong overall performance for the sector with an average score of 75%, which is above the Global sector average of 69%.
  • Unilever and Nestlé fortify their sustainability leadership positions.
  • Diageo is included in the Rating for the first time, and enters in third place.
  • Human rights are an area for significant improvement across all rated companies
Food and Beverage companies rated:
Danone, Diageo, McDonalds, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Starbucks, Tesco, Unilever, Woolworth

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