Unilever pledges to invest US$1.2bn to eliminate fossil fuels in its cleaning products by 2030 and reduce carbon emissions.

Unilever said the chemicals used in its cleaning and laundry products make up 46% of its overall carbon footprint. Replacing them with more sustainable ingredients will reduce that footprint by up to 20%.

The consumer goods giant said it will replace petrochemicals with ingredients derived from wood or microbial fermentation, marine sources like algae and recycled carbon from other industries. It will also help its suppliers adopt technologies to eliminate the use of fossil fuels in the production of cleaning products.

“What Unilever is trying to do is very comprehensive,” said Katy Armstrong, a researcher at the University of Sheffield who works on reusing carbon. “With great ambition, it is looking at the entire supply chain.”

The company’s best-selling cleaning brands include Persil, Dove soap, Omo, Cif, Sunlight and Domestos.

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