Profit warning: plastic polluted money

Profit warning: plastic polluted money

Greenpeace protesters have scaled Unilever’s headquarters in London to protest against plastic pollution on the eve of the company’s 2023 profit announcement.

The campaign group hung a 13 metre-wide banner across an entrance to the building near Blackfriars Bridge on Wednesday morning, with the message: “Profit Warning: Plastic Polluted Money”.

Two protesters also sat atop walls of the building, waving black flags with a subverted version of Dove’s logo reading “Real Harm” – to raise awareness of the pollution they say is caused by the Unilever-owned beauty brand.


Greenpeace said further activists on the ground set up a “pollution warning zone” around the entrance. The protest comes ahead of Unilever publishing its full-year results for 2023 on Thursday.

It also coincided with a newly released report by the Break Free From Plastic campaign group, which found that the company has risen into the top three for worst plastic polluters globally.

Last year, the firm was named the biggest seller of multi-layer plastic sachets, used as packaging for products such as Dove shampoo, with a report saying the company was on course to sell 53 billion in 2023.

Campaigners say the sachets are nearly impossible to recycle and can jam local waste systems and waterways, causing flooding.


It prompted Greenpeace to accuse Unilever brands such as Dove – which says it is “passionately committed to being one of the brands making the biggest impact against plastic waste” – of greenwashing.

The Greenpeace protesters are calling on Unilever to stop sachet sales and phase out single-use plastic within 10 years.

They are also urging the company to use its influence to advocate for these goals at the UN Global Plastics Treaty negotiations through its role as a co-chair of the Business Coalition.

Nina Schrank, head of plastics at Greenpeace UK, said: “Unilever’s profits are drenched in plastic pollution.


“Brands like Dove might give them a clean public face and a healthy bank balance but the truth is the billions in profit Unilever will announce tomorrow is matched only by the billions of pieces of plastic they flood into the world.

“From devastating floods to toxic fire fumes, it’s communities far from their London HQ in places like the Philippines and Indonesia who are paying the price of plastic pollution.

“That’s why we’re here issuing Unilever with their own profit warning – profiting from plastic pollution is a dead end, they have to change.

“They must stop selling plastic sachets now, commit to phasing out single-use plastic within a decade and advocate for this same level of ambition at UN Global Plastics Treaty negotiations.”

The PA news agency has contacted Unilever for comment.

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Rebecca Speare-Cole is the PA sustainability reporter. 


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