"Build relationships with retailers around sustainability to open up doors for valuable category initiatives."

Richie Romero
Senior Manager Sustainable Business Markets

Greenbag: Save a bag, Save the world

In a nutshell

Unilever partnered with the biggest retailer in the Philippines, SM, to launch the country’s first reusable bag – the Green Bag. The team succeeded in making this the biggest and longest-lasting reusable bag programme in the country.

What’s the issue?

Consumers in the Philippines were using plastic bags for shopping as there were no reusable bags available. In the Philippines, people are often unaware that they too are equally responsible for the environment. Unilever and SM were confident that through a joint initiative, they could start a new trend in supermarket shopping and educate consumers via reusing the Green Bag.

What’s the story?

The ‘Green Bag’ is a reusable shopping bag that consumers get for free when buying 500 pesos worth of Unilever products. The use of the bags was encouraged via a loyalty programme whereby the consumer received 2 points for using the Green Bag when shopping – the equivalent of 2 pesos which they could spend on products. With this initiative, Unilever helped the retailer to jumpstart their sustainability programme and at the same time lift our own sales. We had limited resources – we used Unilever employees as models for point-of-purchase materials.

What are the outcomes and impact?

One million Green Bags were sold across the Philippines in the first year of launch. In addition, Unilever achieved 7 million Pesos worth of on-top merchandising savings and delivered 30% growth during the activation.

The initiative was so successful it inspired the government in the Philippines to pass a law banning plastic bags in retailing across many towns and cities. This was also replicated in the United Arab Emirates. The Green Bag programme has been recognised as a best practice by a number of organisations in green retailing. The partnership also allowed Unilever to build a strong relationship with the retailer.


In Summary

“It may be a small action, but it can all add up and make a huge difference.” – Jan Zijderveld

To learn more, please contact: richie.romero@unilever.com

Share story

Use this form to share the story with a colleague by e-mail.

Share story 2

Use this form to share the story with a colleague by e-mail.