"Replacing our POS display equipment has allowed the business to significantly save cash ánd reduce emissions."

Laura Barnator
VP Customer Development

Replacing Point of Sales display equipment with greener option saves costs ánd CO2 emissions

In a nutshell

When Argentina’s Customer Development team decided to explore an overlooked area of the business, they opened up a great opportunity that is dramatically cutting CO2 emissions and generating significant cash for reinvestment.

What’s the issue?

In Customer Development, we are always looking for sustainable, long-lasting materials. In 2015, our focus was on developing materials and suppliers that could help us align our agenda with the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, while at the same time optimising logistics and production costs. We looked at an area of our operation that, up until then, we hadn’t really explored: our Point of Sale (POS) display equipment. We discovered that the carbon emissions footprint of our POS units stemmed from a material called PSAI, a high impact polystyrene.

What’s the story?

Armed with this information, we decided to replace the raw materials used in our POS elements (which was PSAI or high impact polystyrene) with corrugated plastic or cardboard. We reduced our CO2 emissions and achieved huge savings.

We did this in two ways:
1) Producing cardboard edging for 100% of our customers and our brands.
2) Creating a sustainable POS kit for our Perfect Community project as a POS basic kit.

What are the outcomes and impact?

Since we first piloted the project in 2015, we have reduced CO2 emissions by over 40,000 tons and saved € 1,700,000. This money is being reinvested to increase our coverage and, ultimately, drive growth.

Lessons learned
Our biggest lesson learned is that a big sustainability opportunity can exist anywhere. Look at everyday objects or processes, whether at home, at work or at the supermarket; things you may have overlooked or not considered may well be worth exploring. You will be surprised where it leads to.

This new way of looking at our POS materials has also allowed us to align our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan actions with the sustainability plans of key customers such as Walmart and Vital. We are currently working with both of these retailers on new display and communication opportunities.

Plus of course, we are able to engage consumers with something they truly value: a positive environmental impact.

What are the future plans?

This model is 100% replicable in other countries across Southern Cone, Latin America and the rest of the world. We are now starting to apply these materials in the Southern Cone Community. In 2017, we will continue to grow within the plan, with the production of more sustainable materials, reducing the environmental impact (the CO2 footprint) and increasing business results (achieving better costs every time, by purchasing in bulk).

In Summary

“This project was developed by our colleagues’ own interest, looking into sustainable, long-lasting materials, and I really value how the whole team committed to it. Today, it has become a reality in all our Points of Sale and is perfectly fit to be replicated by any market in the world.” – Laura Barnator, VP Customer Development – Argentina.

To learn more, please contact: karen.vizental@unilever.com

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