Could CO₂ be a viable material for Unilever’s products?

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Could CO₂ be a viable material for Unilever’s household cleaning products?

Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, is working with Econic. Together, we are exploring how we can transform CO₂ into usable carbon to create fossil-free raw materials for Unilever’s household cleaning and laundry products.

Nearly 60% of Unilever’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the raw materials and ingredients it buys. Therefore, finding alternatives to fossil-fuel-based chemicals is one of the company’s biggest challenges in reaching its goal of net zero by 2039. It also presents Unilever with a huge opportunity.

Our early research together has made the team at Unilever confident that Econic’s technology will bring advantages compared to other ways of using CO₂, and that the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of the material will be significantly lower. We also hope to prove that harnessing CO₂ in this way will lead to the potential for untapped performance benefits.

Martin Crossman, Unilever Science & Technology Platform Leader, says, “With this programme, we’re not looking to force-fit CO₂ into an existing petrochemical-based or palm-based process, and simply copy existing ingredients – that’s essentially just making the same thing but more expensively.” 

“This is about changing the rules of the game,” says Ian Howell, Unilever Home Care Advanced Materials and Surface Science Director. “It has potential to be truly transformative. For the chemicals industry to transition away from fossil-fuel derived ingredients, we need to look to all carbon sources, and CO₂ offers opportunities yet to be discovered.”

Keith Wiggins, Econic Technologies CEO, says, “This partnership is incredibly important for us, as it’s a big step towards fulfilling Econic’s overall purpose, which is to take CO₂ and turn it into usable carbon that can enhance the performance of products we all use every day.”

When the technology project proves viable at scale, Unilver’s aim is to get it to market as quickly as possible. The next important step will be small-scale consumer testing next year. 

Martin Crossman, Unilever Science & Technology Platform Leader, says, “With this programme, we’re not looking to force-fit CO₂ into an existing petrochemical-based or palm-based process, and simply copy existing ingredients – that’s essentially just making the same thing but more expensively.” 

“This is about changing the rules of the game,” says Ian Howell, Unilever Home Care Advanced Materials and Surface Science Director. “It has potential to be truly transformative. For the chemicals industry to transition away from fossil-fuel derived ingredients, we need to look to all carbon sources, and CO₂ offers opportunities yet to be discovered.”

Keith Wiggins, Econic Technologies CEO, says, “This partnership is incredibly important for us, as it’s a big step towards fulfilling Econic’s overall purpose, which is to take CO₂ and turn it into usable carbon that can enhance the performance of products we all use every day.”

When the technology project proves viable at scale, Unilver’s aim is to get it to market as quickly as possible. The next important step will be small-scale consumer testing next year. 

To learn more about this collaboation, read Unilever’s article. 

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