Circular Economy: Building Demand for Recycled Plastic

Current Head of Sustainability at Danone, Brazil.

Why is this interview interesting?

  • As Head of Sustainability at a large CPG company, what strategies would you use to increase the demand for recycled plastic in the ecosystem?
  • What challenges exist for CPG companies to increase the percentage of recycled plastic in packaging?
  • How could CPG companies work with recyclers to ensure there is capacity to recycle materials?
  • As a policymaker, how could you incentivize brands and recyclers to increase the demand for recycled plastic in the ecosystem?

Executive Bio

Ligia Camargo

Current Head of Sustainability at Danone, Brazil.

Ligia Camargo started working in Sustainability at Unilever in 2010 when the area was first being developed within large CPG companies. She was part of a global team that launched Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan which, together with HR and the Sustainability Committee, aimed to educate at least 90% of the company on the role of sustainability. Ligia then worked with each brand within the group to build an adherence strategy to various sustainability metrics. She then moved to become Head of Sustainability at Danone in Brazil in 2017 where she is responsible for corporate communications and sustainability strategies for the region across all Danone brands. Read more

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Interview Transcript

Ligia, thank you very much for joining us today. Maybe if you could start with a short introduction to your experience, working at both Unilever and Danone?

I started working in sustainability in Unilever, in 2010, when the area first started. At that time, nobody knew what a sustainability manager would do. It covered, with the company, the strategy for Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, which was launched in 2010. Then I had the opportunity to talk about and to implement and to create a plan, together with the Sustainability Committee in the company.

First of all, I think the most important thing that I had to do was the strategy, to give meaning to the sustainability plan for the whole company. Here in Brazil, at that time, Unilever had 15,000 people employed and the management and the governance of sustainability was centralized in the Corporate Affairs area. But it was also managed by a Sustainability Committee, which was implemented some years ago, talking about all the corporate areas. When USLP, Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan was implemented, the Committee started to work on and to look at this area too.

Together with HR, we made a plan, with a very clear goal to be achieved, which was to present the USLP to 90% of the company, in one year. This would be part of a three-year plan. The first year, we called the year of awareness; the second year would be the year of implementation; the third year, the integrity year. The first year, we worked on it together with the Sustainability Committee and we had 13 areas represented, together with supply chain, all the manufacturing, marketing, environmental and quality, customer development, even HR. A lot of areas had the same goal cascaded down. Everybody had to present the USLP to 90% of the areas.

First of all, we needed to establish a goal. Second, together with communication, develop some different materials to guarantee the adherence for different areas. For example, for the sales person, entirely in the field, we had a very short video of explanation about what USLP would be. For the integration of new employees, together with HR, we had a full presentation, a 30-minute presentation, for the new plan. For example, the suppliers, in the area of purchase, procurement. They had some roadshows during the year. We established 15-20-minute presentations, in meetings that had already been planned in the areas.

Then, for the second year, we started to do the implementation strategy. This implementation was based on, what would be the meaning of sustainability for each area? Of course, we had the help of the global teams, to help the understanding about what sustainability would be mean for customer development? Which kind of subjects they would approach? How to work with sustainability with our clients.

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Circular Economy: Building Demand for Recycled Plastic(November 21, 2019)

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