Unilever has pledged to drop fossil fuels from its cleaning products by 2030 to reduce carbon emissions.
The consumer goods giant said it would invest €1bn (£890m, $1.2bn) in the effort.
Unilever said it would replace petrochemicals with ingredients made from plants, and marine sources like algae.
The company’s best-selling cleaning brands include Omo, Cif, Sunlight and Domestos.
Unilever said the chemicals used in its cleaning and laundry products make up 46% of its overall carbon footprint. Replacing them with more sustainable ingredients will reduce that footprint by up to 20%.
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Coronavirus lifts demand for cleaning products
The Anglo-Dutch firm, which also makes Dove soap and Persil laundry detergent, said it was facing unprecedented demand for cleaning products during the coronavirus pandemic.
“People want more affordable sustainable products that are just as good as conventional ones,” said Peter ter Kulve, Unilever’s president of its home care division.
“We must stop pumping carbon from under the ground when there is ample carbon on and above the ground if we can learn to utilise it at scale,” he added.
Unilever said the €1bn investment would go towards funding biotechnology research and creating biodegradable and water-efficient products.
The announcement is the first phase in its Clean Future initiative, which pledges net zero emissions from its products by 2039.
This year the Carbon Disclosure Project, a global non-profit group, ranked Unilever as one of only seven of 182 major companies to achieve an A rating based on its governance around climate change, water and forests.
- Climate change
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