Unilever and Bio-on to use biotech to produce microplastics

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever and Bio-on to use biotech to produce microplastics
UK-headquartered global personal care brand, Unilever, has joined forces with Italian bioplastic specialists, Bio-On to improve the personal care sector's impact on the environment.

With a core focus on delivering a smaller or zero environmental impact, the duo has entered into a strategic alliance using exclusive technologies to create, manufacture and sell personal hygiene and care products.

Working together, Unilever and Bio-On will use patented bio-technologies for natural, biodegradable microplastics production.

Taking responsibility 

The collaboration and environmentally-conscious decision comes as the two companies reconfirm their commitment to supporting to build a “more sustainable economy and more responsible consumption”​ in the personal care industry.

In an exclusive agreement, Unilever will rely on Bio-on’s knowledge to support its key brands, including Dove, Sunsilk, Glysolid and Mentadent.

Revitalised business strategy

In 2018, the consumer goods giant, Unilever, has focused its future growth plans and resource distribution on investing in acquisitions and forming strategic alliances. Its first big purchase was of the clean and sustainable Schmidt’s Naturals brand​ in January 2018. Unilever Ventures, the company's venture capital and private equity branch, then made its entry into the health and wellbeing-led microbiome and probiotic skin care trend by acquiring an interest in Galinée​ through a series A financing round.

Investing in the Italian personal care and wellbeing sphere once more, in June 2018, the company purchased a majority stake in Equilibra.

Then in September 2018, Unilever unveiled its plans to simplify its business structure ​through merging its UK and Dutch companies.

Over the summer, following a number of acquisitions and partnerships in the natural and personal care arenas, and ahead of its business restructure announcement, Unilever unveiled its plans to expand its eco-friendly beauty brand​, Love Beauty and Planet, to the UK.

Sustainable developments

In addition to these strategic acquisitions and expansions, Unilever is also striving to prioritise its environmental goals. The company's Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) stipulates the company's sustainable growth plan, which aims to halve the environmental impact of its products by 2030, improve the living conditions of millions of people by 2020 and help more than 1 billion people to improve their health and wellbeing by 2020.

Italian Intellectual Property Company, Bio-On, carries out applied research and development activities into modern bio-fermentation technologies. Identifying eco-sustainable and completely naturally biodegradable materials, the bioplastics company is listed on the AIM section of Italy's stock exchange, Borsa Italiana.

2030 goals

Developing this partnership “is an important step towards the goals we have set ourselves with the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, primarily to halve the environmental impact of our products by 2030,"​ claims Fulvio Guarneri, Chairman & CEO of Unilever Italia.

It reflects a business strategy that highlights the importance of sustainability. "Research into innovative products and cutting-edge formulations that respect the environment and people is now a priority in the personal care sector,"​ described Marco Astorri, Chairman and CEO of Bio-on.

As a result, this research provides the opportunity “to introduce real sustainable innovation whilst reaching an increasingly broad consumer base”​, added Astorri.

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