According to the US Attorney's office, Unilever is set to pay up a total of $4.5 million to make amends for its violations of federal environmental regulations, which took place at its now closed factory in Clinton, Connecticut.
The figure is made up of a $1 million fine for violating the Clean Water Act, and a $3.5 million contribution to state and local environmental programs. The company will also be on probation for three years.
According to Bloomberg however, although admitting it contravened the technical requirements of the act, Unilever has said it's not aware of any evidence that any release resulted in harm to fish, other wildlife or drinking water and the company worked with state and federal regulators to address their concerns.
The announcement of the payments comes as Procter & Gamble, conversely, have just been granted a state award in Pennsylvania, recognizing ‘environmental excellence’ in its self-sufficient Wyoming plant, pushing the environmental profiles of consumer goods giants under the spotlight.
Unilever’s illegal discharge
Back in 2008, Unilever was called up for illegally discharging industrial water waste at its Clinton plant, a charge which the company has admitted, along with stating it did not report the violation within the necessary 2-hour window.
$1 million of the payments will go to funding environmental products in the town, where Unilever no longer operates since its facility’s closure in 2012. $2.5 million will also be used for the new Institute for Community Resiliency and Climate Adaptation at UConn.
Green in focus
Unilever’s monetary pledge indicates the company is keen to make amends for its misstep, at a time when green concerns are increasingly in focus in the industry.
This appeared to be confirmed in a statement from Deirdre M. Daly, the US attorney for the District of Connecticut: “[We] commend Unilever for redressing their violations by contributing $2.5 million to fund research, outreach and education projects."
"The company’s contributions will directly assist the state of Connecticut in its efforts to protect and preserve our environment,” she said.
Indeed, displaying green profile is increasingly a concern for companies, and P&G’s successful application to the Pennsylvania 2014 ‘Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellent’ suggests the multinational is making moves to do just that.
The newly launched ‘Green Award’ at the in-cosmetics trade show offers further evidence of the trend of environmental concerns. It was won last week by Alban Muller, for its Scurvy Grass Extract, a 100% natural extract of the Scurvy Grass plant, which is rich in Vitamin C, and is designed for anti-ageing applications.