Lead Researcher on the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Plastics, Professor Charlotte Williams, has had her work in partnership with colleagues at the University of Liverpool recognised by Unilever’s Clean Future ‘Brilliance’ Award.
The award is given to those who have made the biggest contribution to Unilever’s Clean Future agenda; to replace 100% of the fossil fuel carbon in the formulations of their ‘home care’ brands - including Persil, Domestos and Cif - with renewable or recycled carbon by 2030.
Professor Charlotte Williams, along with Professor Matthew Rosseinsky and Professor Andrew Cooper at the University of Liverpool, have been recognised for their work on a collaboration with Unilever to deliver sustainable polymers and chemicals, and to investigate how they biodegrade in aquatic environments. This collaboration, which has also just been awarded Prosperity Partnership funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), aims to provide methods to manufacture all the materials used in Unilever’s products whilst completely avoiding the use of virgin petrochemicals.
“I’m honoured by this award and very pleased to work with the outstanding teams in the Future of Plastics programme, the University of Liverpool and at Unilever,” said Professor Williams. “Unilever has an impressive and inspiring vision to achieve net zero carbon emissions and eliminate its use of virgin petrochemicals. Their leadership in this area is exciting because it could drive major sector change in many polymer applications.”
The Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Plastics aims to deliver sector change throughout the plastic and polymer industries across myriad applications. This endeavour is more than packaging and includes polymers uses in construction, and house-hold goods and products, like the home-care products that are the focus of this project with Unilever.
The programme’s work on developing new materials has underpinned this successful partnership and enabled this large-scale collaboration and award. 2.5 billion people in over 190 countries use Unilever products every day and supporting their transition away from carbon-intensive polymers could have a significant impact on the use of plastics, polymers and fossil fuel-derived chemicals globally.