GE Water & Process Technologies, a unit of General Electric Co., joined the Hon. Laurel Broten, minister of the environment, in honoring Unilever Canada with a 2006 Global Ecomagination Leadership Award. Unilever Canada received the award in recognition of their significant environmental and operational savings, which resulted in nearly 13 million gal of water saved, an 8% reduction of natural gas use; and an operational savings of $300,000.
“As a 2006 GE Ecomagination Leadership Award winner, we commend Unilever Canada’s environmental leadership and dedication,” said Jeff Garwood, president and CEO, GE Water & Process Technologies. “Unilever Canada demonstrated to the world—and to their competitors—that increasingly, what’s good for the environment can also be good for business.”
“I congratulate Unilever Canada on the impressive results they’ve achieved by installing a cleaner, more efficient system in their plant,” said Minister of the Environment Laurel Broten. “Our government knows that cleaning both the air we breathe and protecting the water we drink are critical to people’s health.”
Unilever Canada produces a broad range of food and home and personal care products. The Rexdale Plant is Unilever’s leading manufacturing facility in North America, producing 185 million pounds of heart-healthy margarines and oil. The company is a recognized environmental leader and has been listed seven years in a row on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes. Unilever is also known for setting impressive environmental goals that include an annual 6% reduction of their energy consumption.
“As a company, we were facing rising and unpredictable energy prices, changing environmental regulations and the aggressive goal of reducing our annual energy consumption by 6%," said Doug Dittburner, chief engineer and head of the Energy Team at the Unilever plant in Rexdale, Ontario. “We decided to partner with GE’s ecomagination technology because it could help us attain our competitive, industrial and environmental goals.”
Unilever Canada installed reverse osmosis desalination technology by GE that improved operational production and simultaneously decreased water, chemical and energy consumption. GE’s ecomagination technology enabled the plant to purify and recycle water more effectively and increased the plant’s feed-water cycles from 10 cycles to 100 cycles. The partnership saved Unilever USD $300,000.