Alex McDonald, Head of Sustainable Business and Communications at Unilever Australia and New Zealand said: “Bushfires, nature degradation, biodiversity decline and water scarcity are all interconnected issues of climate change. If we don’t take action now, the Australia we know today will look very different in the not too distant future. Unilever has a responsibility to help tackle the crisis: as a business, and through direct action of our brands.”

One example of how Unilever’s brands are acting is in the form of a brand-new Koala-shaped Paddle Pop. “But there is so much more to this tasty ice cream than meets the eye,” said Annie Lucchitti, Brand Manager for Paddle Pop. “Paddle Pop has partnered with WIRES to support three key initiatives which will contribute to changing the trajectory of koala livelihoods in Australia, particularly in Queensland and New South Wales where koalas are officially listed as vulnerable to extinction.”

“Paddle Pop has been a part of Australian lives and supporting local communities for over 67 years. We’re proud to partner with WIRES who are actively supporting our Aussie wildlife. We want our new Koala Paddle Pop to help raise awareness of koala conservation among Aussie families – and what better way to support these cuddly creatures than with an ice cream in your hand!”

The three key WIRES projects Paddle Pop is supporting are:

  • Koala Rehabilitation Facilities – planned facilities programs to help multiple species including the building of koala enclosures.
  • The Koala Health Hub at the University of Sydney, a leading source of koala health expertise and support. Paddle Pop and WIRES will support laboratory and research expertise and increase the Koala Health Hub’s ability to respond to emerging needs in koala care and management through clinical support, research, education and conservation outcomes.
  • Water Drinkers Project – an initiative to install 800x220L water drinkers in areas most impacted by the fires and drought.

Alex McDonald continued: “Paddle Pop’s partnership with WIRES is just one example of the actions our brands are taking to improve the health of our planet. But there’s still more to be done to continue driving regenerative practices, including restoring soil health, conserving water, increasing local biodiversity, regenerating forests and protecting the animals which inhabit them.

“That’s why we’ve set out new commitments to fight climate change, protect and regenerate nature, and preserve our precious resources for future generations. Globally, our brands will collectively invest €1 billion (AUD$1.89 billion) in a new dedicated Climate & Nature Fund. This will be used over the next ten years for projects including landscape restoration, reforestation, carbon sequestration, wildlife protection and water preservation.”

Unilever has also committed to achieve a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023. To do this, the Company will increase traceability and transparency by using emerging digital technologies. Last month, Unilever announced a pilot with tech company, Orbital Insight which specialises in geospatial analytics to monitor its palm oil supply chain more accurately. The pilot uses geolocation data to help identify the individual farms and plantations that are most likely to be supplying the palm oil mills in Unilever’s extended supply chain.

“Australia is home to between 600,000 and 700,000 species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. So, we have a lot to lose if we don’t take action now,” said Alex McDonald. “But we can all play such a vital role in protecting our beautiful environment. It might feel daunting, and sometimes it can be hard to know where to start but Biodiversity Month – which kicked off last week - is the perfect time to give it a shot.”

Leanne Taylor, WIRES CEO concluded, “Koala populations have seen a dramatic decline over the last five to ten years and raising awareness for koala conservation is now more crucial than ever. We’re thrilled to have the support of an iconic brand like Paddle Pop to help drive conversation and educate more Australian families of this important cause.”

“Paddle Pop’s support is a great combination of long-term initiatives, education and practical planning for the upcoming summer season and rebuilding koala populations into the future.”

The new Koala Paddle Pop is a delicious combination of chocolate and caramel flavours, made with Australian dairy and proudly made in Australia. It is now available in convenience and petrol stores across Australia and in your local Coles and IGA from late September.

Sydney Zoo are also showing their support for the partnership, selling the new Koala Choc Caramel Paddle Pop onsite with 10% of sales being donated to WIRES throughout September and October.

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