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Unilever's commitment to 100% sustainable sourcing by 2020

Unilever’s vision is to double the size of the business, whilst reducing our environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to sourcing 100% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020. Sustainable sourcing addresses a core business risk by ensuring security of supply and managing price volatility.

We focus on our top ten agricultural raw material groups, which account for around two thirds of our agricultural raw material volumes. We are also making progress with the responsible sourcing of our non-renewable materials, which make up about 50% of our total raw material purchases.

Beyond large-scale sourcing programmes already underway, a new strategic departure is our decision as of 2014 to invest disproportionate effort in accelerating  progress on two priorities:

  • Working to eliminate deforestation from supply chains to help mitigate climate change - at a company level, at a consumer goods industry level and at a multi-sectoral level.

  • Championing sustainable agriculture and the development of smallholder farmers – driving transformational change in agricultural systems as a whole.

For paper and board we encourage our packaging suppliers to embrace sustainable sourcing policies and practices and, in turn, to encourage their own suppliers to adopt more sustainable practices. Our target is to source 75% of the paper and board for our packaging from certified, sustainably managed forests or from recycled material by 2015 and to reach 100% by 2020.

Willem - Jan Laan is Director Global External Affairs, Communications at Unilever.

This article has been published in the ACE Newsletter Summer 2014. 

Published on 05 August 2014