36% of agricultural raw materials sustainably sourced by the end of 2012
By 2020 we will source 100% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably: 10% by 2010; 30% by 2012; 50% by 2015; 100% by 2020.
36% of our agricultural raw materials were sustainably sourced by the end of 2012. This exceeded our interim milestone of 30%, and marks a significant rise from 24% in 2011.
What matters most
For the Sustainable sourcing commitment we have three targets that are most material to us: Sustainable palm oil, Traceable palm oil and Paper and board. (M) indicates our most material targets.
- achieved: 1
- on-plan: 15
- off-plan: 1
%of target achieved: 0
Half of our raw materials come from farms and forests and the decisions that we make on who we source from, and how we work with them, can have profound implications on global resources, climate change and farmer livelihoods.
There is a clear business case for Unilever to source its raw materials sustainably. By taking a long-term view we can ensure security of supply, reduce costs and protect scarce resources. This long-term approach can also create a win-win for farmers.
For example, ensuring the traceability of palm oil back to its source can help Unilever secure supplies sustainably while also ensuring deforestation, land use and social and community issues are managed responsibly.
By sharing information about where products come from, we are also meeting emerging consumer needs. Lipton tea and Magnum ice cream’s Rainforest Alliance certification and the new Knorr soup labelling on sustainably grown tomatoes are leading the way.
Our progress on sourcing has been strong. We are concentrating first on our top ten agricultural raw material groups, which account for around two-thirds of our volumes: palm oil; paper and board; soy; sugar; tea; fruit and vegetables; sunflower oil; rapeseed oil; dairy ingredients; and cocoa. We are on track for all these materials. But the task remains immense, particularly where our volumes are small.
Our Sustainable Agriculture Code
The Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code was launched in 2010, after 15 years’ work. Our sustainable sourcing programme relies on compliance with the Code, through self-assessment or through external certification standards.
2012 was our first year of getting to scale and gave us deeper insights about suppliers’ challenges. We have now sustainably sourced tomatoes, dairy, rapeseed, sunflower seed, sugar beet and potatoes, demonstrating the Code’s flexibility across crops and countries. Chinese tomato farmers have significantly reduced fertilizer use while increasing yields, and we are tracking pest infestation using traps and smartphones, leading to lower pesticide use and better quality crops for Mediterranean tomato farmers.