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Driving growth through Sustainable Sourcing

Unilever PH leads the way for business to make sustainable agriculture possible

How do we boost the potential of the agriculture sector in the Philippines? How do we unlock the opportunities of an industry that can benefit millions of individuals and households? How do we integrate sustainability in our business model?

These are the questions Unilever is compelled to answer as it makes sustainability the driving force for growth. As the global business cuts across the value chain, sustainable sourcing is one of the key elements to make this possible.

At Unilever, sustainable sourcing means growing crops in ways which preserve the soil, minimize water and fertilizer use, protect biodiversity and, enhance farmers’ livelihoods.

In 2015, Unilever Philippines has taken on a proactive role to work with different organizations to promote sustainable agriculture. The company has taken the lead as one of the private sector representatives and co-chair of the Grow Asia – Philippine Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture (PPSA), working closely with the Department of Agriculture. As co-chair, Unilever is able to convene the different actors across the value chain: NGOs, farmer groups, government agencies, and other industries, to discuss suitable solutions for the sector.

PPSA, developed through the World Economic Forum, brings together more than 70 organizations to form a multi-stakeholder coalition across four working groups on Coffee, Coconut, Corn, and Fisheries. Unilever, being at the helm of the Coconut Working Group, aims to provide support to smallholder farmers through knowledge on technology and crop protection, training on best practices and farm management, access to credit and finance, and preparation for contingencies – prices, disasters, and disease.

With the Philippines as the second world largest producer of coconut, Unilever recognizes its heritage and role in leading the sustainable production of coconut and its large potential for the country’s economy.

In coordination with the Philippine Business for Social Progress, the coalition seeks to address key issues in agriculture and food security, especially as the Philippines increases its engagement in the ASEAN region.

Unilever has also initiated partnerships with Grow Asia in the ASEAN to support different crop industries: agri-finance and mobile technology in Myanmar, soy beans in Indonesia, and tea growers in Vietnam.

The company’s efforts are in line with Sustainable Living plan – where two of its three pillars are to reduce environmental impact and enhance livelihoods. Aside from tackling climate change, its primary focus is to make manufacturing and distribution more eco-efficient while also championing sustainable agriculture and food security.

There is a large potential for sustainable agriculture to flourish in the Philippines. This requires not only Unilever taking a leading role but also working with other stakeholders to make this possible. We believe there is an opportunity for every challenge. To date, we have touched the lives of 1,500 Filipino smallholder farmers, we believe that there is more room to make an impact for more farmers and households in the Philippines. Uplifting their livelihoods is parallel with our growth trajectory as an institution that’s at the forefront of improving Filipino lives,” Unilever Philippines Chairman Benjie Yap said.

Unilever Philippines Chairman Benjie Yap will discuss the company’s growth and vision for sustainable sourcing and agriculture in the Grow Asia - PPSA forum on July 27, 2017, titled “The Power of the Strategic Many Towards Sustainable Agriculture.” He will be joined by key leaders from the Department of Agriculture, BPI Foundation, and Philippine Business for Social Progress.