China Watch Blog has learnt that Unilever announced it is sourcing more than a third of its agricultural raw materials sustainably, having made significant progress towards its target of 100% by 2020.
With 36% now sourced sustainably, it has exceeded the interim milestone of 30% it set itself in 2010 when launching the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.
The improvement was made against a backdrop of the company reporting annual sales of €51 billion in 2012. Taken together, they represent significant milestones on the way to realising Unilever’s vision of doubling the size of its business whilst reducing its environmental footprint and improving its positive social impact.
This announcement comes ahead of the upcoming Unilever Sustainable Living Plan Progress Report which will be released on 22 April.
Marc Engel, Chief Procurement Officer said: “Climate change, water scarcity, unsustainable farming practices, and rising populations all threaten agricultural supplies and food security.
Half of the raw materials Unilever buys are from the farming and forestry industries, so ensuring a secure supply of these materials is a major business issue. However, sustainable sourcing is not only about managing business risks, it also presents an opportunity for growth, allowing brands to stand out in the marketplace.”
One example is how Knorr has supported sustainable growth for the Foods category. In September 2012 a new soup launched in France became the first Unilever product to promote an ingredient (tomatoes) as sustainably grown in accordance with the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code. This was made possible through the Knorr Sustainability Partnership Fund, which uses €1 million a year to support vegetable suppliers on complex sustainable agriculture projects. This development has boosted shelf standout and competitive differentiation and now Knorr plans to continue to label other products.If you think China Watch Blog's information is useful, click on cup of coffee on left hand side and make a small contribution via PayPal