Sustainable sourcing

Sustainable Sourcing of raw materials

Unilever is one of the largest buyers of black tea, tomatoes and palm oil produced in the world. The decisions that we make on who we source from, and how we work with them, can have profound implications on global resources and climate change. They also have a wider social impact, affecting the livelihoods of our farmers and their families, women and young people. Our progress on sourcing has been strong. We are first concentrating on our main agricultural raw materials.

Sustainable Palm Oil

All our palm derivatives are backed by RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certificates. We have signed multiple partnerships to drive market transformation, traceability of the supply chain and commitment to halt deforestation of palm oil trees.

Sustainable paper & board

Nearly 99% of paper and board used for packing our products is from certified and sustainably managed forests. The paper and board mills selected are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.

Total Paper and Board consumption has reduced from 95,000 tonnes to 80,000 tonnes over last two years (12,000 tonnes in paper and 3,000 tonnes in board).

Sustainable tea

Till date, 398 tea estates have been certified as sustainable estates by Rainforest Alliance and trustea in India. In 2015 alone, 181 tea estates across Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu were certified as 'Sustainable Estates'.

In 2015, over 28% of tea was sourced from sustainable sources in India for Unilever's brands.

Sustainable fruits & vegetables

In 2012, HUL entered into a public-private partnership with the Government of Maharashtra for sustainable sourcing of tomatoes locally. In 2014, 2,200 farmers registered for this project to grow tomatoes on over 3,000 acres of land.In 2015, the programme no longer required the intervention or support of PPP which made the project self-sustaining.

As a part of this initiative, HUL provides farmers with a buy-back guarantee for their produce. HUL also offers global and local knowledge and expertise in sustainable agriculture practices in tomato cultivation; this includes the latest agricultural techniques, irrigation practices and recommendation of the right type of seeds.

Execution of good agricultural practices and adoption of drip irrigation systems see farmers make significant savings in water, labour, pesticide and fertiliser, limiting any negative impact on the environment. In fact, under this project, all the farmers associated with one of our partners – an established food is processing company located near Nashik, are using drip irrigation. This in turn, helps to reduce water used in agriculture and has resulted in better yields.

Till date, we have reached out to over 5,000 smallholder farmers who grow tomatoes on more than 7,000 acres of land. In 2015 alone, we reached out to 3,000 smallholder farmers who grew tomatoes on 4,000 acres of land.

In 2015, we sourced 100% of tomatoes used in Kissan ketchup from sustainable sources.

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