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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

In 2016 Unilever refreshed its Palm Oil Policy and brought forward the target for purchasing 100% physically certified palm oil from 2020 to 2019. We also stopped buying GreenPalm certificates. As of 2015, all HUL palm derivatives were backed by RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certificates.

We have signed multiple partnerships to drive market transformation and traceability of the supply chain. These partnerships also focus on commitments to the principles of no deforestation, no development on peatlands, and driving positive economic and social impact for people and communities. In 2016, we updated our policy globally to expand our existing principles to include smallholder farmers and women, commit to no exploitation of people or communities, and to transparency.

Sustainable paper & board

We have sustained our volumes of sustainably sourced paper and board for packing our products at 99% in 2016. This paper & board has come from mills that are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. We have decreased the usage of paper and board by moving to low GSM (Grams per Square Meter) alternative in cartons of certain brands like Dove, Fair & Lovely and Pears.

Sustainable tea

A total of 243 tea estates in India are Trustea1 verified and a total of 261 tea estates in India are Rainforest Alliance certified.

In 2016, over 46% of tea was sourced from sustainable sources in India for Unilever's brands. This is a substantial increase from 28% last year.

Sustainable fruits & vegetables

In 2016, we maintained our status on procuring 100% of tomatoes used in Kissan ketchup from sustainable sources. The public-private partnership (project which began in 2012 between HUL and Maharashtra Government for sustainable sourcing of tomatoes matured in 2014 and has since 2015 become self-sustaining. In 2016, HUL continued to provide these farmers 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.

1Trustea is a multi-stakeholder program led by Tea Board of India

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