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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 2017, we continued our process of purchasing physically certified sustainable palm oil in line with our target for reaching 100% by 2019. We also stopped buying Green Palm certificates. Beginning 2015, all HUL palm derivatives are 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 had updated our policy globally to expand our existing principles to include smallholder farmers and women, commit to no exploitation of people or communities and transparency.

Sustainable paper & board

We have sustained our volumes of sustainably sourced paper and board for packing our products at 99% in 2017. This paper & board has come from mills that are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. We continue our endeavours to move to lower grammage paper and reduce overall consumption of paper and board.

Sustainable tea

A total of 423 tea estates in India are Trustea1 verified and a total of 285 tea estates in India are Rainforest Alliance certified.

In 2017, over 52% of tea was sourced from sustainable sources in India. Over five lakh (0.5 million) plantation workers (56% of them are women workers) and 40,000 smallholders are verified under Trustea code.

Sustainable fruits & vegetables

In 2017, 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 2017, 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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