Unilever's Europe-wide palm oil covered sustainably


Gavin Neath discusses sustainable palm oil

Unilever today announced that it has secured enough GreenPalm certificates of sustainable palm oil to cover the requirements of its European business; as well as those of its business in Australia and New Zealand.

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This is part of Unilever’s overall commitment to buy all its palm oil from certified sustainable sources by 2015.

GreenPalm is a certificate trading programme, endorsed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which is designed to tackle the environmental and social problems created by the production of palm oil. By selling certificates through the GreenPalm programme, palm oil producers can earn more for their crop through sustainable farming.

Gavin Neath, Unilever’s SVP Global Communications and Sustainability, said: “This is an important achievement and a significant step in our journey towards sustainable palm oil sourcing. Until suitable segregated supply chains become available, GreenPalm certificates are the best option to encourage growers to comply with the requirements of the RSPO and certify their plantations as sustainable. Our consumers can now confidently choose Unilever brands in the knowledge that we are actively supporting the development of a sustainable palm oil industry.”

Although there are now significant quantities of certified sustainable palm oil available on the market, there isn’t yet sufficient volume coming through segregated supply chains where buyers can have confidence that the refined oil which they are buying comes from a plantation, mill and refinery which have been certified sustainable.

Last year Unilever purchased 180,000 GreenPalm certificates at a premium to the market price for ordinary palm oil. This accounted for over 80% of all the certificates traded globally in 2009. We will double this volume in 2010.

"We hope that our actions will transform the palm oil industry and help put a stop to deforestation in South East Asia," concluded Neath.


Notes to editor

  • Unilever has committed to a volume and price with its suppliers, and will be redeeming the certificates through Green Palm throughout the year. Progress can be tracked through the GreenPalm website over the coming months.

  • For more information about the Green Palm certificates scheme, please visit www.greenpalm.org

  • Unilever is one of the founders of the global Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) – an industry-led initiative set up in co-operation with the conservation organisation WWF in 2004. The Roundtable works with plantation owners, manufacturers, retailers, banks and other NGO partners including Oxfam and Sawit Watch to devise standards for sustainable palm oil production. Unilever's Sustainable Agriculture Director, Jan Kees Vis, is president of the RSPO's executive board.

  • For more information about Unilever’s commitment to sustainable palm oil, please visit the palm oil section of our Sustainability Report

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