July 2013: New processing plant enables traceability of sustainable palm oil

Unilever is investing in a palm kernel fractionation facility in Indonesia that will help drive the move towards fully traceable sustainable palm oil.

Accelerating the transformation of the industry

The plant in the Sei Mangkei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of North Sumatra, marks the latest step in Unilever’s plans to purchase palm oil sustainably from certified, traceable sources by 2020.

As one of the world’s largest buyers of palm oil for use in products such as margarine, ice cream, soap and shampoo, Unilever recognises the need to be able to trace where its palm oil is grown. Unilever also wants to ensure certified palm oil supplies are not mixing with non-certified supplies during milling, transport and use.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Chief Supply Chain Officer, said: “In 2010, we set ourselves the target of sourcing 100% of the palm oil we use sustainably by 2015. We reached this target three years early and then set ourselves a more stretching target – to purchase all palm oil sustainably from certified, traceable sources by 2020.”

“The investment in this new plant will be another step towards achieving our more stretching target. With its combination of scale and capability, the plant is unique within Unilever and will help drive the transformation of the industry in implementing sustainable business practices, in parallel with crucial efforts by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).” 

Southeast Asia investment

Operated by PT Unilever Oleochemical Indonesia, a subsidiary of Unilever NV, the plant is planned to start commercial production in 2014.

Maurits Lalisang, President Director of Unilever Indonesia, adds: “The investment in the plant is part of Unilever’s sustainable investment programme in Indonesia.”

Maurits continues: “This, in itself, is part of the broader effort to leverage our leading position in developing and emerging markets like Indonesia, as well as other countries in Southeast Asia. The plant will complement the additional capacity being built in the Home Care, Refreshments and Personal Care Categories that was begun 2011.”