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  5. Certification vs. Self Verification

Certification vs. Self Verification

For Unilever there are two main routes to ensure raw materials count as ‘sustainably sourced’, either by working towards one of the Unilever recognised certification standards or through self-assessment using the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code.

Certifications recognised by Unilever include: Rainforest Alliance(Sustainable Agriculture Network standard), Fairtrade, Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO),Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), any organic standard recognised by IFOAM and PEFC for paper & board.

If your raw materials are covered by any other certification scheme or sustainability standard, this may mean they already count as ‘sustainably sourced’ - to do so the standard needs to be benchmarked against the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code. You should contact your Unilever representative to find out how to do this. Several schemes and standards have already been benchmarked by our team of experts.

Where there is no appropriate certification scheme in place we ask you to work towards the standards set out in our Code. The Code is publically available and independently endorsed. It has a constructive and inclusive approach of working with you to help us deliver on our target to halve our environmental impact and source 100% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020.

The Code embodies our principles, applies to all our agricultural raw materials and producing regions and is a key tool in helping us achieve our sustainable sourcing ambitions. A self-assessment, off-the-shelf software tool for our Code called Quickfire is now commercially available.

Greenlight Assessments

The Greenlight Assessments software tool from Muddy Boots helps you to check compliance levels with the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code, and to collect data to demonstrate sustainable farming practices. It is available in 11 languages and is delivered as a hosted service with multi-user access through controlled permissions. It enables you to generate assessments to send to anyone in any location, so that large volumes of data can be collected both on and offline. 

You can also use it to collaborate and share the task of collecting self-verification data. The Greenlight Assessments iPad App makes data collection truly portable and means that you no longer need to take your computer with you when completing assessments offline.

The latest version of Greenlight Assessments:

  • Includes all the requirements from the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code with links to full implementation guidance.
  • Collects metrics data using different units of measure and calculates results to show improvements.
  • Produces reports for Unilever, suppliers and farmers to track progress.
  • Demonstrates overall grower performance via the Performance Analysis Dashboard with charts comparing performance to the supply base average.
  • Works out whether raw materials qualify as being sustainable.
  • Allows users to 'filter out' questions that are not relevant to them, or are covered by other standards or certification schemes, making the assessment quicker to complete.

What are the key benefits?

  • Ensures action plans are in place where performance needs improving.
  • Overdue corrective actions are flagged, making it easy to identify and chase completion.
  • Enables comparison and benchmarking of suppliers and farmers.
  • Increases data quality through pre-submission validation checks.
  • Improves visibility and tracking of supply chain.

To find out more please contact your Unilever representative.

Sustainable Agriculture Code: Implementation guides

Visit the Sustainable Agriculture Code Implementation Guides website.

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