For the past ten years, we have been investing in sustainable agriculture to support our suppliers in adopting good practices. We have achieved tremendous progress but to really stop soil decline, preserve water resources, protect biodiversity, increase climate resilience and improve livelihoods, we know we need to do more.
This is why today we are announcing our Regenerative Agriculture Principles (PDF 8.34MB), a new approach to farming that works in harmony with nature to ensure the long-term viability and resilience of land.
As Dave Ingram, Unilever’s Chief Procurement Officer, says: “The ingredients for most Unilever products come from nature, so the future of our business is inextricably linked to the preservation and regeneration of natural environments. Initiatives like this do more than just benefit the planet. To be considered successful, they should also benefit and improve the livelihoods of our farmers, their families and surrounding communities, creating a cycle of prosperity on our journey to make sustainable living commonplace.”
Regenerative agriculture: taking things to a whole new level
In 2010, we introduced our Sustainable Agriculture Code, which has been the North Star for our sustainable sourcing programme and an important guide to sustainable farming for hundreds of thousands of suppliers, smallholders and farmers.
Building on that as a foundation, we are now adding a new layer of practices that aim to work with nature to regenerate it. Our Regenerative Agriculture Principles outlines the five priority areas we believe are in most urgent need of action and where we can achieve the biggest impact.
Putting the theory into action
To achieve the scale and pace of change we need to see, we will work with farmers, suppliers and partners on programmes across different geographies. We’ll prioritise our key crops – which include dairy, vegetables, grains, palm oil, soy, paper and board, coconut, cocoa and tea – because of their impact on land and their contribution to our greenhouse gas or human footprint. Here are just a few examples of programmes already underway.
From ‘do less harm’ to ‘do more good’
We will continue to advocate for and lead the transformation of global supply chains towards more sustainable and regenerative models. This requires businesses like ours to work with governments and civil society to achieve sustainable development and make sustainable living commonplace.
As Hanneke Faber, President of our Foods & Refreshment division, says: “It is not enough for us to do less harm. We’re now seeking out opportunities to do more good. With our scale and influence, we have a crucial role to play in leading the systemic change our planet is crying out for.”