Unilever’s next step in sustainable sourcing of raw materials

Unilever buys first available certificates for Sustainable Soy Oil

London and Rotterdam – Unilever today announced a small but important step towards 100% sustainable sourcing of its agricultural raw materials by 2020. Unilever, a founding member of the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS), bought some of the first available certificates for sustainable soy. This follows the recent introduction of the RTRS certification scheme.

Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Chief Supply Chain Officer Unilever said: “Certification is an essential first step towards sustainably grown soy and sourcing sustainably grown soy will help Unilever meet the environmental commitments in its Sustainable Living Plan. That’s why this first batch is so significant, both for the RTRS and Unilever.

“We can’t change agricultural practices across the world overnight, but by working closely with others – suppliers, farmers, NGOs, and other businesses – we can begin to precipitate change”. Unilever Brazil bought certificates that cover 5,000 tonnes of sustainable soy oil – mainly for use in North and South America and specifically in dressings and margarine products. Unilever aims to stimulate farmers to move their agricultural practices towards the RTRS criteria. At the moment only one company has received certification. Global production in soy oil is around 40 million tonnes and Unilever buys around 1%.

Sustainable sourcing is an important part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. With this unique plan Unilever has set three goals to achieve by 2020 – halve the environmental footprint of its products, help more than one billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, and source 100 percent of its agricultural raw materials sustainably. Today’s milestone supports the commitment to sustainably source all our soy beans by 2014 and all soy oils by 2020.

For an overview of the sustainable sourcing commitments in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, please visit http://www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/

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The Round Table on Responsible Soy

Established in 2006 in Switzerland, the RTRS is a multi-stakeholder initiative which aims to facilitate a global dialogue on soy production that is economically viable, socially equitable and environmentally sound. The RTRS’ more than 150 members include soybean growers, crushers, traders, food and feed manufacturers and civil society organisations. They work together to market certified soybeans that have been responsibly produced, and to maximise the amount of soybeans that can be RTRS certified. 

The Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) has developed a set of principles and criteria which define the responsible production of soy. They ensure that the fundamental rights of previous land owners, local communities, workers, small farmers and their families are respected and fully taken into account, and that no new land of native habitat or high conservation value areas (forests) have been cleared for soy cultivation since May 2009. The RTRS principles and criteria also state that soybean farmers must adopt best management practices in order to minimise their environmental footprint.

General information on the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) can be found on the RTRS website


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