Long term supplier partnerships key to Unilever Sustainable growth strategy

London/ Rotterdam, 4 May 2012 - Unilever today signed its thirtieth strategic supplier partnership to support the company’s sustainable growth ambitions. The partnerships now cover more than €3billion of annual spend and support investment in growth, more sustainable practices and bigger and better innovations.

Last year, Unilever launched a specific programme, called ‘Partner to Win’, to work more closely with its key suppliers. ’Partner to Win’ has enabled the company to create more long-term partnerships in co-creating new capabilities. The latest partnership signing took place against the backdrop of the second annual ‘Partner to Win Supplier Summit’ in London. Unilever invited 160 strategic suppliers to meet senior managers from across the organisation, gain a deeper understanding of the company’s strategic priorities and to share latest innovations.

"Unilever has a bold ambition to double the size of its business whilst halving the environmental impact of its products. Our recent financial results and update on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan show we are making good progress in both areas. However to achieve our ambition, it is vital that we work in closer partnership with our strategic suppliers to ensure faster innovations and invest sustainably throughout our value chain. In 2011, our suppliers invested an estimated €1.3 billion in additional industrial capacity to support our growth”, says Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Chief Supply Chain Officer Unilever.

“It’s a similar story when it comes working closely together on innovation. Half of Unilever’s innovation pipeline now comes from our suppliers. From last year’s ‘Partner to Win Supplier Summit’ alone more than 250 innovation ideas were taken into joint development programmes. This demonstrates the strength and commitment of our partnerships and the progress we are making”, Pier Luigi Sigismondi added.

Joint Business Development Plans

Joint Business Development Plans (JBDP) are a key element of the ‘Partner to Win’ programme. Each JBDP sets out Unilever’s strategic business plans and provides a clear framework of how the two organisations will work together to deliver them over the long term. The plans cover all areas of procurement including packaging, chemicals, commodities and services.

‘Partner to Win’ Awards

To celebrate and recognise suppliers who have made a significant contribution in the categories of Innovation, Sustainability, Business Integration, World Class Enterprise Support and Capacity and Capability Development, Unilever hosted the ‘Partner to Win Awards’.

Pier Luigi Sigismondi commented: “This event presented us with a fantastic opportunity to recognise some outstanding examples of true excellence in our suppliers, who are leaders in their fields.”

The winners are:

  • Winning through Innovation

    • Barry Callebaut – partner in cocoa – support in this year’s launch of Magnum Infinity.

    • Givaudan – partner in fragrances – fragrance encapsulation in laundry.

    • The Dow Chemical Company – partner in plastics - innovative packaging solutions for the Personal Care portfolio.

  • Winning through Sustainability

    • Kenya Tea Development Agency – partner in tea - sustainable agriculture practices.

    • Metsä Board Corporation – partner in board - sustainable lightweight packaging.

    • Agraz – partner in tomatoes - embracing sustainability throughout their business.

  • Winning through Capacity and Capability Development

    • FM LOGISTIC – partner in logistics - implementation of our Distribution Centre in Europe.

    • McLeod Russel India Ltd – partner in tea - assisted Unilever with its ‘just-in-time’ deliveries.

    • BASF – partner in chemicals – capacity alignment in D&E markets.

  • Winning through Business Integration

    • ALPLA – partner in process management - integrated their operations with Unilever from development through to supply.

    • Kerry Ingredients – partner in ingredients - support to the newly established North American Supplier Collaboration council.

    • CCL Label - partner in R&D – simplify partner inventory management and increase speed to market.

  • Winning through World Class Enterprise Support

    • Accenture – partner in process management – enabled Unilever’s One Supply Chain model across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Russia.

    • Ernst and Young – partner in finance – support for making Unilever more agile and innovative in the area of financial controls and reporting.

    • SAP & Accenture – partner in financial process management - supporting Unilever to process millions of transactions annually, with each transaction taking just a few seconds each.

  • Special Contribution

      During the worst floods in Bangkok for 50 years the company demonstrated an unprecedented level of support and service to our business.

Note to the editors:

For further information about Unilever Partner to Win, visit: http://unilever.com/about/suppliers-centre/

About Unilever:

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with operations in over 100 countries and sales in 190. Consumers buy 170 billion Unilever packs around the world every year, and our products are used over two billion times a day. We have more than 171,000 employees, and generated annual sales of €46.5 billion in 2011.

Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most loved brands including thirteen €1 billion brands, and global leadership in most divisions in which we operate. The portfolio features iconic brands such as: Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Dove, Vaseline, Persil, Cif, Marmite and Pot Noodle.

Unilever has led the Food Producers sector in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 13 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. In 2011 Unilever led the Climate Counts Company Scorecard and was named #1 in the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders according to the latest survey findings from GlobeScan Inc. and SustainAbility Ltd.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com

Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

In November 2010 the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan was launched. Unilever publicly committed to a ten year journey towards sustainable growth, with around 60 specific targets embedding this new thinking into our business. What makes the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan different is that it applies right across the value chain. 

Unilever is taking responsibility not just for its own direct operations but for their suppliers, distributors and – crucially – for how consumers use brands like Dove, Knorr, Lipton, Lifebuoy and Pureit. The plan sets out that by 2020 Unilever will: help more than one billion people improve their health and well-being; halve the environmental footprint of the making and use of our products; source 100% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably.

For more information about Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, http://www.unilever.com/sustainable-living

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