Unilever and Solidaridad to further improve conditions for sugar cane workers in Central America
Unilever has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with international NGO, Solidaridad to further drive sustainable development in the sugarcane industry in Central America. This initiative supports the company’s commitment in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan to source 100% of its agricultural raw materials sustainably.
The project is being led from Central America, with an initial focus on Mexico. The aims are to improve productivity of 3,600 farm and mill labourers in compliance with International Labour Organisation decent labour standards, improve triple bottom line farm performance for 1,900 farmers through farmer support (8,000 hectares under good agricultural management), achieve one mill and 5,000 hectares in compliance with Bonsucro Production Standard and to create cross-industry learnings around sustainability and certification. Organisations involved are: Solidaridad, Bonsucro, International Labour Organization and other consumer goods organisations. The initiative starts this summer and has a deadline in October 2015.
Marc Engel, Chief Procurement Officer, said: “This is an important collaboration for us on our journey towards sourcing 100% of sugar sustainably by 2020. We are committed to working with partners and fully support the work that bodies such as Solidaridad and Bonsucro are doing.”
Sven Sielhorst, International Programme Director for Sugar Cane, Solidaridad, said: “We look forward to our partnership with Unilever. Company engagement like this is crucial for the drive towards a thriving sugar cane sector, with positive impacts on society and the environment.”
Unilever has been a member of Bonsucro since January 2011. However, it is a small player in terms of global supply, with only 0.26% of market share. Unilever purchased the first 3262 tonnes of Bonsucro credits when the credit platform went live in December 2012.
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Beauty & Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries. Our products are present in 7 out of 10 homes globally and are used by over 2 billion people on a daily basis. We work with 173,000 colleagues around the world and generated annual sales of over €50 billion in 2012.
Over half of our company’s footprint is in the faster growing developing and emerging markets (55% in 2012). Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known brands such as Knorr, Persil / Omo, Dove, Sunsilk, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Rexona / Sure, Wall’s, Lux, Rama, Ponds and Axe, 14 of which now generate a turnover of €1 billion or more.
Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling our growth from our environmental impact. Supporting our three big goals, we have defined seven pillars, underpinned by targets encompassing social, environmental and economic areas. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/.
Unilever has been recognised in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 14 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 2012 Unilever led the Climate Counts Company Scorecard for the second year running and the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan /Sustainability latest annual survey - for the third year running. The company is an employer of choice in many of the countries in which it operates and is seen as a symbol for innovation and leadership development.
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Solidaridad is an international organization dedicated to responsible food production to feed the growing world population and to providing the world with an alternative to fossil fuels like oil and gas.
Solidaridad is convinced that the agricultural sector can produce more efficiently so that it will be able to feed to world population in 2050, as well as supply energy and plastic to the industry. That is why Solidaridad is investing in enterprising farmers in developing countries and putting emphasis on the improvement of their land use, so that production can increase while at the same time harm to people and the environment is decreased.
Mining and industry need to switch to a responsible means of production. Worker rights are respected and the environment is preserved for future generations, keeping intact its potential.
Solidaridad focuses on the production chains that matter worldwide and where changes have great impact: coffee, tea, cacao, fruit, textiles, cotton, soy, palm oil, sugar cane, gold and cattle breeding.
Corporate social responsibility, fair trade, producer support, sustainable agriculture, marketing and communication of sustainability, sustainable supply chains.
The Bonsucro Standard defines a set of globally applicable principles, criteria and indicators for sugar cane production. It aims to reduce the impact of sugar cane production on the environment in measurable ways, while also contributing to social and economic benefits for sugar cane farmers and all concerned with the sugar supply chain.
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