In 2017, we reviewed the scope of our sustainable sourcing programme to ensure that we were able to drive maximum impact via our sourcing commitments. Our review extended through 2018, concluding with the recognition that the Unilever ambition to source sustainably and responsibly extends to all procured materials, not just those that are renewable. The approaches that we will deploy to achieve impact will vary based on the materials we procure.
- We will lead industry transformation in palm oil and tea.
- We will pay special attention to the livelihoods of smallholders as we recognise the leading role that they will play in transforming agriculture, especially where we lead in palm oil and tea.
- We will support external certification standards where they are available and shown to drive impact in the environment and the livelihoods of the farmers and smallholders in our supply chain.
- We will deploy our own sustainable agriculture standard where external certification is not available, where we are able to influence our suppliers to design programmes to promote sustainable practices and for those crops that are iconic to our brands.
- In mined materials, we remain committed to further embedding our Code for Responsible Extraction (CORE) policy.
- In plastics, we will continue to create transformational technology and recycling partnerships to enable a circular economy of plastics.
- Following our Procurement Framework (PDF | 49KB), the totality of our procured materials footprint will be covered by our Responsible Sourcing Policy, which we apply to all suppliers.
During 2019, we will define impact metrics against which we will track our commitments to smallholder livelihoods, industry transformation and sustainable sourcing (as newly defined to cover the entirety of our procured materials).
Against the original commitment we set in 2010 when we launched our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, we expect to reach around 70% sustainable sourcing (accounting for the divestment of our spreads business1) and to reach around 95% sustainably sourced for the 12 crops we have defined as key.
Our focus, energy and resources are aligned to create positive and transformational impacts on people, ecosystems and communities through our continued close collaboration with partners, suppliers, NGOs and government bodies. Building on the last ten years of learnings in driving sustainable sourcing for renewable raw materials, we believe that we should encompass the entirety of our procured footprint, all underpinned by our Responsible Sourcing Policy (RSP). This will be a fully integrated framework.
Our updated sustainable sourcing strategy turns on several key pivots:
- an unwavering commitment to deeper transparency and traceability on climate and social impact issues
- a focus on living conditions and economic viability for the smallholders in our supply chain
- on plastics and packaging waste, a radical shift from a linear, take-make-dispose model towards a more circular economy model.
Within each of these key pivots, we will fully leverage digital and technological solutions to first better understand the realities on the ground, which will then help to inform our development and implementation of programmes with impact where they are most needed.
Against these pivots, we made substantial progress in 2018 on several fronts.