New wood fibre sourcing policy to help eliminate deforestation

On 7 April, Unilever announced a new supplier policy on wood fibre that aims to accelerate our actions to eliminate deforestation. This means that more of our packaging will be sourced sustainably by the end of the year.

From labels to lolly sticks

Our target is to ensure that all the materials we use that contain wood fibre – from labels to wooden ice cream sticks – are from certified and sustainable sources by 2020. In 2014, 87% of the paper and board that we used in packaging came from certified sustainably managed forests or from recycled material, up from 62% the previous year. We aim to source all paper and board packaging from certified sustainably managed forests or from recycled material by the end of 2020.

The new Wood Fibre Sourcing Policy (PDF | 220KB) will contribute to our work to eliminate deforestation from supply chains. It will also help to embed the Unilever Responsible Sourcing Policy (PDF | 5MB), which supports our commitment to increase our positive social impact throughout the entire supply chain by improving the lives of workers and their communities.

A clear business case for action

To meet our ambitious zero deforestation policies and support the move to prosperous and sustainable land use in developing countries, we need to work with all organisations in the value chain. These include suppliers, NGOs and governments.

Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Unilever’s Chief Supply Chain Officer, says: “The business case for doing this is clear. It helps us secure a sustainable supply of commodities into the future, and it is good news for forests and the people that live and depend on them. Action on forests can tackle emissions – at least 4.5 billion tonnes of CO2 a year – while at the same time increasing food production sustainably and improving livelihoods.”

Restoring 350 million hectares of degraded forest

The last year has seen renewed momentum on climate and forest issues, in particular due to a number of deforestation-free supply-chain commitments from major players in the palm oil industry, supported and encouraged by producers, traders and consumer goods companies.

This culminated in the New York Declaration on Forests, launched at the UN Climate Summit in September 2014. Its pledge to halve deforestation by 2020, end it by 2030 and restore 350 million hectares of degraded forest (an area roughly the size of India) was endorsed by over 175 entities – countries, states, provinces, companies, indigenous leaders and NGOs. This important subject has been given global attention and momentum in the run-up to the crucial climate negotiations in Paris later this year.

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