Sustainable Sourcing

48% of our agricultural raw materials were sustainably sourced by the end of 2013

Our commitment

By 2020 we will source 100% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably: 10% by 2010; 30% by 2012; 50% by 2015; 100% by 2020.

Our performance

48% of our agricultural raw materials were sustainably sourced by the end of 2013, showing continued strong progress towards our interim milestone of 50% by 2015.

  • achieved: 2
  • on-plan: 12
  • off-plan: 2
  • %of target achieved: 1

Our perspective

We buy around 12% of the world’s black tea, 3% of tomatoes for processing, and 3% of the palm oil produced. Half of our raw materials come from farms and forests. The decisions that we make on who we source from, and how we work with them, can have profound implications on global resources and climate change. They also have a wider social impact, affecting the livelihoods of our farmers and their families, women and young people.

By sourcing sustainably, we can protect scarce resources. We can ensure deforestation, land use and social and community issues are managed responsibly. We can also ensure security of supply for our business and reduce costs. There is clearly a business case for doing this.

Our progress on sourcing has been strong. We are first concentrating on our top ten agricultural raw materials. These account for around two thirds of our volumes. They include palm oil, paper and board, soy, sugar, tea, fruit and vegetables, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, dairy ingredients and cocoa. We are on track against our 2020 goal for all with the exception of fruit and soy beans. Continuing to transform the market, and moving more of our suppliers to sustainable agriculture practices in 2014, will enable us to purchase more of these ingredients sustainably.

All of our palm oil now comes from or supports sustainable production. We are now looking to source palm oil from certified, traceable sources and are making good progress. By sharing information about where products come from, we are also meeting emerging consumer needs. Lipton tea and Magnum ice cream’s Rainforest Alliance certification and the new Knorr Sustainability Partnership on-pack logo are leading the way.

In addition to our own sustainable sourcing programmes already underway, in 2013 we made progress in driving wider transformational change across working towards eliminating deforestation and in wider agricultural systems such as tea. Working closely with others will be essential in achieving broader change.

Sustainable palm oil

  • We will purchase all palm oil from certified sustainable sources by 2015.
  • We will purchase all palm oil sustainably from certified, traceable sources by 2020.
  • 100% of palm oil from sustainable sources by end 2012: 97%‡via GreenPalm certificates; and 3%‡ from certified, traceable sources (through a segregated supply).
  • 4%† of palm oil purchased from certified, traceable sources (through a segregated supply) by end 2013; 96%† via GreenPalm certificates.

Sustainable paper and board

  • We will source 75% of the paper and board for our packaging from certified sustainably managed forests or from recycled material by 2015. We will reach 100% by 2020.
  • 62% of our paper and board came from certified sustainably managed forests or from recycled material by end 2013.

Sustainable soy

  • We will source sustainably all soy beans by 2014 and all soy oils by 2020.
  • 25% soy oil purchased from sustainable sources by end 2013.

  • 12% soy beans purchased from sustainable sources by end 2013.

Sustainable tea

  • By 2015 we aim to have the tea in all Lipton tea bags sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ estates. By 2020, 100% of Unilever’s tea, including loose tea, will be sustainably sourced.
  • 83%† of our Lipton tea bag blends contained a proportion of Rainforest Alliance Certified™ tea by end 2013.
  • Overall, 53%† of the tea purchased for all our brands was sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms.

Sustainable fruit and vegetables

  • We will purchase 100% of our fruit from sustainable sources by 2015.
  • We will purchase 50% of our top 13 vegetables and herbs from sustainable sources by 2012 and 100% by 2015. This accounts for over 80% of our global vegetable and herb volume.
  • 25% of fruit purchased sustainably by end 2013.
  • 76% of our top 13 vegetables and herbs purchased from sustainable sources by end 2013.

Sustainable cocoa

  • We will source cocoa sustainably for our Magnum ice cream by 2015. All other cocoa will be sourced sustainably by 2020.
  • 70% of cocoa for Magnum sustainably sourced through Rainforest Alliance certification by end 2013. Overall, 47% of all cocoa sourced sustainably.

Sustainable sugar

  • We will source all sugar sustainably by 2020.
  • 49% of sugar sustainably sourced by end 2013.

Sustainable sunflower oil

  • We will source all sunflower oil sustainably by 2020.
  • 23% of sunflower oil sustainably sourced by end 2013.

Sustainable rapeseed oil

  • We will source all rapeseed oil sustainably by 2020.
  • 39% of rapeseed oil sustainably sourced by end 2013.

Sustainable dairy

  • We will source all dairy produce sustainably by 2020.
  • 31% of dairy produce sustainably sourced by end 2013.

Fairtrade Ben & Jerry’s

  • All flavours of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream will be Fairtrade certified by 2013.
  • 7777% of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavours achieved Fairtrade certification in 2013. ♢

Cage-free eggs

  • We aim to move to 100% cage-free eggs for all our products,* including Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Hellmann’s, Amora and Calvé mayonnaises

  • 40% of eggs were cage-free by end 2013.

Increasing sustainable sourcing of office materials

  • By 2013 we will source all paper-based office materials for our top 21 countries from either certified sustainable forests or recycled sources.
  • 100% of paper-based materials from certified sustainable forests or recycled sources by end 2013.

† Independently assured by PwC

‡ Independently assured by PwC in 2013

♢ Subject to independent assurance by Moss Adams in April 2014.

* Where allowed by local legislation.