Publishing its sustainable palm oil progress report on November 19, the global consumer products giant said palm oil for European operations would be fully traceable and certified sustainable by 2015.
The firm now had visibility of about 1,800 crude palm oil mills, representing about two-thirds of all mills in the global palm oil industry, it claimed. A total of 58% of palm oil could now by traced to known mills, it said.
‘A defining year’
“2014 has been a defining year for our goal to create a more transparent palm oil industry,” said Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Unilever chief supply chain officer. “Knowing where it comes from is a critical step in the journey. The challenge is enormous and not easy to achieve but we are determined and can now report good progress.
“This is about doing the right thing for our planet and our consumers because you cannot have a healthy business in an unhealthy world.
“We want to continue to meet our consumers’ every day needs in decades to come and this means sourcing in a fully sustainable way to future proof our supply chains. Halting deforestation is our end goal and this is what we work towards.”
Unilever, which was ranked number one in its sector in the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability Index, said it now sought to work with smallholder farms to reach the 100% sustainable palm oil goal.
It hoped that its initiative would contribute to a worldwide transformation, leading to the entire food industry using only 100% sustainable palm oil by 2020, it said.
It would work with industry leaders and non-governmental organisations to find a solution to halt deforestation, protect peat land, and drive positive economic and social impact for local communities, it said.