UK - Towards the end of last year, Unilever announced that its sustainability initiative will reach deeper into its supply chain. The company and its 200 supply partners has committed to using its influence to improve the lives of a million people while delivering environmental and commercial benefits. Unilever’s existing partnership with the Dutch NGO Solidaridad is being expanded from work in India, Mexico and Colombia to its supply chain in Arica, Latin America and Asia.
The work will focus on promoting gender equality, improving agricultural and labor practices, encouraging the adoption of environmental best practices, and encouraging young entrepreneurs to work in agriculture. Tea is one of seven commodities in the program – the others are cocoa, sugar, palm oil, fruit and vegetables, soy and dairy. Unilever says that action must be taken now to ensure sustainable food supplies for an increasing future population.
The partnerships with Solidaridad require all suppliers “to demonstrate how they are moving towards environmental and social best practices” and ensure that “business is conducted in a manner which embraces sustainability and reduces environmental impact”. The partnership plans to raise money through public and private grants, credit and investments to facilitate a program of initiatives to help smallholder farmers.