Unilever and Solidaridad Partner to Improve the Lives of 1 Million People in Unilever’s Extended Supply Chains

Sep 2, 2014 9:00 AM ET

London, Rotterdam & Utrecht , 2 September, 2014 /3BL Media/ – Today Unilever and Solidaridad announced a new strategic partnership to improve the lives of 1 million people in Unilever’s extended supply chains. This agreement was signed at Unilever’s annual ‘Partner to Win Supplier Summit’ in London.

The partnership will be focused on promoting gender equity, improving agricultural and labour practices as well as supporting young agricultural entrepreneurs and land management. It will be targeted at sustainably sourcing key agricultural raw materials (tea, cocoa, sugar, palm oil, fruit and vegetables, soy and dairy) in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

This builds on Unilever’s and Solidaridad’s long track record in creating sustainable supply chains that already engage more than 150,000 smallholder farmers and workers in India, Mexico and Colombia.   

As part of this new partnership agreement, both parties will share the responsibility to raise a mix of public and private grants, credit and investments to finance the smallholder farmer initiatives. Furthermore they share the cost of three full time employees to deliver the joint programme.

Nico Roozen, Executive Director Solidaridad Network said: “We welcome this partnership on sustainable supply chains. Together with Unilever we will engage suppliers and support them to address current and future business challenges. Suppliers need access to resources and to markets. We need to change market conditions to shift sustainable production from niche to norm. Unilever and Solidaridad aim to leverage their resources with those of others to have large scale measurable impact.”

Dhaval Buch, Chief Procurement Officer said: “This partnership helps drive real change across our value chain. We are branching into new areas, which is why it is so important to have the experience and knowledge of an NGO like Solidaridad. This programme will also analyse and address gender issues in each project as well as providing access to training on agriculture, finance, health and hygiene and nutrition. These are all contributors to our company wide commitment to enhance livelihoods across our value chain.”

The partnership is also an example of how Unilever’s Responsible Sourcing Policy will be brought to life. The policy, published earlier this year, stems directly from Unilever’s ambition to increase its positive social impact. The Policy breaks new ground by defining a ‘continuous improvement ladder’ to help suppliers move from a base level of “do no harm” to “good practice” and ultimately up to “best practice”. It also now has new areas of coverage such as women’s rights, land rights and enhanced grievance mechanisms.


Unilever Media contacts:  
Marc Potma +31 (0) 6 1137 5464 or mediarelations.rotterdam@unilever.com

Solidaridad Press contact:
Bram Verkerke +31 (0) 6296 01233 or bram.verkerke@solidaridad.nl


Twitter chat

3BL Media will moderate a Twitter chat on this new strategic partnership today at 13.30 BST: #3BLchat 3bl.me/aerxqg Building #Sustainable #SupplyChains | Tues 9/2 13:30 BST/8:30 ET w/ @Unilever and @Solidaridadnetw

About Unilever
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries. We work with 174,000 colleagues around the world and generated annual sales of €49.8 billion in 2013. Over half of our company’s footprint is in the faster growing developing and emerging markets (57% in 2013). Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known brands, 14 of which - Knorr, Persil / Omo, Dove, Sunsilk, Hellmann’s, Surf, Lipton, Rexona / Sure, Wall’s ice cream, Lux, Flora / Becel, Rama / Blue Band, Magnum and Axe / Lynx - now generate a turnover of €1 billion or more.

Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling our growth from our environmental impact. Supporting our three big goals, we have defined nine commitments, underpinned by targets encompassing social, environmental and economic areas. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/.

Unilever has been recognised in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 14 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. Unilever has been named sector leader of the CDP’s Forests programme for three consecutive years, and in 2014 led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey - for the fourth year running. Unilever was named LinkedIn’s third most sought-after employer worldwide in 2013.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com.

About Solidaridad
Solidaridad envisions a world in which everything we produce and consume can sustain us all, while respecting the planet, each other and future generations.

We bring together supply chain actors and engage them in innovative solutions to improve production, ensuring the transition to a sustainable and inclusive economy that maximizes benefits for all.

Solidaridad is an international network organization with ten regional expertise centres that are dedicated to the responsible production of food, textiles, gold and alternatives to fossil fuels. www.solidaridadnetwork.org