Unilever Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) has announced its commitment to sourcing 100 percent traceable and certified sustainable palm oil.
From the first quarter of 2015, Unilever’s local food factories will begin using traceable and certified (RSPO segregated) palm oil, with the transition expected to be complete by the end of 2015. The announcement comes three years after Unilever ANZ confirmed all of its local palm oil use was covered through Green Palm certificates.
Clive Stiff, chairman and CEO of Unilever ANZ, said “The move to RSPO segregated palm oil for our locally produced foods products is an important step on our journey towards achieving full traceability and sustainability across our supply chain. While we know there is still more to do, I’m delighted we have made significant progress on our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan targets and remain at the forefront of businesses working to ensure the long term sustainability of the palm oil industry.”
Launched in 2010, the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan commits the company to reducing its environmental impact and sourcing 100 percent of agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020.
According to a statement issued by the company, Unilever is working with industry leaders and NGOs to find a solution to halt deforestation, protect peat land and drive positive economic and social impact for local communities. It’s also published its Sustainable Palm Oil Progress Report, highlighting significant steps forward in the global traceability of palm oil from known sources.
In Australasia, Unilever’s food brands include Flora, Lipton, Bushells, Continental and Streets.
Earlier this year, a number of global food and beverage manufacturers made similar commitments. US giants ConAgra, J.M. Smucker Co., Kellogg, General Mills, Mondelez, Panera and Safeway, which represent some of the top purchasers of the $44 billion palm oil industry, all committed to sourcing 100 percent fully traceable, responsibly produced palm oil.
Palm oil is a leading driver of global deforestation, which causes nearly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.