Unilever moves towards palm oil supply chain transparency

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Unilever is revealing the suppliers and mills that it sources palm oil from in a move towards a more sustainable supply chain.

In a statement, the company said: “By sharing information about our suppliers and the mills that process the products we buy, we are making a real step change towards greater transparency in the industry. We strongly believe that being open and transparent is key to achieving a fully traceable supply chain – a goal we set ourselves back in 2013 when we first launched our Sustainable Palm Oil Sourcing Policy and which we have been pursuing ever since.”

Chief executive Paul Polman, speaking at a panel at this year’s World Economic Forum, said: “A lot of people think if you outsource your value chain you can outsource your responsibilities. I don’t think so.

“We need to be at the forefront of change. This is why Unilever is committed to greater transparency and continue to work with our partners to drive positive change in the palm oil industry.”

The palm oil supply chain is long and complex, with the palm oil changing hands many times before it reaches Unilever’s factories.

Unilever’s chief supply chain officer, Marc Engel, said: “We have been long committed to lead the drive towards transparency and the best way to demonstrate this is by opening up our own supply chain. Due to traditional commercial sensitivities and the complexity of the palm oil supply chain, it has required perseverance to get to where we are now.

“We are very proud to be the first consumer goods company to take this step. Unilever believes that complete transparency is needed for radical transformation. We want this step to be the start of a new industry-wide movement.”

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