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Unilever to Get Suppliers Mooving on Sustainability Goals

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You might already know (or at least not be surprised) that Ben & Jerry’s works with dairy farmers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Now, Unilever, the ice cream brand’s parent company, is rolling out initiatives to make all of its brands’ supply chains more sustainable.

“Our collective responsibility in tackling the climate crisis is to drive an absolute reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, not simply focus on offsetting — and we have the scale and determination to make it happen,” said Marc Engel, Unilever chief supply chain officer. “But this is not enough. If we want to have a healthy planet long into the future, we must also look after nature: forests, soil biodiversity and water ecosystems.”

Unilever this week said that it was committing to reach net zero emissions from all products by 2039 – “from the sourcing of the materials we use, up to the point of sale of our products.” The company noted that “reaching this aggressive decarbonization target will also require a level of transparency across the value chain that does not exist today. In our journey towards net zero, our ambition is to communicate the carbon footprint of every product we sell.”

The food giant also will introduce a new Regenerative Agriculture Code for all suppliers. “This will include details on farming practices that help rebuild critical resources: soil, water and biodiversity,” Unilever said. “As we did previously with our Sustainable Agriculture Code, we will make this code available to any organization that may find it useful — with the goal of driving change throughout the industry.”

Other steps will include implementing water stewardship programs in 100 water-stressed locations by 2030 and investing $1.2 billion in a new Climate & Nature Fund, which will be used over the next 10 years to take meaningful and decisive action.

“In most parts of the world, the economic and social inclusion of farmers and smallholders in sustainable agricultural production is the single most important driver of change for halting deforestation, restoring forests and helping regenerate nature,” Engel said. “In the end, they are the stewards of the land. We must, therefore, empower and work with a new generation of farmers and smallholders in order to make a step change in regenerating nature.”

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