Unilever is clearly establishing itself as a leader in sustainable palm oil sourcing, a commitment that it made last year in response to a high-pitch campaign by Greenpeace.
Unilever says the company is on track to meet its target of 100% palm oil from sustainable sources by 2015. The company will have 35% of its palm oil coming from certified sustainable sources by the end of this year.
The company has recently signed an agreement with commodities trader Cargill to supply 10,000 tonnes of RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil for its European operations. About the same time, Unilever also signed a long term supply agreement with IOI-Loders Croklaan to source fully segregated RSPO-certified palm oil.
Cargill, a major player in the global palm oil trade, has announced a goal of 60% of its total crude palm oil from RSPO-certified producers by the end of 2010. The company eventually wants to buy 100% of its palm oil from RSPO-certified producers.
A partnership between the two giants- Unilever and Cargill- is a positive sign. Will other food majors follow suit?