Unilever grows its sustainable palm oil supply chain

Unilever and PT. Perkebunan Nusantara III (Persero) extend palm oil agreement (Picture: Willem Uijen / LinkedIn)
Unilever has signed an expansion to its agreements in Indonesia to grow the transparency of its palm oil supply chain

Chief Procurement Officer Willem Uijen has shared details of the Partnership Growth Charter it has agreed with the Indonesian government-owned palm oil plantation company, PT. Perkebunan Nusantara III (Persero).

Making sustainable palm oil mainstream 

It is an expansion of a previously agreed collaboration, that allows further improvements to vital transparency in the supply chain of palm oil from the country, with the overall goal of making sustainable palm oil ‘mainstream’.  

“This partnership builds on our joint ambition to further grow the traceability and transparency of our supply chain, and advance our shared commitment on Regenerative Agriculture, Decarbonisation, and Living Wage,” said WIllem Uijen. 

“Together, we will drive value, resilience, and innovation, beginning with 10 projects in the pipeline that will ultimately unlock mutual business growth sustainably at scale. I look forward to expanding our partnership and exploring the ways that we can scale and accelerate our positive impacts for both people and planet.”

Chief Procurement Officer Willem Uijen (Credit: LinkedIn)

Supporting local mills

The pair initially signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2018 to work together in Indonesia to support local mills and smallholder farmers to produce palm oil according to the standards of no deforestation, no development on peat and no exploitation of people and communities. This produce-protect partnership was designed to help farmers and increase their yields and improve their livelihoods.

As part of the partnership, PTPN  provided Unilever access to its mills and its supplying farmer base. Unilever will support the mills and farmers to obtain sustainability certification through a combination of dedicated resources, funding and technical expertise. This will ensure smallholder farmers are better positioned to enter the palm oil supply chain – they will be able to increase their productivity while producing palm oil to the right standards to protect people and planet.

The value of palm oil

Palm oil is a highly versatile crop and has many uses, so is used in many products from food and beauty to household cleaning. It’s the most land-efficient oil crop, with a much greater yield per hectare than other oils like sunflower, rapeseed or soy. For these reasons, palm oil is now the most commonly produced vegetable oil in the world.

The palm oil industry brings money, trade and jobs to producing economies and employs millions of smallholder farmers. In Indonesia and Malaysia, 4.5 million people rely on the palm oil industry for their livelihood.

Read more about Unilever’s palm oil policy ​​​​​​​

Palm oil plant

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