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12 July 2012 | Kamalpreet Badasha
Unilever has received its first consignment of sustainably verified rapeseed oil, used in margarines and mayonnaise.
The food manufacturer worked with supplier Cargill to verify the German oilseed rape production against Unilever's Sustainable Agricultural Code, which benchmarks sustainable practices that suppliers and farmers are expected to meet.
The first delivery comprised five per cent of Unilever’s rapeseed oil needs with the aim of increasing this to 100 per cent as part the company’s Sustainable Living Plan, which aims to source all agricultural raw materials from sustainable sources by 2020.
Unilever and Cargill also plan to agree annual improvement plans beyond those required by mandated European good agricultural practice with their farmers.
"We are combining our supply chain expertise and industry knowledge to provide customers with choices to meet their particular requirements. We are very pleased to partner with Unilever and see this as a big step forward towards sustainability in rapeseed oil and other oilseed crops," said Juergen Keil, supply chain director at Cargill Refined Oils Europe.
In 2011, Unilever increased the volume of sustainable sourced agricultural raw materials to 24 per cent from 10 per cent in 2010. “We are making good progress. However, to achieve our ambition, it is vital that we work in closer partnership with our strategic suppliers like Cargill," said David Pendlington, Unilever procurement operations manager - sustainable sourcing.