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4 September 2014 | Gurjit Degun
Unilever has committed to improving one million livelihoods in its extended supply chain, as it partners with non-governmental organisation (NGO) Solidaridad.
The consumer goods and food manufacturer will focus on promoting gender equity, improving agricultural and labour practices, supporting young agricultural entrepreneurs and land management. The partnership will be targeted at sustainably sourcing key agricultural raw materials, such as tea, cocoa, sugar, palm oil, fruit, vegetables, soy, and dairy, in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
Unilever and Solidaridad, which helps to create "socially responsible, ecologically sound, and profitable supply chains", said they will share the responsibility of raising money through public and private grants, credit and investments to finance the smallholder farmer initiatives.
Nico Roozen, executive director at Solidaridad Network, said: “Together with Unilever we will engage suppliers and support them to address current and future business challenges. Suppliers need access to resources and to markets. We need to change market conditions to shift sustainable production from niche to norm. Unilever and Solidaridad aim to leverage their resources with those of others to have large-scale, measurable impact.”
Unilever CPO Dhaval Buch added: “We are branching into new areas, which is why it is so important to have the experience and knowledge of an NGO like Solidaridad. This programme will also analyse and address gender issues in each project as well as providing access to training on agriculture, finance, health and hygiene and nutrition. These are all contributors to our company wide commitment to enhance livelihoods across our value chain.”