Beyond our direct emissions, our wider value chain shows greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of the value chain - including the sourcing, distribution, consumption and disposal of our products.
We are working with others to reduce our carbon footprint all along this chain.
Supply chain collaboration
We are founding members of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Supply Chain Leadership Collaboration. CDP aims to increase companies’ disclosure of their greenhouse gas (GHG) management plans and impacts and to encourage them to put reduction plans in place. CDP’s supplier programme has global reach and involves the collaboration of businesses within the supply chain.
We are promoting the involvement of suppliers of both agricultural and non-agricultural based raw materials in the CDP as it represents a global standard approach for disclosure of GHG management plans and performance. We believe that involvement in the CDP is of intrinsic value to our suppliers and we encourage their participation.
Findings from the first-ever global collaboration on climate change between major companies and their suppliers demonstrated the need for increased supplier awareness of the regulatory, physical and general risks that climate change poses to their business. These findings were published in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Supply Chain Report 2009 entitled ‘Shared value: Managing climate change in the supply chain’. See External links for more.
Other reporting platforms exist and may be preferred by suppliers. Regardless of which platform is used, we expect the GHG agenda to become part of ‘business as usual’ with our suppliers, with the express intent that they undertake emission-reduction programmes and set ambitious targets to achieve them.
Working with farmers
In 2010 we released the Cool Farm Tool, a calculator to help farmers reduce their carbon emissions on farms. The calculator is designed to be simple and practical to use, allowing farmers to make changes that will have an impact on reducing emissions. The Tool allows farmers to prioritise options by running different scenarios to see how much of an impact they make and also allows them to take account of management, livestock, field energy use and primary processing, such as in factory and in storage.
Developed by the Sustainable Food Laboratory, University of Aberdeen and Unilever, farmers’ assessment results are recorded in a central database at Aberdeen and then analysed. Unilever will be requiring all its suppliers using our Sustainable Agriculture Code or carrying out self-verification to either use the Cool Farm Tool themselves or provide the necessary data so that carbon footprints can be calculated.
The Cool Farm Tool calculator is free and open source. See Sustainable sourcing tools.
Unilever participates in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative, a partnership between the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, to develop standards on the measurement and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions. We have provided input in the development of the Product and Scope 3 Accounting Standard.
Tropical Forest alliance 2020
Unilever has led the process of building the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, a public-private partnership between the US government and the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF). The CGF is a large industry body made up of almost all the major retail and consumer goods companies in the world, with revenues amounting to more than $3 trillion. The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 was announced at the Rio+20 summit in 2012. It aims to reduce and eventually eliminate the deforestation associated with the sourcing of commodity crops such as soy, palm oil, beef, pulp and paper. The Dutch and Norwegian governments have signed up and companies, NGOs and other governments will be invited to join. The Indonesian government is co-hosting a workshop on the palm and paper value chains in 2013.
We have also participated in the Greenhouse Gas Working Group of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. For further details, see Sustainable palm oil.