Sustainable palm oil

Unsustainable cultivation of oil palm is contributing to deforestation and climate change.

Unilever is leading the way in promoting sustainable and traceable palm oil. We are committed to deliver this for all our products by the end of 2014. We can only end deforestation if all parties join forces. If we meet all of our own sourcing targets but no-one else follows us, we will have failed.

Watch the video above to learn about palm oil, how we use it and how we are sourcing it sustainably.

Our key milestones in sourcing palm oil sustainably include:

  • November 2010: Commitment to source 100% of our palm oil sustainably by 2020

  • April 2012: Announcement that we have reached the 2015 target three years ahead of schedule, primarily through the purchase of GreenPalm certificates

  • April 2012: Commitment to source all palm oil from traceable certified sources by 2020

  • July 2013: Investment in a fractionation facility in Sei Mangke Indonesia that will process traceable to known certified palm oil

  • November 2013: Announcement to accelerate market transformation towards sustainable palm oil, so that by the end of 2014, all of the palm oil Unilever buys globally will be traceable to known sources.

Unilever is one of the largest buyers of palm oil, using around 3% of the world's volume. We use it to make products such as shampoo, margarine and soap.

View the video (to the right) from 2012, when it was announced we would hit our target three years ahead of schedule.

Forest conservation standards

A major stumbling block remains the lack of consensus and agreement on a globally accepted, and scientifically robust, forest conservation standard.

A panel of internationally renowned, independent scientists is being assembled for this purpose. Other key stakeholders, including NGOs like Greenpeace and WWF, and industry bodies such as the RSPO, are also being invited to participate as observers. A proper governance structure is being put in place to safeguard the integrity of the process.

This is about validating, not weakening, current standards which drive change that is good for forests, orangutans and for local communities.

Whilst the review is being undertaken, we believe that commitments must be made by all participating companies to halt forest clearance of potentially high conservation areas. In the absence of an agreed forest conservation standard, these growers must demonstrate that they will meet the RSPO’s New Planting Procedure, make this transparent and adhere to the principle of not planting afresh on peat lands.