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Europe: Unilever releases wood fiber sourcing policy

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Unilever releases a new supplier policy as part of the action to halt deforestation where more packaging – including wooden ice cream sticks – will be sourced sustainably by the end of the year.

The company’s target is to ensure that all materials used that contain fiber obtained from wood are traceable from certified and known sources by 2020.

In 2014, the volume of sustainably sourced paper and board used increased to 87%, up significantly from 62% the previous year.

Unilever is therefore now bringing forward its commitment to source all paper and board packaging sustainably by the end of 2015.

The new Wood Fibre Sourcing Policy will contribute to Unilever’s work to eliminate deforestation from supply chains.

It will also help to embed the Unilever Responsible Sourcing Policy, which supports the company’s commitment to increase its positive social impact throughout the entire supply chain by improving the lives of workers and their communities.

The move is expected to resonate with consumers.

Unilever research across 11 countries has found that three quarters of consumers would be more likely to purchase a product if they knew it was made from sustainably sourced ingredients.

According to Nielsen, millennials are four times as responsive to sustainability credentials as the over 50s. Globally, consumer spending on responsible consumption products is US$400 billion.

“The business case for doing this is clear. It helps us secure a sustainable supply of commodities into the future, and it is good news for forests and the people that live and depend on them,” says Pier Luigi Sigismondi, chief supply chain officer.

“Action on forests can tackle emissions – at least 4.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year – while at the same time increasing food production sustainably and improving livelihoods.”