Unilever uses palm oil in cosmetics and personal care products, as well as a range of food items. Due to concerns over the environmental effects of the crop, the company has been active in driving the development of sustainable palm oil and is a founding member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
"We are committed to sourcing 100 per cent of our palm oil sustainably by 2015 and this agreement will play a crucial role in helping us to achieve our goal,” said Unilever’s chief procurement officer, Marc Engel, adding that the agreement with IOI Group will help the company meet these targets.
In a multiyear agreement signed this week, Unilever will source fully segregated sustainable palm oil from IOI. The oil has not only been certified sustainable by the RSPO, but is also totally traceable back to the plantation and has been kept separate from other palm oil.
New refinery allows company to supply segregated oil
The traceability, and the ability to keep the sustainable oil separate from the rest of the non certified palm oil, has been challenging. However, earlier this year IOI-Loders Croklaan opened a new refinery on the Rotterdam Massvlakte which enables the company to keep the sustainable oil separate.
IOI-Loders Croklaan claims the refinery is environmentally friendly and has the storage capacity, infrastructure and certification to keep the sustainable oil separate.
While manufacturers using the segregated sustainable can inform consumers that the product contains 100 per cent RSPO certified sustainable palm oil, Unilever said it does not yet know where the oil will end up.
A spokesperson for the company told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com that it would be used in products across the supply chain, but could not confirm exactly which products, or whether it would be kept separate from other palm oil.
The company said that currently, 35 per cent of the palm oil it uses is from sustainable sources, with the aim of reaching 100 per cent by 2015.