The rankings come in large part due to its deliberate strategy to make its supply chains a central focus, according to commentators, through its Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, by which it’s aiming to reduce its environmental impact by half by 2020, while also doubling revenue.
“The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is our blueprint for achieving our vision to grow our business, whilst decoupling our environmental footprint from our growth and increasing our positive social impact,” the company has said.
Top tips for European players
Research vice president at Gartner, Stan Aronow, has given his tips for companies looking to improve their own supply chain management, according to the Hans India.
"More than ever, leading organisations in Europe will need to optimise their supply chain functions and embrace bi-modal capabilities in order to drive growth and remain competitive in new markets,” he said.
"They will also need to deliver strategies that add real value to consumers, be mindful of new competitors capitalizing on this period of uncertainty, and incorporate corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals into their supply chain strategy and operations."
The Gartner rankings, which list companies globally as well as in Europe, and this year included CSR activity among its criteria.
L’Oréal, global beauty giant, has come in at number six in the European league table, and BASF, a leading chemicals manufacturer, is listed at number seven.
H&M, the fashion retailer which recently launched its makeup range around the globe, came in second in the European rankings.