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Unilever signs 1st sustainable coconut charter
Unilever has recently signed up to the first Sustainable Coconut Charter, an industry initiative to improve smallholder farmer incomes and livelihoods, enhance supply chain traceability, prevent deforestation and mitigate the climate crisis.
The charter will bring together industry leaders to develop programs that address the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of smallholder farmers. The aim is to empower people directly involved and impacted by coconut farming, so they can play a positive role in the sustainable development of their region.
With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Green Invest Asia and private sector leaders, the charter is a pre-competitive industry collaboration that defines sustainability and outlines focus areas and principles, as well as program goals and outcomes.
Such programs are essential to ensure that smallholder farmer incomes and subsequently their livelihoods are improved – through better access to market, finance and technology, as well as increased capacity and productivity – in a way that protects and regenerates the environment.
It also responds to a desire within the industry – and among consumers – for traceability and transparency. In other words, knowing exactly where the product originates from.
As Martin Huxtable, Director of Sustainable Sourcing, says: “With the demand for coconut-based ingredients increasing, it’s imperative the industry finds ways to meet that demand sustainably. The creation of the Coconut Charter is a timely and important step in the right direction.”
“Signing up to this charter will complement our existing coconut sustainability efforts. These include a tree rejuvenation initiative in Indonesia, a program that trains farmers on good agriculture practices and a pilot project on climate change resilient agriculture. Through our Bango soy sauce brand, we also run a youth farmer program to support the next generation of smallholders.”
“Unilever is committed to a more sustainable future for the coconut industry,” says Martin. “It’s critical for our business. But more importantly, for the millions of people who rely on it for their livelihoods and for the health of our planet.”