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Unilever Adding Sustainably-sourced Tea, Palm Oil, Tomatoes

lipton-tea-world2As part of its plans to roll out Rainforest Alliance-certified teas worldwide by 2015, Lipton is making the United States its next market for the product.

Lipton tea bearing the Rainforest logo will hit U.S. shelves in May, and the goal is that all Lipton products globally be certified, Vindi Banga, president of Foods, Home and Personal Care for Unilever, which owns Lipton, told Reuters.

Lipton markets about 12 percent of all tea sold worldwide.

Next up for Unilever is to exclusively use palm oil certified by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil for its beauty products by 2015, Banga said, adding that the Netherlands-based Unilever purchases about 4 percent of all palm oil produced globally.

Also, Unilever, which had $61 billion in global sales in 2008, is developing its own criteria for sustainably sourcing tomatoes for its products, including Ragu tomato sauce. Unilever buys about 7 percent of the world’s tomatoes, Banga said.

Acreage certified by the Rainforest Alliance has ballooned. Farm and forest land certified by the group totaled 131 million acres in 2008, up 23 percent from 107 million acres in 2007, Reuters reports.

It’s not just Lipton adding to Rainforest Alliance’s portfolio of clients.

Gloria Jean’s Coffees International, a Sydney-based company, is nearing its 2010 target to sell 85 percent Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee, according to the article.

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