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Unilever Commits to Sustainably Source 100% of Paper and Board Packaging by 2020

As part of the company’s commitment to promote sustainable forestry practices and help combat deforestation and climate change, Unilever has released its sustainable paper and board packaging sourcing policy (PDF) that clearly defines the company’s paper sourcing goals over the next decade.

Unilever set a target goal to source 75 percent of its paper and board packaging from sustainably managed forests or from recycled material by 2015, reaching 100 percent by 2020.

Currently, 62 percent of Unilever’s paper and board was “sustainably sourced,” reports Packaging News.

Unilever says it is the first global FMCG company to commit to sourcing all of its paper and board packaging from sustainably managed forests or recycled material within a defined timeframe. The policy is also part of the company’s plan to double its business while reducing its environmental impact.

Sourcing preference will be given to supplies delivered through the Forest Stewardship Council certification scheme. Unilever also will accept other national schemes under the framework of international Forest Management Certification standards, if they comply with the Policy’s Implementation Guidelines.

The policy also requires all suppliers to have mechanisms in place to ensure that the paper packaging is made from either recycled fiber or from “known and legal” virgin fiber sources, and that virgin fiber paper packaging comes from forests that are not being converted to plantations or non-forest use.

The company will add certification logos across its product packaging as progress is made towards reaching the target.

Unilever is a founding member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, which includes packaging users, producers and retailers. It is also a member of the European Organisation for Packaging and the Environment (EUROPEN), and the Consumer Goods Forum’s Global Packaging Project. Click here for more information about the company’s sustainable packaging programs.

In December last year, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition released metrics to help companies measure their progress toward the coalition’s stated definition of sustainable packaging. Also in December, EUROPEN announced it was in favor of developing comprehensive international standards for packaging.

In June, Unilever earned the Business in the Community Corporate Responsibility (CR) Index’s highest ranking by incorporating long-term sustainability into its business strategies.

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4 thoughts on “Unilever Commits to Sustainably Source 100% of Paper and Board Packaging by 2020

  1. This is a very impressive effort! I wonder if Unilever is publishing the percentage of each component in its 62 percent of “sustainably sourced” paper and board – I’m curious to learn what part of it is recycled and FSC-certified.

    Also, I’m happy to learn that FSC certification will be given preference. Since it’s the most rigorous certification, maybe there was a place to include also a minimum for paper that is sourced from recycled and FSC-certified sources as part of the company’s general goals.

    Raz Godelnik
    CEO, Eco-Libris

  2. For the entire package to be sustainable, the printing should not be overlooked. The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership certifies sustainability efforts of printers of all types and sizes in the US and Canada. Certification criteria and companies that have achieved certification or are working toward it are posted at http://www.sgppartnership.org

  3. I am just wondering the increase from 62 to 75% contains what fraction of recycled paper.
    Also, if they are going for FSC certified forestry, what additional economic cost is company incurring in transportation of material.These metrics would be interesting to know as it would provide insight into the sustainability interests of the company.

  4. This is the first time I have ever heard about “sustainably sourced” products. What an amazing concept! I’m going yo bring it to the attention of folks higher up in the company than me who can exert the change. Thanks to Carlton Cards who have “sustainably sourced” printed on the back of each card. I looked on the web to define it, and here I am!

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