Unilever calls for moratorium on deforestation of tropical rainforest
Unilever’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Polman, today called for governments to support a moratorium on deforestation as a crucial measure to tackle climate change.
Speaking at the World Business Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Polman said: “The destruction of the world’s tropical rainforests accounts for about 20% of greenhouse gases – more than the entire transport sector. We believe that we are at a point in time where, if government and industry work effectively together to address the problem of deforestation, we can make real progress.”
One of the drivers of deforestation in South East Asia, particularly in Indonesia, is the palm oil industry. As a large user of palm oil, over the past year Unilever has assembled a large coalition of international businesses, including L’Oréal, Colgate, Cadbury, Tesco, Procter & Gamble and Shell, that are keen to tackle this critically important issue.
In his speech Polman said that the consumer goods industry must exert pressure on the growers, through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and through buying decisions and commitments to purchase certified sustainable palm oil made available by suppliers.
He appealed to governments, both in the West and in South East Asia, to agree on, and implement, financing mechanisms currently under development by the World Bank and other institutions to encourage affected nations to protect their rainforests.
Polman also made a commitment to the rigorous measuring and management of Unilever’s climate change impacts across the whole value chain. This would involve looking beyond the greenhouse gases coming from the factories and lorry fleets and including the impact from both the sourcing of raw materials and from to consumer use.
The commitment will involve a review of a network of 250 Unilever factories around the world, as well as an evaluation of how agricultural raw materials are sourced and the impact of 2 billion consumers using the products. Polman concluded: “We need to focus on where the impacts are greatest and where we can make a difference. None of these things are easy, but we must not squander any opportunity to make progress.”
Notes to editor:
Unilever has been working to develop sustainable agronomic practices for oil palm since the early 1990s. In 2004 we co-founded, with WWF, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. In May 2008 we announced that by 2015 all of our palm oil would be sustainably sourced and that we would support Greenpeace’s call for a moratorium on any further deforestation associated with the Palm Oil industry.
For more information about Unilever’s sustainability initiative, please see the section on palm oil within our 2008 Sustainable Development Report.
Unilever’s mission is to add vitality to life. We meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with strong local roots in more than 100 countries across the globe. Its portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most loved brands including thirteen €1 billion brands and global leadership in many categories in which the company operates. The portfolio features brand icons such as: Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Dove, Axe, Omo, Cif and Vaseline. Unilever has around 174,000 employees in approaching 100 countries and generated annual sales of €40 billion in 2008.
This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including ’forward-looking statements’ within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as ’expects’, ’anticipates’, ’intends’, ’believes’ or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results, including financial objectives to 2010, and their negatives are intended to identify such forward-looking statements.
These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Group. They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance. Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including, among others, competitive pricing and activities, consumption levels, costs, the ability to maintain and manage key customer relationships and supply chain sources, currency values, interest rates, the ability to integrate acquisitions and complete planned divestitures, the ability to complete planned restructuring activities, physical risks, environmental risks, the ability to manage regulatory, tax and legal matters and resolve pending matters within current estimates, legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments, political, economic and social conditions in the geographic markets where the Group operates and new or changed priorities of the Boards.
Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group’s filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Annual Report & Accounts on Form 20-F. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Group’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.
This news content was configured by WebWire editorial staff. Linking is permitted.
News Release Distribution and Press Release Distribution Services Provided by WebWire.