“We believe that the issue of Food Security is a critical one that needs multi-stakeholder efforts to solve and we support the aims of the campaigns like GROW. The key issues highlighted are ones with which we are all concerned and there is no doubt that the inclusion of smallholder farmers into the food value chain is critical not only for food security but for the progress and stability of rural communities in many parts of the world.
“We particularly welcome the emphasis the report places on greater transparency and on the importance of the role of women and of land rights. Indeed, we have highlighted these two issues ourselves through our CEO putting them on the agendas at the B20/G20 and WEF.
“The report recognises the progress Unilever has made in its policies and practices, under its Sustainable Living Plan and including its Sustainable Sourcing Programme – although information on the more recent progress we have made was not available for inclusion in this report as our next USLP update is on April 22nd.
“We do think though, that the report has missed an opportunity to look at the full range of organisations that need to come together on this. Change of this nature requires wide partnerships, and needs to stretch beyond looking at the role of branded food companies. Although branded good companies have initiated some innovative programmes to contribute to the solutions for some of the big issues, brand manufacturers are only part of the solution and we believe that meaningful progress can only be made when all relevant stakeholders – including primary producers, first processors, traders, retailers, civil society and governments – work together.
“We also believe that more attention needs to be paid to the importance of improved nutrition, in addition to the issue of food security and we are working with the UN Secretary General’s Zero Hunger Campaign and within the SUN Alliance to provide support for the broad-scale approach to eradicating hunger.
“In the meantime, Unilever will continue to work on traceability and transparency of its raw material supply together with its suppliers and will seek to engage in partnerships with all relevant stakeholders to meet the targets of our Sustainable Living Plan and help solve some of the issues raised in the report.”
“Unilever is right to say that food security challenges will only be tackled if they are addressed comprehensively by a range of actors from consumers to governments to companies, Food companies need to take a leading role in making this happen as Unilever is doing, for example, by including smallholder farmers in food value chains. We look forward to seeing specific new commitments and public actions from Unilever to address where there are gaps in their sustainability such as preventing land grabs and pursuing equality for women.