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Driving Sustainability Agenda with Suppliers

By 2030 world food production will have to increase by 50% to meet the growing need for food within a growing population. This will have potentially damaging effects on the environment. Unilever has been working to manage its environmental impact for over a decade and as part of the company’s campaign to highlight its sustainability credentials to consumers, they enlisted our help in 2007.
 
The objective was to quantify suppliers’ progress against the indicators in Unilever’s Sustainable Agriculture Code; their long-standing 11-point sustainability programme. 5 years on and this is the story so far...
 
For Unilever to achieve its ambitious growth and sustainability objectives, the company’s environmental impact had to be reduced throughout their supply chain. The key focus is managing sustainable supply in-line with the company’s sustainability agenda; this includes raw materials, production process and distribution.
 
To achieve this goal, Muddy Boots has deployed its self-assessment solution across Unilever’s fresh produce supply chain. Loaded with the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code (part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan - USLP) the tool is enabling Unilever and their suppliers to track and monitor progress and create evidence-based improvement plans.
 
Quickfire from Muddy Boots Software enables our suppliers to self-assess themselves against Unilever’s Code and identify good stories or areas for improvement,” explains Andrea Granier, Procurement Operation Manager, Sustainable Sourcing, Unilever.
 
“The Quickfire Reporting Tool allows us to spot trends in the industry which can be broken down by individual supplier, country and product. As a result, we are able to see immediately what and where the issues are and what needs to be improved. This is achieved at the click of a mouse instead having to review mounds of paper”.
 
“Understanding we have to make a real difference in sustainability terms and being able to communicate this through our brands is leading us to create new ways of working with our suppliers,” continues Granier.
“By introducing the sustainable initiative to fresh produce, our communication down the supply chain has significantly improved. We now know how many suppliers we have, their locations and what they are supplying to us; this level of transparency is key to that drive for sustainability.”
 
"So far, over 185 of our key suppliers are reaping the benefits of Quickfire and we are actively working with Muddy Boots on improvements and future implementations, such as the new online data collection and flexible reporting platforms that will be delivered in 2013. We conduct an annual Customer Satisfaction Survey and Supplier Focus Groups to really involve suppliers in programme development. We aim to have 200 suppliers on board by the end of the year and significantly increase the total number of assessments submitted (we saw an increase in submissions of over 350% between 2011 and 2012)." Andrea Granier, Procurement Operation Manager, Sustainable Sourcing, Unilever
 
For more information about the USLP please visit:
http://www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/

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