Unilever - 2006 Seafood Champion
Unilever is an international manufacturer of leading food, home care and personal care brands with global sales of over $43 billion in 2005. Its mission is to add vitality to life. The company estimates that every day 150 million people around the world choose a Unilever product to meet their needs. In 2005, Unilever was acknowledged as the leader of the food industry category within the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes. This marks the seventh consecutive year that Unilever has held the position, which is assessed through corporate, economic, environmental, and social performances. Unilever has also been ranked within the “100 Companies that Count” in the UK’s Business in the Community Corporate Responsibility Index, further solidifying their position as a corporate role model working to create sustainable markets.
Unilever’s program on seafood sustainability was formally established in the late 1990s when it committed to sourcing fish from sustainable stocks. In 1996, Unilever partnered with the global conservation organization WWF to create the Marine Stewardship Council, the first certification body for sustainable seafood. Unilever was also one of the first major buyers to develop its own fishery assessment method for those fisheries not yet certified by the MSC. The Unilever ‘traffic light’ system is based on FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and assesses fisheries on a handful of indicators, ensuring both the long-term viability of populations and long-term supply for the company.
By the end of 2005, Unilever succeeded in sourcing over half of its seafood used in Europe from sustainable and certified fisheries, which represented roughly 75% of their global fish sales. This success signals tremendous progress, not only on the supply side, but also in consumer communication. Unilever educates its consumers about the sustainability of their seafood at all consumer contact points from product packaging to websites and promotions.
Its early investment and visionary leadership have allowed Unilever to rise above its competitors in growing the market for sustainable seafood. By providing environmentally conscious products while remaining a highly competitive global company, Unilever has demonstrated time and again that major corporate buyers can meet both an economic and environmental bottom line.
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