GLOBAL – Unilever, a global consumer goods company, has recently unveiled the 2022 results of its four regenerative agriculture projects, demonstrating progress in its commitment to sustainable agriculture and climate resilience.
The initiatives, which cover various crops such as soy, rice, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and dairy, are part of Unilever’s Net Zero pathway and Regenerative Agriculture Principles, aiming to restore and protect soil health, water quality, biodiversity, and climate resilience.
The projects, spanning North America, Europe, and South Asia, encompass 48,000 hectares and involve collaboration with farmers, suppliers, and partners to promote agricultural practices that can regenerate and safeguard natural resources.
The objective is to ensure food security and supply chain resilience while aligning with Unilever’s ambitious goal of restoring and regenerating 1.5 million hectares of land, oceans, and forests by 2030.
“By the end of this year, we aim to have around 300,000 hectares contracted. By 2030, our ambition is to have more than 100 regenerative agriculture programs live in the field,” Lucas Urbano, Head of Regenerative Agriculture at Unilever emphasized.
“This work will contribute to Unilever’s commitment to restore and regenerate 1.5 million hectares of land, oceans and forests by 2030.”
However, despite the substantial potential of regenerative agriculture, Unilever acknowledged that the entire industry faces numerous challenges in its adoption.
Urbano highlighted several key issues, including the slow scaling of regenerative agriculture practices, the need for increased awareness and education, the absence of technical support, and the additional costs and risks associated with transitioning to such practices.
In addition, he noted that Unilever has invested in these projects, viewing them as crucial steps toward a sustainable future.
“The results so far have been promising, with reported reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, improvements in biodiversity, enhanced water efficiency and quality, and better soil health.”
In light of these challenges and achievements, Unilever has called for global government support to aid farmers in transitioning to regenerative agriculture.
The company emphasized the importance of funding initiatives to mitigate risks associated with this transition, developing policies or incentives for farmers, and providing technical assistance.
Meanwhile, in Spain, Unilever has partnered with tomato supplier Agraz to implement innovative irrigation practices, resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions, increased soil health, and a significant boost in pollinators and wildflower diversity.
In the United States, Unilever’s collaboration with rice supplier Riviana and the University of Arkansas led to the adoption of practices that significantly reduced methane emissions and improved crop quality.
Furthermore, Unilever emphasizes the importance of ensuring that its suppliers align with its sustainability objectives.
It indicated that the Responsible Partner Policy sets fundamental principles for all suppliers, encouraging continuous improvement and shared sustainable ambitions.