As a company Unilever represents hundreds of brands ranging from skin care, to cleaning products, to food and refreshments. Some of the most commonly known brands are Dove, Ben and Jerry’s, and Lipton. As a company, Unilever strives to maintain universal policy and expectations for all companies that it represents, however we discovered that this is easier said than done. As recent as 2017 Unilever was wrapped up in a scandal with PepsiCo, and Nestle in which all three companies were responsible for the destruction of Sumatra’s last tract of rainforest shared by elephants, orangutans, rhinos, and tigers together in one ecosystem.
The reason for the large amount of deforestation was because of the high demand in palm oil, a product used in many staple products. Unilever is the worlds largest purchaser for palm oil. In response to the backlash Unilever received from the media and its consumers the company underwent some major policy changes..
First, in direct response to the palm oil scandal Unilever came up with a sustainable plan which allows them to be able to trace exactly where the palm oil comes from. They also are building their own plantations which will allow them to sustainably collect the amount of oil they need. The only issue with this its that these policies won’t be fully active until 2020..
Second, the company is now making a conscious effort to be transparent. Chief supplier Marc Engel said “Unilever believes that complete transparency is needed for radical transformation. We want this step to be the start of a new industry-wide movement.”
Third, in order to be transparent Unilever is moving in the right direction. Making efforts to disclose ingredient information, whats in the products, and the origin of where the products and ingredients come from.
Unilever has made huge strides in the direction of becoming transparent and repairing its image. However, these policy changes will take years to become fully effective so whether or not Unilever reaches full transparency is something we’ll have to wait and see.