Sourcing raw materials responsibly

Global demand for natural raw materials continues to put pressure on the natural environment, contributing to the decline of wildlife and biodiversity. We have a responsibility to ensure that raw materials are being sourced sustainably. Like many big companies, we have a complex network of suppliers, from global operations to rural family farms.

We prioritise certain raw materials to minimise impact and ensure sustainable production: palm oil, dairy, fragrances, surfactants and latex. Traceability is vital – knowing the origin of the raw materials we use and ensuring they have been produced with no deforestation, as we work to safeguard local people and the environment.

90%

Palm oil traceable for suppliers globally, excluding surfactants (found in detergent)

92%

Paper and board from certified or recycled sources, excluding third-party manufacturing sites

1,142

Farmers received training in 2019 to improve agricultural practices in our latex and palm oil supply chains

Insights

Protecting ecosystems across our value chain

Read our Insight to see how we are sourcing responsibly

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Case studies

Through Earthworm’s ‘Rurality’ programme, we are helping smallholders use improved farming techniques to address the social and environmental issues associated with palm production. The programme works to improve smallholder access to markets by building connections between them, dealers that buy their fresh fruit bunches and mills in RB’s supply chain in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. We aim to empower smallholders to develop diversified incomes, alongside core farming activity.

As part of our commitment to NDPE (No Deforestation, Peat, Exploitation), we have partnered with Earthworm Foundation and its Starling project to monitor our palm oil supply chain.

Using radar and satellite imagery data, we can monitor land cover change and intervene if there are early signs of forest cover loss. With this tool we are able to identify risk prone areas, predict potential deforestation and develop corrective actions.

We’re serious about our responsibilities. We’re developing impact measurements throughout our value chain, with a goal of assessing every single step, to ensure that we, our suppliers and our suppliers’ suppliers are living up to our values and standards.


We believe we can make a difference and help to address some of the most pressing global challenges, while supporting our brands and stakeholders, and build a sustainable future.

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We have taken steps to further understand and improve sustainability of dairy, the main ingredient our infant formula products. We are a member of the Sustainable Dairy Partnership (SDP), a group of suppliers and industry peers who work to increase sustainability in the dairy industry.

Members take responsibility for key challenges including greenhouse gas production, human rights, deforestation and animal welfare. We are pleased to report that our largest suppliers are active members of the SDP. In 2019 we collectively created a digital solution to help improve traceability and transparency by sharing information more efficiently, and developed training and communications materials for the various SDP members and non-members.

Tiny krill are the foundation of the Antarctic food chain, supporting an ecosystem of fish, penguins, seals and whales. Environmental NGOs are calling for more marine protected areas in the Antarctic, asking fishing companies to show additional precaution. In response, our suppliers worked with scientists and campaign groups on a voluntary agreement that will create marine sanctuaries around the Antarctic.

We will continue to support suppliers who pave the way in environmentally friendly practices and, ultimately, the Antarctic protection agreement is a success for all parties involved – businesses, environmental groups and scientists – resulting in a voluntary standard that exceeds international regulation and helps support a sustainable future.