In January 2000, Unilever Australasia in partnership with Horticulture Australia commenced a unique research initiative to identify the environmental impacts of growing processing tomatoes in Australia, a commodity of strategic importance to the food processing plant at Tatura Victoria. Further, Unilever launched this initiative in a quest for answers to improved land management practices and sustainable agricultural production.
Unilever has outsourced the scoping, development and day-to-day management of this exciting project to Outsourced Environmental. The Australian pilot research project is one of fourteen Unilever are running globally to resolve a monitoring system and best management practices for production of its food produce. Globally, agriculture provides more than two thirds of the raw materials for Unilever's branded products, hence sustainable production of these ingredients is considered paramount to Unilever.
The Australian pilot project involves the selection and subsequent evaluation of sustainability indicators, assessment of selected indicators on the five pilot farms (also benchmarking with sister tomato pilots in Brazil and USA), indicator review and then development of an Environmental Management System (EMS) based on the International Standard "ISO14001".
This initiative has a strong focus on environmental assessment and on farm sustainability indicator development to ensure that the EMS developed is practical and that the environmental performance and improvements to the Unilever supply chain are measurable and transparent.
The management system will combine the net learning of Unilever's 14 global projects researching into crop specific standards compliant with ISO14001. Unilever and their advisory team consisting of representatives from FAO, WWF, the Rodale Institute, OECD, Forum for the Future and University of Essex's globally are coordinating the 14 Pilots. The collective learning's from these pilots will assist Unilever and their key stakeholders implement improved and enhanced land and environmental management practices.
The Australian project lead by OE also has a significant focus on biodiversity evaluation and enhancement on farm. The development of biodiversity indicators and their linkage with farm production is central to the Australian program.
The key learning's from this pilot sustainability research have already had an impact globally on the way Unilever source their raw materials, in time their aim is to provide practical support to the supply chain through the implementation and use of the EMS, hence ensuring clean and safe food.
Grow Sustainably Website:
In March 2004 an exciting new website was launched called "Grow Sustainably". The Grow Sustainably site
outlines a program crafted to help people involved in the agribusiness supply chain to generate more sustainable environmental
Click this link to visit the Grow Sustainably website: www.growsustainably.com
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