Enhancing livelihoods in the supply chain

We are taking a more holistic approach to how the Unilever Foundation partnerships join with Unilever’s Enhancing Livelihoods strategy in our supply chain.

Allanblakia farmers in Indonesia

At the beginning of 2015, we started to implement a more holistic approach to how the Unilever Foundation partnerships join with Unilever’s Enhancing Livelihoods strategy in our supply chain. We are focusing on the themes of nutrition, women and finance, as well as looking to encourage young agricultural entrepreneurs and sustainable agriculture. This more holistic approach enables us to develop globally repeatable programmes which can be adapted to local conditions and crops.

According to Boris Rafalski, Procurement Director, Sustainable Sourcing: “Through visiting farmers over previous years, it was clear that more interventions than just agricultural training were needed. We cannot do this alone. For example, to improve the nutrition of our famers so they can remain fit and healthy we need to work with an expert like GAIN to develop and provide training. But not only GAIN, we also need the experience of an organisation like Solidaridad who have expertise in working towards social and environmental sustainability with producers and other parties in the supply chain.”

This calls for a holistic approach, involving many partners, which brings inherent complexities. However, we are committed to making this work and co-ordinate activities centrally through a small global team.

Three partnerships that demonstrate this new approach are:

Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) Partnership

In January 2015, Unilever and the GAIN signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to tackle malnutrition among farmers and their families in rural communities by improving their diets.

The Nutrition Intervention Programme, which we have jointly developed with GAIN, aims to improve the dietary diversity of Unilever’s smallholder farmers and their families, with a specific focus on female farmers, pregnant women and young children. It will also contribute to improving health through handwashing, based on Unilever’s successful Lifebuoy model. The first programme is currently developed in India to improve the nutrition and health of more than 20,000 farming families (100,000 people) in Unilever´s food business supply chain. Interventions will include better information on nutritious diets, increased access to vegetables and livestock and growing their own nutrient-rich homegardens.

Read more here: Improving Health and Nutrition for 2.5 million farmers

Acumen and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership

Unilever, Acumen and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, have launched a landmark Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action called the Enhanced Livelihoods Investment Initiative (ELII) to improve the livelihoods of as many as 300,000 smallholder farmers and their communities in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The ELII will be a three-year, minimum $10 million investment initiative to catalyse economic growth and alleviate poverty among low-income communities in the developing world, while creating more inclusive and sustainable value chains. One of the primary goals of the partnership, which leverages Acumen’s and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership’s market-based approaches to poverty alleviation, will be to create and scale up privately held enterprises which will support smallholder farmers and link them to Unilever’s global supply chains and distribution networks.

Read more here: $10 million Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to support smallholder farmers

Partnership with Oxfam and Ford Foundation

A new partnership has been formed between Unilever, Oxfam and the Ford Foundation – the Enhancing Livelihoods Fund – to support supplier match-funded projects and interventions to improve the livelihoods of smallholders, workers and their communities.

For an overview of all current smallholder projects, view here (updated on a quarterly basis): Creating an inclusive supply chain

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