Tesco, Unilever Make Rainforest Pledges


Tesco is still committed to its Greener Living sustainability commitment — “helping our customers make greener choices” — despite having just scrapped its pledge to add carbon-footprint labels to thousands of its products and reduce its own carbon footprint. The retailer has announced a new green partnership to raise millions of pounds to protect vulnerable rainforests and associated communities around the world.

At the same time, Unilever enhanced its “ambitious” (as the Guardian puts it) long-term sustainability commitment with the news that it plans to make its Magnum brand the world’s first ice cream to source 100 percent of its global cocoa supply from sustainable sources, by 2015.[more]

Britain’s largest private employer, Tesco now is stepping up in a big way: It is joining in a Together for Trees inititiative with Europe’s largest wildlife conservation charity, RSPB, in an effort not only to preserve tropical rainforests but also to support local conservation work that also is aimed at the problem.

Tesco aims to raise more than 1 million pounds for the RSPB in the first year by garnering shopper donations of loyalty-card points and direct contributoins as well as reusable bags.

“Our aim is to create more sustainable ways of doing business and we have been working hard to reduce our own emissions,” Ruther Girardet, Tesco’s corporate responsibility director, said in a statement. “But as a leading retailer we also have a great opportunity to engage our customers to help protect our environment.”

Meanwhile, the Dutch CPG giant, Unilever, said that it will accelerate the rollout actross all its products of cocoa supplies certified by the Rainforest Alliance, ensuring that 60 percent of cocoa comes from such sources by the end of this year and all by 2015.

The company already offers two varieties, Magnum Ghana and Magnum Ecuador, using only sustainable cocoa sources.

The new commitment is part of Unilever’s wide-ranging Sustainable Living Plan announcement in November, when Unilever committed to halving the environmental impact of all of its products by 2020.

There’s another advantage in accelerating its green commitments for Unilever that doesn’t apply to Tesco: New middle-class consumers in emerging markets, including countries largely made up of rainforest, may help Unilever’s sales double to $106 billion this decade. Its sales growth was a robust 11.5 percent in emerging markets last year.