Sustaining Our Farming Future
With two recent major milestones, see how the farmers supplying Hellmann’s® and Unilever are stewards of the land, improving their agricultural practices to create more sustainable food.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, there will be more than nine billion mouths to feed by 2050. Knowing this, agriculture must race to meet this demand, all while preserving the land with earth-friendly practices. To help, Unilever is aiming to have all of our brands source agricultural materials sustainably by 2020.
Recently, this focus has paid off: Hellmann’s® Mayonnaise announced that they are now made with 100% cage-free eggs and are committed to sourcing their oils responsibly!
Sustaining Soy Beans
Working with American family farms, Hellmann’s® has committed to sustainably sourced oils. But what does this mean?
Responsible sourcing means ensuring that the farms growing the produce are fully dedicated to sustainable practices, and do everything possible to preserve the land. Hellmann’s® monitors everything from farms’ water and energy usage to land use to greenhouse gas emissions with the help of the Field to Market: Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture to make sure the farmlands are protecting the environment and will be around for generations.
Cage-free hens have better lives all around; they have more space to walk, spread their wings, and lay eggs in nests. Having set out to accomplish this goal by 2020, thanks to Hellmann’s® commitment every jar of their mayonnaise and spreads has hit this milestone three years early.
All Hellmann’s® eggs are certified by the American Humane Society to assure that the hens laying them have enough space, another way Hellmann’s® is working to create a better farming system.
Real Farmers, Real Ingredients
None of this could be possible of course without the farmers. Take the Sutter family for example, Hellmann’s® soybean suppliers who have been farming in Pleasantville, Iowa for generations.
Kenny Sutter, who works on the farm with his father Don and brother Tyler says, “We are stewards of the land, we are stewards of the world.” And this mentality is shared by his whole family:
This not only means delivering top-quality ingredients, but also sourcing them responsibly. Unilever has been focusing on reducing environmental impact across our entire family of brands as a core value of our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, and we are pleased that Kenny Sutter, who runs the farm, shares our values.
Sustainable Farming Tactics
One way the Sutter family cares for the land is by using “no-till” and “minimum-till” processes, meaning they leave more natural plant matter on top of the soil, preventing soil erosion.
It’s not just better for the soil, but also the environment, since less tilling means less carbon dioxide from motorized plows.
Philippa Marshall, Director of Sustainable Business for Unilever, works with farmers on sustainable practices beyond no-till methods.
“Now with the role of GPS technology, it’s possible to analyze each part of a field based on nutrients,” she says. More accurate forecasts can also help farmers know when and where they need to water crops, saving resources.
Part of Our Philosophy
Practices like these are important not just to our famers who rely on the land, but also to our Unilever mission. Ever since we found that about half of our environmental footprint globally comes from growing the ingredients for our products, we’ve been working hard with farmers like the Sutters to expand our sustainable farming practices even further. Sustainable agriculture is a key component of our overall mission to make sustainable living commonplace.