Unilever partners Google Cloud for sustainable data sourcing

Unilever is partnering with Google Cloud as part of a programme to use technology to expand the use of data for eco-friendly decision making.

The partnership will focus first on the commercial application of Google Cloud and Google Earth for sustainable commodity sourcing.

By combining cloud computing with satellite imagery and artificial intelligence, the two companies plan to build a more holistic view of the forests, water cycles and biodiversity that intersect Unilever’s supply chain - raising sustainable sourcing standards for suppliers and bringing Unilever closer to its goal of ending deforestation and regenerating nature.

They will work together with a broad range of technology partners to build a centralised command centre to give a more complete picture of the ecosystems connected to Unilever’s supply chain and create a better mechanism for detecting deforestation, while simultaneously prioritising critical areas of forest and habitats in need of protection.

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of beauty and personal care, home care, food and refreshment products, with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. It has 150,000 employees across 400 brands including Dove, Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, Lux, Magnum and Surf.

The company has committed to halving the environmental impact of its products by 2030. Its sustainable sourcing initiative, which is initially focused on sustainable palm oil, will be extended to other commodities in the future, supporting existing work with other technology partners to achieve a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023.

Google Cloud’s planetary-scale geo-spatial platform, including the Google Earth Engine, Google Cloud Storage and BigQuery, combines satellite imagery with the ability to store and make sense of large amounts of complex data.

“This collaboration with Google Cloud will take us to the next level in sustainable sourcing,” said Dave Ingram, Unilever’s chief procurement officer. “The combination of these sustainability insights with our commercial sourcing information is a significant step-change in transparency, which is crucial to better protect and regenerate nature.”

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