Unilever and Google Cloud Team up to Reimagine the Future of Sustainable Sourcing
Unilever and Google fight deforestation with cloud computing

Sunnyvale, Calif, September 22, 2020 – Google Cloud and Unilever today announced that they will advance sustainable business practices together using technology to expand the use of data for eco-friendly decision making. As an initial step in this partnership, the two companies are collaborating on the first commercial application of Google Cloud and Google Earth Engine for sustainable commodity sourcing. 

By combining the power of cloud computing with satellite imagery and AI, the two companies are building 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. 

Google Cloud and Unilever will work with a broad range of technology partners to build a centralized command center. This will provide a more complete picture of the ecosystems connected to Unilever’s supply chain and create a better mechanism for detecting deforestation—leading to greater accountability—whilst simultaneously prioritizing critical areas of forest and habitats in need of protection. 

Unilever, which owns 400+ brands and whose products are used by 2.5 billion people every day, has made sustainability an intrinsic part of its business. The company’s sustainable sourcing initiative, which is initially focused on sustainable palm oil, will be extended to other commodities in the future, directly supporting Unilever’s existing work with other technology partners to achieve a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023.

Google Cloud’s planetary-scale geo-spatial platform, including Google Earth Engine, Google Cloud Storage and BigQuery, combines accurate satellite imagery, with the ability to store and make sense of large amounts of complex data. Unilever will use the platform to obtain insights into any impact on sourcing to the environment and local communities, allowing Unilever and its suppliers to take action wherever and whenever it is needed. 

Simplifying complex datasets is critical to increasing transparency within supply chains and enabling collaboration across public and private partners. Today, Google Earth Engine is used for planetary-scale image analysis by academic and public institutions, as well as civil society organizations. This first commercial application with Unilever will enable further innovation that can be shared with sourcing partners of all types on a common platform. 

“This collaboration with Google Cloud will take us to the next level in sustainable sourcing,” said Dave Ingram, Unilever’s Chief Procurement Officer. “We will now be able to process and combine complex sets of data like never before. 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.”

“At Google, we strive to build sustainability into everything that we do. Unilever has been an industry leader in environmental sustainability for many years, and we’re excited to be on this journey with them,” said Rob Enslin, President, Google Cloud. “Together, we’re demonstrating how technology can be a powerful tool in aiding businesses who strive to protect the Earth’s resources. It will require collective action to drive meaningful change, and we are committed to doing our part.” 

Useful Links:

Read how Google is enabling new ocean protected areas and sustainable fishing policy

About Google Cloud

Google Cloud provides organizations with leading infrastructure, platform capabilities and industry solutions. We deliver enterprise-grade cloud solutions that leverage Google’s cutting-edge technology to help companies operate more efficiently and adapt to changing needs, giving customers a foundation for the future. Customers in more than 150 countries turn to Google Cloud as their trusted partner to solve their most critical business problems.

About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. It has 150,000 employees and generated sales of €52 billion in 2019. Over half of the company’s footprint is in developing and emerging markets. Unilever has around 400 brands found in homes all over the world, including Dove, Knorr, Dirt Is Good, Rexona, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, Lux, Magnum, Axe, Sunsilk and Surf.  

Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) underpins the company’s strategy and commits to:  

  • Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.  
  • Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.  
  • Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.  

The USLP creates value by driving growth and trust, eliminating costs and reducing risks. The company’s sustainable living brands delivered 78% of total growth and 75% of turnover in 2019.  

Since 2010 we have been taking action through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan to help more than a billion people improve their health and well-being, halve our environmental footprint and enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business. We have already made significant progress and continue to expand our ambition – most recently committing to ensure 100% of our plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. While there is still more to do, we are proud to have been recognised in 2019 as sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and as the top ranked company in the Globescan/Sustainability Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders survey, for the ninth-consecutive year.  

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com.  

For more information on the USLP: www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/