Unilever Turns to CHEP for Improvement in Sustainability Outcomes

Unilever has extended its contract for the use of pallet pooling services throughout Europe with CHEP, the world’s leading provider of pallet and container pooling solutions. The consumer products giant is citing operational improvements, cost reduction and environmental footprint reduction as key considerations in the agreement.

With the new contract, Unilever has increased its use of CHEP pallets  throughout Europe by approximately 70 percent, thereby replacing less efficient white-wood exchange pallets with CHEP’s managed pooling system. The contract extension covers Unilever operations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Scandinavia and Romania, complementing existing CHEP services to Unilever throughout the rest of Europe. The business expansion was implemented in March 2013.

“We have developed a close strategic relationship with Unilever for many years, says CHEP President for European Pallets operations, James McCarthy. “Our new agreement enables us to build on the existing business, while applying cost and carbon reduction programmes. It reinforces our ability to deliver on such a large scale in response to the needs of one of our largest and most valued customers. It’s an excellent example of two global organisations working closely in partnership to mutual effect.”

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of food, home and personal care products with sales in more than 190 countries. Its portfolio includes well-known brands such as Knorr, Persil, Omo, Dove, Sunsilk, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Rexona, Sure, Wall’s, Lux, Rama, Ponds and Axe. 14 of which now generate an annual turnover of €1 billion or more.

“Having built a partnership with CHEP over many years, we have been benefiting from their pooling model for some considerable time,” adds Lucrecia Bolognesi, Unilever Procurement Director Logistics. “Converting these extra flows to CHEP is going to simplify our ongoing pallet management processes, improve our supply chain efficiency and reduce our total cost of ownership.

“In addition, CHEP’s sustainability efforts will contribute to Unilever’s ambition to double the size of its business by 2020 while reducing its overall environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact throughout the entire Supply Chain”

A recent independent life-cycle assessment study confirmed CHEP’s pallet system in Europe has the lightest impact on the environment compared with

alternative pallet systems, namely white-wood returnable pallets and white-wood disposable pallets. The study was performed by Brussels-based Intertek-RDC Environment, a leading environmental consultancy, in accordance with ISO 14044 methodology.

According to this assessment, Unilever’s conversion of additional white-wood exchange pallets under the new contract with CHEP will generate annual savings of approximately 4,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, – the equivalent of the emissions from the electricity use of 750 homes for one year [1] – as well as preventing 400 metric tons of wood from being sent to landfill.

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