Website Unilever

Location: UK, Netherlands, Switzerland


This is an exciting, high profile leading role in Unilever’s sustainable sourcing team.  Leading sustainable sourcing for critical crop related raw materials sourced primarily from smallholder supply sheds.

The role leads the end-to-end sustainable sourcing strategy for the Cocoa and Chocolate and Vanilla products used in Unilever manufacturing. The role will also lead Unilever’s overall approach to living income development.

The crops under purview of this role are primarily smallholder crops. Smallholders are at the heart of Unilever’s overall sustainable sourcing and impact strategy. The business agenda related to these crops and supply chains is dynamic and fast paced but also the growing rapidly in absolute terms.

The role requires strong leadership ability, exceptional project and conflict management skills, excellent communication capability and good analytical skills. It requires a passion for relationship building on the ground and at more strategic levels. The person needs to be able to design programs for sustainable sourcing over the medium to long term horizon, lead impact projects and programs with suppliers and other partners, drive traceability and transparency leveraging technology.

The key success factors for this work are strategic management skills, strong project and program management skills, analytical skills, well-developed interpersonal skills, and resilience to cope with competing priorities among internal and external stakeholders.

Key Accountabilities

The job scope will consist of components:

  • Building deep ongoing value chain understanding of each crop, industry and supply chain players involved. This will require an understanding of the agricultural fundamentals of the crop, the social issues of people involved directly or indirectly and the economics and distribution of value along the chain.
  • The person is expected to play a play a leading role in understanding and managing the key environmental and social risks and evaluate the economic viability of various segments of the value chain and devise strategy accordingly.
  • Progress the strategy in Cocoa and Vanilla which includes: building full traceability and transparency of the supply chain, a deforestation free supply chain in cocoa, the road map to fully implement our people and nature policy in cocoa and our strategy to deliver a living income for the most vulnerable in our supply chain among other priorities in our theory of change.
  • Devise holistic, value chain led, sustainability strategies and impact programs to drive transparent and traceable impacts. Unilever believes in the continued development of a smart mix of complimentary initiatives to drive change.
  • Advocate and obtain business support for strategy and deliverables.
  • Ensure constant touch points are maintained and leveraged and our obligations are fulfilled with respect to any current and future industry initiatives e.g. The Cocoa and Forests Initiative.
  • Participate and in some cases lead industry wide initiatives and forums related to the value chains in question.
  • Design smallholder impact programs to be implemented in hubs to drive the roadmap to a living income. Accelerate, the respective roadmaps to reach the majority of smallholders fostering equitable inclusion in the supply chain.
  • The candidate is responsible for managing and implementing scalable models to ensure materials from smallholders are on a road map to being sustainably sourced. To positively impact smallholders and critically address issues that include tenure issues and constraints, the organization of smallholders, productivity improvements through scalable training programs.
  • Construct and implement supplier Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and roadmaps to drive transparency and traceability in the supply chain.
  • Partner with procurement colleagues to build the right relationships with supplier partners in the value chain.
  • Lead the overall living income approach and strategy ensuring that we leverage the best practice within and outside Unilever among the key crops of Palm, Cocoa, Vanilla, Tea, Vegetables.
  • Lead the engagement with the key purpose led brand teams in Magnum and Walls to embed the impacts and strategy with the brand key roadmaps.
  • Lead cross functional steering groups internally to drive the program with key stakeholders.

Essential Skills

  • Professional sustainability qualification, agronomics, environmental studies, environmental economics, or other relevant major. Master’s degree level preferred.
  • Program design skills for sustainable sourcing.
  • Program design skills and or and understanding of the needs for Living income road maps.
  • Agricultural value chain project and program management experience.
  • Understanding of co-financing models and programs and how to leverage financing.
  • Exceptional analytical skills and strategic thinking capabilities
  • Exceptional communication and influencing skills in English. French capabilities would also be preferred.
  • Market awareness and insights of commodity systems especially on cocoa and vanilla products.
  • Proven leadership and change management capability
  • Integrating procurement strategy with sustainability into the business

Essential Experience

  • Significant professional experience related to the fields of supplier management, sustainability, communications and issue management, environmental field work and research.
  • Proven and recognized achievements in areas like sustainable sourcing, agronomy, supplier and value chain development and relationship management.
  • Proven capability of bringing the best of the outside in and integrating the impact of sustainability into the business.
  • Proven experience in designing and implementing sustainability programs in smallholder landscapes like Cocoa, Vanilla or related supply chains.
  • Experience in managing and influencing smallholder farmers and suppliers.
  • Experience in dealing with environmental and social non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
  • Experience in commodity standards, certification, and roundtables.

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