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Enhancing livelihoods fund

Enhancing livelihoods programme (Credit: Marcatus QED)

At a glance

ELF supports suppliers seeking to improve livelihoods of smallholders, women and workers in their value chains.


The Enhancing Livelihood Fund (ELF) provides financial and technical support for partners in Unilever's supply chains to increase their social impact in sourcing from smallholders. The goals are to reduce risks for smallholders, empower women in the supply chain and improve conditions for workers.

The ELF was established in 2015 as a joint initiative by Unilever, Oxfam and the Ford Foundation.

How we work

ELF's vision is more inclusive sourcing practices and enhanced livelihoods for smallholder farmers. There are three key objectives:

  1. To help Unilever and its suppliers improve the social impact of their supply chains in alignment with their sustainable sourcing objectives and in a manner that enhances livelihoods while minimizing risks for smallholders, particularly women, in the supply chain
  2. To contribute to a stronger relationship between Unilever, suppliers and smallholders that enables them to improve the sourcing strategies and their impacts
  3. To trial innovative approaches and facilitate the development of suitable models for responsible sourcing from smallholders, that can be scaled up 

Our projects

Mobile education platforms for gherkin farmers in India

This project seeks to improve livelihoods and increase yields of gherkin farmers in southern India through a more effective way of teaching best agricultural practices. Marcatus QED, an agri-food solutions company, has developed a mobile education platform to overcome educational barriers that affect gherkin farmers, particularly women farmers who traditionally receive minimal agricultural education services. With initial support from local partners such as gender experts, supply chain stakeholders, and Digital Green, the platform has developed training videos that star local female and male farmers. These videos are screened in such a way to ensure that all farmers, especially women, have access to the education.

Listen to the podcast How can overcoming educational barriers improve the sustainability of smallholder supply chains? In this podcast we speak to Amanda Klarer, the Responsible Farming Program Manager at Marcatus QED.

Vetiver together

Vetiver together provides alternative income generating activities for vetiver producing communities in Haiti. Through the provision of livestock and seedlings, vetiver producing families (and particularly women) are enabled to generate additional income. This reduces the need to harvest the vetiver prematurely, which has negative impacts on quality and price. The project is led by International Flavours and Fragrances (IFF) together with Heifer International.

Improving the lives of women pickers in the Ylang Ylang value chain

In the Comoros, fragrance company Firmenich and its partners 2mains and Firmenich Supplier work together to support the empowerment of women smallholders and pickers in the ylang-ylang essential oil value chain. The partnership seeks to increase the recognition of their role in the supply chain, improve women's working conditions and income. Activities include the provision of training on best practices, income diversification support and the development of new contractual arrangements that benefit women.

Sustainable sourcing model for coconut sugar in Indonesia

Puter Foundation are designing and implementing a sustainable sourcing model in the coconut sugar supply chain which combines business and environmental protection in a new region (outside Java). The project focuses on building a supply chain; developing training to transfer knowledge and good practices; and strengthening women capabilities and participation in the supply chain.