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STAMFORD, CT: Gartner has ranked Unilever No.1 for the second time in its latest European Top 15 supply chain list.

The company is also placed 4th in the world in Gartner's Top 25 supply chain ranking behind Amazon, MacDonald's and No.1 placed Apple.

The technology advisor cites Unilever's "Partner to Win" supplier collaboration program as a key contributor to the company's sustainability agenda to halve its environmental impact by 2020.

GartnerSpain's fashion retail group Inditex kept its No. 2 spot in Europe and moved up one place to No. 11 on the global Top 25. Gartner cites the company's "cornerstone" strategy of supply chain control through ownership and in-house execution: "By connecting digital and physical retail, expanding successful country operations and planning sensibly, the retailer is a leading example of how to properly adapt to the ever-changing retail landscape," says Gartner.

Sweden-based H&M, placed No. 3 in Europe, has moved up four places to rank No. 13 globally due to its sophisticated supply chain that Gartner says leads the fast-moving fashion industry in terms of design, delivery in-store and re-stocking.

Seagate, the Irish-based manufacturer of storage devices, appears in Gartner's Europe supply chain list for the first time at No.4 while ranked 20th globally. The company has a return on assets that is second only to Apple.

Rounding out the European top five is Nestlé that is also placed No. 25 globally. Gartner says the food company has been "very active across several global initiatives" that includes improving the profitability and sustainability of cocoa farms.

Commenting on the findings, Gartner vice president Supply Chain Research Stan Aronow said: "The underlying trend of an evolving two-speed Europe has become more prominent in 2014. Some European countries have enjoyed continued economic growth with good prospects of mass employment, while others have barely emerged from deep recessions and are battling to sustain economic recovery.

"Whatever the future might hold for the continent, Europe's leading organizations will continue to use their supply chain functions to drive sustainable growth, execute consumer- driven strategies, and ensure good governance and corporate citizenship," he added.

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