Unilever statement on ACCC investigation

Sydney – December 12, 2013: Today the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced the outcome of an investigation into conduct surrounding the introduction of compacted laundry powders in Australia and New Zealand in 2008/ 2009 and related matters.

A related investigation by the New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC) is considering whether any part of the conduct in Australia has affected markets in New Zealand. That investigation is ongoing.

Unilever has fully co-operated with these investigations since their inception in 2011. As part of these investigations, Unilever commenced its own internal investigation and conveyed its findings to the ACCC and the NZCC.

The company has already taken firm action in response to the regretted past behaviour of a small number of ex employees discovered in its own investigations, including:

  • The introduction of new leadership to the Australia & New Zealand business including the appointment of the new Australian Chairman and CEO Clive Stiff in 2012;
  • The imposition of strong disciplinary sanctions on all relevant individuals. At this time, none of those individuals remain employed by Unilever.

As part of the response to this issue, Unilever has implemented a range of measures in Australia and New Zealand to emphasize its commitment to integrity and acting in accordance with Unilever values.

Unilever has a strict Code of Business Principles, a total commitment to compliance and a zero tolerance for misconduct in this important area. Unilever’s Code clearly states that its companies and employees should conduct their operations in accordance with the principles of fair competition and all applicable regulations at all times. 

A comprehensive Competition Law compliance program has been implemented. This has included re-training for all staff, a new compliance manual and senior management interviews on competition law compliance. This was complemented in 2012 by the progressive roll out of new Code of Business Principles training modules, regular local communications about the importance of the Code and the emphasis on values and ethics.

The ACCC has indicated its view regarding the effect on consumers of the conduct of all the relevant parties. Unilever is continuing to have active discussions with the ACCC to understand its position on what is a complex issue. We believe the current Australian laundry market is highly competitive.

Given that these matters are now to proceed before the courts, it is not appropriate for Unilever to comment further at this time.

Media Contact

Australia and New Zealand - Emma Peacock

+61 401 692 591

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