Sydney, Australia, 25th March 2020: Unilever, the consumer goods manufacturer of brands including Dove, Rexona, Lifebuoy, TRESemme, OMO, Surf, Streets and Continental, today announced a wide-ranging set of measures to support global and national efforts to tackle the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The company’s actions are designed to help protect the lives and livelihoods of its multiple stakeholders – including its consumers and communities, its customers and suppliers, and its workforce.
Consumers and communities
Unilever will contribute €100m (approximately $182m AUD) to help the fight against the pandemic through donations of soap, sanitiser, bleach and food. This includes:
- A product donation of soaps and sanitiser of at least €50m (approximately $91m AUD) to the COVID Action Platform of the World Economic Forum, which is supporting global health organisations and agencies with their response to the emergency. In addition to the supply of soap, Unilever will adapt its current manufacturing lines to produce sanitiser for use in hospitals, schools and other institutional settings.
- Product donations, partnerships and handwashing education programmes, delivered through national health authorities and NGOs, to support local communities most at need.
- In Australia and New Zealand, Unilever’s factories are operating 24/7 to help keep shelves across Australia and New Zealand stocked with essential food, personal care and cleaning products. As the situation evolves in Australia and New Zealand, Unilever will continue working closely with its partners, customers, industry groups, government and the wider public to offer timely support wherever possible. For example, Unilever responded quickly to donate Dove soap to the NSW Department of Education for distribution to schools experiencing shortages due to stockpiling. Unilever has also provided funding to help Foodbank NSW and ACT employ paid casuals in lieu of corporate volunteer groups that have been cancelled due to new social distancing rules. This will help Foodbank continue supporting Australians facing hardship, particularly as a result of the coronavirus.
Customers and suppliers
Unilever will offer €500m (approximately $912m AUD) of cash flow relief to support livelihoods across its extended value chain, through:
- Early payment for our most vulnerable small and medium sized suppliers, to help them with financial liquidity.
- Extending credit to selected small-scale retail customers whose business relies on Unilever, to help them manage and protect jobs.
Unilever will protect its workforce from sudden drops in pay, as a result of market disruption or being unable to perform their role, for up to three months. We will cover our employees, contractors and others who we manage or who work on our sites, on a full or part-time basis. This will apply to workers not already covered by government plans or by their direct employer.
Alan Jope, CEO Unilever said: “We are deeply saddened by the terrible impact that coronavirus is wreaking on lives and livelihoods everywhere. The world is facing its greatest trial in decades. We have seen the most incredible response from the Unilever team so far, especially those on the front line of our operations in factories, distribution centres and stores.
“We hope that our donation of €100m of soap, sanitiser, bleach and food will make a significant contribution towards protecting people’s lives, and that by helping to safeguard our workers’ incomes and jobs, we are giving some peace of mind during these uncertain times. Our strong cash flow and balance sheet mean that we can, and should, give this additional support.”
Clive Stiff, CEO Unilever Australia and New Zealand, said: “Australia and New Zealand are nations that have overcome a lot over the past year. What we have learnt during this challenging period is that it is imperative we work together as a community. Our factories are operating 24/7 to try keep shelves stocked with essential food, personal care and cleaning products.
We are also working around the clock with our partners, customers, industry groups and government to identify ways our business can contribute to national efforts in tackling the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. We will fight this together.”
Notes to editors
Unilever’s €100m (approximately $182m AUD) donation of soap, sanitiser, food and bleach is based on the equivalent retail sales value.
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. It has 155,000 employees and generated sales of €52 billion in 2019. Over half of the company’s footprint is in developing and emerging markets. Unilever employs more than 1,100 people locally and has offices and manufacturing facilities in Australia and New Zealand.
Unilever has around 400 brands found in homes all over the world. In Australia & New Zealand our brands include Dove, Rexona, Lynx, Vaseline, OMO/Persil, Surf, TRESemme, Toni & Guy, Continental, Ben & Jerry’s and Streets.
Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) underpins the company’s strategy and commits to:
- Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
- Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
- Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.
The USLP creates value by driving growth and trust, eliminating costs and reducing risks. The company’s sustainable living brands are growing 69% faster than the rest of the business and delivered 75% of the company’s growth in 2018.
Since 2010 we have been taking action through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan to help more than a billion people improve their health and well-being, halve our environmental footprint and enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business. We have already made significant progress and continue to expand our ambition – most recently committing to ensure 100% of our plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
While there is still more to do, we are proud to have been recognised in 2018 as sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and as the top ranked company in the Globescan/SustainAbility Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders survey, for the eighth-consecutive year.