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Our history in Australia and Zealand

Unilever has a long history in Australia and New Zealand

1880s: Lever Brothers Sunlight soap was first imported to New Zealand from the UK

1899: Lever Brothers began soap production at Balmain in Sydney, followed by the commencement of production in New Zealand in 1919.

1929: On 2 September, the UK-based Lever Brothers and the Dutch union of fats and oils businesses Margarine Unie, signed an agreement to create Unilever. The businesses initially aimed to negotiate an arrangement to keep out of each other's principal interests of soap and margarine production, but ultimately decided on an amalgamation instead.

1959: Unilever acquired McNivens Ice Cream in Australia followed by Streets and Sennitts.

1963: Unilever acquired Rosella Foods (established 1896) in Australia.

1982: The Rosella factory in Richmond, Victoria, closed and dry foods production transferred to Knoxfield.

1988: The Bushells, Rosella Lipton and John West businesses combined to form Unifoods in Australia. In the same year, the New Zealand acquisitions of Oxo, Bushells, Faggs and Quality Packers merged with John West to form Unifoods NZ.

1989: The Home and Personal Care businesses of Lever & Kitchen and Rexona merged in Australia to form L&K: Rexona, which later changed to Lever Rexona.

2000: Lever Rexona merged with Unilever Foods to form what is now Unilever Australasia.

2004: Unilever set out to become the 'vitality company' in 2004. Two key milestones on this journey have been the roll out of the Unilever brand and the Vitality mission to help helping people look good, feel good and get more out of life.

We also unveiled our new identity in 2004. At its centre is the Unilever logo, made up of 25 icons representing different aspects of our business - everything from palm trees, fish and flowers to tea, hair and spoons

2007: Unilever Australasia announced that their Tatura (Victoria) based foods factory would be expanded to accommodate the production from the Knoxfield factory, which was closing. The expanded Tatura plant with its AU$20million investment in infrastructure and equipment was opened in March 2008.

2010: Unilever launched its Sustainable Living Plan - a blueprint for decoupling our environmental footprint from our growth and increasing our positive social impact. Faced with the challenge of climate change and the need for human development, Unilever’s wanted to move towards a world where everyone can live well and within the natural limits of the planet.

2020: From 2010, we have been taking action through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) to help more than a billion people improve their health and wellbeing, halve our environmental footprint and enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business. We have made significant progress and we are proud to have been recognised in 2020 as sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and - for the tenth-consecutive year - as the top ranked company in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility Sustainability Leaders survey.

After a decade, the USLP came to a close in 2020 but we know there is still so much more to do. Our journey towards making sustainable living commonplace for the world’s 8 billion people continues. Armed with the experience of our USLP, we are setting out to create a movement in which our suppliers, customers and consumers are all part of building a better future. The Unilever Compass is our new, sustainable business strategy, will guide us deliver superior performance and drive sustainable and responsible growth, while improving the health of the planet; improving people's health, confidence and wellbeing; and contributing to a fairer and more socially inclusive world.

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