What matters to you

Unilever's commitment to winning with integrity is enshrined in our company values and underpins the way we do business.

Our Code of Business Principles) commits us to running our operations with honesty, integrity and openness. Our approach is always to understand issues of concern and respond.

Our consumers sometimes have specific questions about our products while other stakeholders ask about the way we run our business. Here we address some of these questions.

Advertising & Marketing

Back of pack

Advertising helps inform people about the benefits of our products and innovations. It is also a way for us to engage with consumers on issues that matter to them.

Developing alternatives to animal testing

Computational Modelling

We use a wide range of non-animal approaches to assess the safety of our products for consumers.

Genetically modified crops

Genetically modified crops

We fully support the consumer’s right to know what is in their products. Find out more about Unilever’s position and approach to genetically modified crops.


Mangrove plants

To help protect the oceans from micro-plastics, we don’t use plastic scrub beads in Unilever products. Learn more.

Nutrition labelling

man and child in supermarket

We aim to provide people with simple and trustworthy nutritional information. We have strict responsible marketing policies.

Palm Oil

Palm Oil kernals held in hand

We are leading efforts to transform the palm oil industry – helping to eliminate deforestation and fight climate change.

More about salt

A pile of salt crystals

A-Z listing

We use advertising and marketing as a way to engage with consumers on issues that matter to them. Marketing and advertising have many benefits. They help us tell people about our latest innovations, inform consumers about what’s in our products and recommend how they should be used. They can even help us change society for the better: Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, for example, challenges stereotypes about the way people look.

However, the very power of marketing communications means that they must be used responsibly. We have signed up to, and helped to define, global standards for the industry, centred on the promise that our advertising and marketing will always be “legal, decent, honest and truthful”. Independently, we have also made landmark decisions about our own practices. For example, we do not target children under six years old and we never use ‘size zero’ models in our advertising.

Find out more about advertising and marketing

We believe society should promote sustainable renewable energy that protects food supplies, rather than that which may erode them.

The production of ‘first generation’ biofuels, made from crops or animal by-products, is rising sharply as government policy demands alternatives to fossil fuels. As crops are increasingly used for biofuels rather than food, food supplies could be jeopardised, prices rise and biodiversity suffer. What’s more, biofuels made from rapeseed oil or starch ethanol can actually create more greenhouse gases than fossil fuels.

ith 28% of Unilever’s energy coming from renewable sources, we support the move to more sustainable biofuels. But we believe society must work at developing sustainable alternatives for renewable energy production including ‘second generation’ biofuels made from materials such as wood, straw and waste, which do not erode food stocks. Switching to electric cars is another beneficial option. Governments, meanwhile, need to consider the all-round impact of their renewable energy policies.

Download the Biofuels Position Statement (PDF | 190KB) (PDF | 190KB)

Find out more about biofuels

We do not test our products on animals and are committed to ending animal testing wherever we operate. We use a wide range of non-animal approaches to assess the safety of our products for consumers and have complied with the EU animal testing bans for cosmetics since 2004. We support calls for similar bans to be introduced globally.

Our leading-edge research has one clear purpose: to continue to develop new non-animal approaches that can guarantee that our products are safe, without any need for animal testing.

We’re proud that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) lists Unilever as a ‘company working for regulatory change’ in recognition of our ongoing work on alternatives to animal testing and our commitment to promoting their adoption worldwide.

Information about our research strategy and partners is available on our Safety Science in the 21st Century website.

Download the Animal Testing Position Statement (PDF | 387KB)

Find out more on this topic

As part of our commitment to tackling climate change, we are working to help end deforestation.

Deforestation is a major contributor to climate change, accounting for up to 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. More than half of the world’s deforestation arises from land clearance for growing just four raw materials: palm oil, soy, beef, and paper and pulp. As buyers of nearly 3% of the world’s palm oil and 1% of its soy, we have a significant role to play, but we cannot end deforestation alone.

In 2014 we announced that deforestation would become one of our three priorities for transformational change and, as part of our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, committed to work with our supply chain, the wider industry, governments and civil society to drive deforestation out of commodity supply chains and to implement solutions at scale.

Download the Eliminating Deforestation Position Statement (PDF | 387KB)

Find out more about this subject

We take animal welfare very seriously and have the ambition to purchase all our animal-derived ingredients from sustainable sources by 2020.

A number of our products include ingredients from animals, such as the eggs in mayonnaise, dairy products in ice cream and meat in bouillons and soups. Farm animal welfare is one of Unilever’s core sustainable agriculture indicators and is part of our Sustainable Agriculture Code (SAC).

We believe good farm animal welfare schemes include issues such as housing and stocking density, hygiene, feeding and feed, water supply, health management and the responsible use of antibiotics, the avoidance of mutilations, transport, traceability and slaughtering methods. We require our suppliers to comply with legal requirements and we help them to improve their performance in order to meet our SAC standards. Unilever will report on a regular basis about the standards used for our animal-derived ingredients and the progress made.

Download the Farm Animal Welfare Position Statement (PDF | 167KB) (PDF | 338KB)

Find out more on farm animal welfare

We are committed to ensuring that human rights are respected, upheld and advanced across our operations and value chain, wherever we do business.

We respect all internationally recognised human rights that are relevant to our operations. We prohibit discrimination, forced, trafficked and child labour. We are committed to safe and healthy working conditions, the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, and to effective information and consultation procedures. We expect our partners to adhere to business principles consistent with our own. We recognise the importance of dialogue with employees, workers and external stakeholders who are, or could potentially be, affected by our actions.

We continue to build our employees’ and workers’ awareness and knowledge of human rights, encouraging them to speak up, without retribution, about any concerns they may have, including through our grievance channels. We continually evaluate and review how best to strengthen our approach to addressing human rights.

Download the Human Rights Report (PDF | 5MB)

Find out more about advancing human rights in our operations.

Unilever has been growing tea in Kenya since 1924. The estate in Kericho covers over 8,700 hectares and is Rainforest Alliance certified. Unilever offers many benefits including housing, free health care, nursery and primary school education, clean potable drinking water and free meals during working hours. As with any society where work and private lives are tightly intertwined, there are particular challenges that we are working hard to address.

In 2013 allegations of sexual harassment of female workers were investigated and an independent review made six recommendations, which were fully accepted and implemented immediately.

Progress is monitored monthly by our Leadership Team and has focused on prevention through increased education and awareness whilst improving grievance and reporting procedures.

Find out more on this subject

To help protect the oceans from micro-plastics, we don’t use plastic scrub beads in Unilever products.

Micro-plastics are tiny pieces of plastic which can end up in the seas, causing potential damage to the environment. Most come from the breakdown of larger plastics in the ocean but some can come from their use in consumer and industrial products.

An example of one possible source is the use of plastic scrub beads as an exfoliating material in some face and body scrub washes. We formerly used plastic scrub beads in some of our exfoliating products but realised we could make products that work just as well without using them. So, in 2014, we stopped using plastic scrub beads in these products. We now use alternative exfoliating ingredients, giving consumers confidence that using a Unilever face or body wash is not contributing to the accumulation of micro-plastics in the world’s oceans.

Find out more about micro-plastics

We’ve developed a clear and global approach to nutrition labelling, to help people make healthy food choices.

Clear nutrition labelling is a vital part of the fight against obesity and other dietary-related chronic diseases. We are transparent about the nutritional composition of our products, enabling consumers to make better informed choices. That’s why we’ve developed a global approach to nutrition labelling, as part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

We provide details about the ‘Big 8’ nutrients (energy, protein, carbohydrates, sugars, fat, saturated fat, fibre, sodium or salt, and nutrients for which a claim is made) on the back of most packs – along with an energy icon on the front. Our products in Europe and the US carry full nutritional information and we are committed to extend this to all our products globally. In many countries, our labelling exceeds legal requirements. We also publish nutritional details via websites and consumer care lines.

Find out more about labelling

We are leading efforts to transform the palm oil industry – helping to eliminate deforestation and fight climate change.

As a user of palm oil, we use the ingredient in products such as margarine, ice cream, soap and shampoo. However, there is a link between the way palm oil is developed and deforestation. That’s why we believe governments, NGOs and business must work together to ensure the palm oil industry finds the right balance between economic, social and environmental objectives, and why we have helped lead efforts to change the way the industry works.

All the palm oil we buy is certified as sustainable and, as part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, we aim to make sure it all comes from a traceable source. We will continue to work with our stakeholders to eliminate deforestation, protect peat lands, and drive positive impacts for people and local communities.

All palm oil purchased by Unilever Australia & New Zealand for our locally produced food and refreshment products comes from traceable and certified sustainable sources.

Unilever Sustainable Palm Oil Sourcing Policy 2016 (PDF | 167KB)

Find out more about transforming the palm oil industry

We are working to improve the resource efficiency of packaging.

Packaging helps keep products fresh and safe but when it ends up in landfill, it is a lost resource and can create environmental challenges. That’s why we’ve set targets to reduce the environmental impact of our packaging, as part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. We aim to reduce the weight of packaging, make it more recyclable, and use more recycled materials.

In some countries, we may support ‘extended producer responsibility’ (EPR) schemes, where we share packaging waste management costs. That said, we think there’s no ‘one size fits all’ model. In other countries, we support efforts to promote recycling. In the emerging markets, where we now sell half our products, some people make a living collecting waste from rubbish dumps. We support schemes that help these workers become part of a safe, formal recycling system.

Download the Packaging and the Circular Economy Position Statement (PDF | 310KB)

Find out more about moving to a circular economy

We’re cutting the level of sugar in many products, to help towards improving consumers’ health.

Many people enjoy the sweet taste that sugar brings. It also gives texture, structure, flavour and colour to many products, as well as helping to preserve them. However, health authorities recommend people limit their sugar consumption to reduce the risk of excessive energy intake, as this can lead to obesity, which is a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan therefore includes firm sugar and calorie reduction targets in products ranging from our ready-to-drink teas to our ice creams. We focus on beverages and ice creams because that is where we can have the biggest impact and so make the greatest contribution to public health. Of course, our products need to meet consumers’ acceptance for sweetness. That’s why, in many products, we use approved low-calorie sweeteners to fully or partially replace sugar.

Download the Sugar Reduction Position Statement (PDF | 424KB)

Find out more about ready to drink teas

To help people eat healthily, we are significantly reducing the amount of salt in our products.

A diet containing excess salt (sodium) can lead to raised blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. The World Health Organization recommends adults limit their daily salt intake to 5g. We believe we have a responsibility to offer healthy eating choices, and by the end of 2010 had met our target of decreasing salt levels to enable daily intakes of 6g.

As part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, we are cutting levels still further, by enhancing taste with other, healthier ingredients such as herbs and spices, and by using salt substitutes such as potassium chloride. As a result, more than half of our food products now have salt levels that enable a daily intake of 5g. In the near future, we plan to reduce salt levels in even more of our products.

Download the Salt Reduction Position Statement (PDF | 309KB) (PDF | 326KB)

Find out more about Salt

To help promote heart health, we are removing trans fats from our products.

There are two kinds of trans fats: one type occurs naturally in butter, cheese and some meat, and the other is created during food production when vegetable oils are ‘partially hydrogenated’ to turn them into solid fats. Both kinds adversely affect blood cholesterol.

The World Health Organization says consumers should limit their levels of trans fats, and manufacturers should not use them in foods. We have been reducing our use of trans fats from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHVO) for 20 years. In 2010, as part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, we committed to stop using them. By September 2012, 100% of our Foods and Refreshment portfolio by volume did not contain trans fats originating from PHVO. We support health initiatives to reduce intake of trans fats.

Download the Trans Fats Reduction Position Statement (PDF | 800KB)

Find out more about reducing saturated fat

We believe sustainable farming is the best way forward to meet the world’s demand for food.

The global population is growing fast; so fast, in fact, that by 2030 as much as 50% more food will need to be produced. Yet climate change, water shortages and biofuel demands are all putting pressure on food resources. That’s why we’re working with our supply chain partners to promote sustainable farming.

As part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, we aim to source all our agricultural materials sustainably, without increasing costs to the consumer. We are focusing first on our main crops, such as palm oil, soy and sugar. We plan to put a stop to deforestation, to help fight climate change, which is damaging to farming communities. At the same time, we aim to champion smallholder farmers – to help produce enough food and lift people out of poverty.

Download the Sustainable Sourcing Position Statement (PDF | 305KB) (PDF | 305KB)

Find out more about sustainable sourcing.

The tax we pay plays a key part in our wider economic impact and in developing the countries where we operate.

We are supportive of international tax reform and believe public trust in national tax systems is essential. We have published a set of global tax principles covering such issues as transfer pricing, use of tax havens and relationships with tax authorities that represent good corporate practice in the area of tax management and transparency. They also balance the interests of our various stakeholders, including consumers, investors and the governments and communities in the countries in which we operate.

Our commercial activity generates considerable tax income for the governments in countries in which we operate. In 2014, we paid €2.3 billion in corporation taxes. In addition, we pay and collect numerous other taxes, such as employee taxes, sales taxes, and customs duties.

Find out more about tax

Unilever Australia Tax Report (PDF | 2MB)

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