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Unilever Helping to protect lives and livelihoods from the COVID-19 pandemic

·5 min read

Unilever contributes more than EUR100m to continue helping people affected around the world

LONDON and ROTTERDAM, Netherlands, April 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Unilever, the consumer goods manufacturer of brands including Dove, Knorr, Omo and Lifebuoy, has announced a wide-ranging set of measures to support global and national efforts to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Unilever Logo
Unilever Logo

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 EUR100m (S$150m), 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 EUR50m 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 Singapore, Unilever has donated thousands of sanitation essentials like Lifebuoy soaps, sanitisers and handwash; Domex toilet cleaners; Cif home cleaners and OLLY vitamins to frontline healthcare workers, isolated seniors, the disabled, homeless, taxi drivers, children's homes and shelters via organisations such as the Red Cross Singapore, NVPC (National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre), Loving Heart, HSEU (Healthcare Services Employees' Union) and United Women Singapore.

Unilever International, a global business unit headquartered in Singapore, has extended its reach beyond Singapore by donating thousands of Lifebuoy hand sanitisers to Hong Kong via BGCA (the Boys' & Girls' Clubs Association) and UNICEF; household disinfectants Domex and Cif in Mongolia and Lifebuoy handwash in Timor Leste along with hygiene education programmes for children and local communities.

Umesh Shah, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever International said: "In keeping with our purpose to serve the underserved, we chose to prioritise making our hygiene products accessible to the most vulnerable groups, including frontline healthcare workers, children and the elderly. Unilever is proudly partnering with NGOs and public institutions to donate thousands of Unilever's handwash, hand sanitisers, soaps and household cleaning products to those in critical need during this period."

Georgette Tan, President of United Women Singapore said: "We would like to recognise Unilever for their generous contribution of antibacterial soap, cleaning products and supplements in support of our community partners during the trying COVID-19 situation. These products have been donated to Girls' Homes and Women's Shelters in Singapore. We need more kind, generous and community-minded organisations like Unilever."

Customers and suppliers

Unilever will offer EUR500m of cash flow relief to support livelihoods across its extended value chain, through:

  • Early payment for the 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 frontline 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."

Note to editors

Unilever's EUR100m donation of soap, sanitiser, food and bleach is based on the equivalent retail sales value.

About Unilever

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 150,000 employees and generated sales of EUR52 billion in 2019. Over half of the company's footprint is in developing and emerging markets. Unilever has around 400 brands found in homes all over the world, including Dove, Knorr, Dirt Is Good, Rexona, Hellmann's, Lipton, Wall's, Lux, Magnum, Axe, Sunsilk and Surf.

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.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com.

For more information on the USLP: www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/

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SOURCE Unilever