Since inception of one of its first brands, Sunlight soap, during a time where poverty and poor sanitation plagued early societies, Unilever’s founders revolutionized hygiene by employing locals to produce low-cost packaged soap. Ensuring accessibility while providing livelihood, this set a precedent for a purpose-driven business that has spanned generations.
The 90-year-old company has since manufactured and distributed well-loved household brands such as Dove, Knorr and many more, placing them in a position of both opportunity and responsibility to influence change for the society and the environment.
In line with its continuous global efforts to deliver value to its consumers, anchored on a strong sense of purpose, Unilever reported that its Sustainable Living brands—those that are ahead in terms of achieving the company’s sustainability goals, contributed 70% of its turnover growth last year. These brands grew faster than the rest of the business—outperforming Unilever’s average growth rate for the last four years.
The company has forged a culture of Malasakit (genuine concern for others) and strongly champions Diversity and Inclusion. Unilever announced implementation of a 120-day maternity leave and a 20-day paternity leave as well as the extension of health care benefits to same-sex partners. It has built a gender-balanced workforce with its Board of Directors leading by example as half of their leadership is represented by strong and able women.
Unilever actively engages its employees to Win with Purpose and firmly believes that when products meet social needs and help people live sustainably, brands become more relevant to consumers. Consequently, efficient management of resources, such as energy and raw materials, would lower costs and reduce the business risk, thus, creating opportunities to invest more in Sustainability.
All these are guided by the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP). Unilever envisions to grow its business while transforming lives through products and initiatives that help unlock potentials and address health challenges, while reducing overall impact to the environment.
With more consumers demanding for more sustainable products, Unilever has forged strategic partnerships with the local and national government, non-government organizations, academe, private sector, and consumers to strengthen its commitment to Sustainability and to move at scale towards its ambitious goals.
Its USLP commitment to reduce environmental footprint has demanded for more concrete solutions towards the global issues of energy sourcing and packaging waste. Globally, Unilever has set an ambitious target of being carbon positive by 2030, sourcing 100% of total energy across operations from renewable sources by such time. Unilever Philippines’ office is on track to meet targets in reducing consumption of water and energy, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.
Unilever’s local programs to address the waste issue include a community-based sachet recovery program, office and factory solid waste management programs, packaging innovations and collaboration with industry coalitions. Laying groundwork towards this goal, the company collaborates with stakeholders under various programs, including its own “Misis Walastik” program, that would allow for the sustainable recycling of plastic.
Unilever also strives to create a more inclusive, sustainable business through enabling smallholder farmers. To date, Unilever Philippines has supported thousands of smallholder farmers by strengthening their sustainable agricultural practices in an effort to supplement their income.
Unilever Philippines upholds the legacy of a business built on sustainability and that has deemed them worthy to receive recognition from Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability Awards as one of Asia’s Top Green Companies, ASIA CEO Awards as a Top CSR Company of the Year in 2018 and the HR Asia Awards 2019 as among the Best Companies to Work for in Asia.
Unilever Philippines forms part of a global network committed to making Sustainability commonplace. This is Winning with Purpose—key to this is a shared belief that what is good for the people and the planet is good for business.