Annual Report & Accounts 2011
Creating a better future every day
Slideshow highlighting key case studies relating to Unilever strategy showing, man conducting quality-control inspection on tomatoes, children washing their hands with Lifebuoy soap, Shakti woman with box of Clear products, Unilever employee accessing products on production line in new South African factory and Unilever employee standing beside a Blue Band branded sales truck.
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Unilever buys around 3% of the world's tomatoes for processing.
Knorr grows green
Knorr is one of our biggest brands and uses ingredients that are sourced from all over the world. We made the decision to source all Knorr's ingredients sustainably to reduce the impact on the environment while enhancing the taste of our products. We aim to have all our top 13 vegetables and herbs grown sustainably by 2015 – one step in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan's commitment to source all Unilever's agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020.
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Pneumonia and diarrhoea are two of the biggest causes of deaths among children under five years old, accounting for one third of child deaths.◇ Handwashing with soap is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent this.
Lifebuoy helps save lives
To help achieve a core commitment of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, the Lifebuoy brand has launched a programme to bring hygiene education to a billion people. It's called the School of Five and it's already been launched in seven countries where we're working with governments and NGOs to get across our vital message of developing a habit of washing hands on five occasions a day. In Vietnam it's even become part of the school curriculum. The results are healthier children and 4.1% volume growth for Lifebuoy in Vietnam.
Our door-to-door selling operation in India provides opportunities for better livelihoods, helping communities and our business.
Growing business, growing livelihoods
Project Shakti – meaning 'strength' in Sanskrit – is our distribution programme in India, creating opportunities for micro-entrepreneurs to sell our products in rural areas, enabling them to bring in extra money to support their families and earn respect within society. We employ around 45,000 female entrepreneurs, helping our brands reach over 100,000 villages. In addition, more than 30,000 male members of Shakti families are now involved, cycling to surrounding villages to sell Unilever products. As well as supporting the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan’s goal to enhance livelihoods, local distribution programmes such as this have added around €80 million in incremental turnover.
Through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan we have set new standards for sustainability in the design and build of our new factories.
Growing fast, and sustainably
The Indonsa factory in Durban, South Africa, which opened in December, turned a flat-level site into an operational plant producing savoury brands like Knorr within 12 months. An investment of around €70 million, Indonsa aims to produce half the greenhouse gas emissions of the previous site and achieve zero waste to landfill. Critical in water-stressed Durban, it is 'water neutral' as it uses rainwater harvesting and recycling techniques to avoid taking water from the local community.
Constantly looking for effective ways to help grow sales and increase pride in the business is key to success.
Change in our hands: Tanzania
Unilever uses trucks to sell shop-to-shop to retailers in Tanzania's capital, Dar es Salaam. When company driver Issa John Mgumba saw that the sales vehicles didn't look the part, he identified the opportunity to smarten them up, transforming them into a fleet that he and his colleagues would be proud to drive. Improvements included enlivening the vehicles with vinyl stickers – costing just €300 in total – that grab people's attention and promote Unilever's brands. Small actions like Issa's all add up to making a big difference, helping to grow our business wherever we are. "He feels that he really owns the business with a real stake in the long-term success of the company," said country Customer Development Manager Martin Kariuki.
Creating a better future every day
We work to create a better future every day.
We help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others. We will inspire people to take small, everyday actions that can add up to a big difference for the world. We will develop new ways of doing business with the aim of doubling the size of our company while reducing our environmental impact.
Our business model is designed to deliver sustainable growth. We are living in a world where temperatures are rising, water is scarce, energy is expensive, sanitation is poor, and food supplies are volatile and uncertain. We have to develop products that enable people to live well in a resource-stressed world, and encourage behaviour and habits that help them to live sustainably.
For us, sustainability is integral to our way of doing business. Executed well, it will be a powerful driver of business growth and is a core competence for any successful company.
Examples of our brands delivering sustainable growth
Provides people with safe and affordable drinking water where supplies are of poor quality, and without the need for gas, electricity or a pressurised supply.
Goes to extraordinary lengths to provide great-tasting products which help people to prepare delicious and nutritious meals for their families every day.
Is committed to sourcing all its tea sustainably to help conserve the environment and improve the livelihoods of tea workers, their families and communities.
Helps women to realise their personal potential for beauty and encourages men to take better care of themselves by engaging them with products that deliver superior care.
Comfort One Rinse
Saves up to 30 litres of water per wash for the millions of people who do their laundry by hand in water-scarce countries.
The brand names shown in this report are trademarks owned by or licensed to companies within the Unilever Group. This document contains certain statements that are neither reported financial results nor other historical information. These statements are forward-looking statements, including within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those disclosed in our forward-looking statements. For a description of factors that could affect future results, reference should be made to the full 'Cautionary statement' and to the section entitled 'Risks'. For information about our non-GAAP measures, see the 'Financial review' section. In our report we make reference to Unilever’s website. Information on our website is not incorporated herein and does not form part of this document. This Annual Report comprises regulated information within the meaning of sections 1:1 and 5:25c of the Act on Financial Supervision ("Wet op het financieel toezicht (Wft)") in the Netherlands.