“Our performance in 2020 reaffirmed the strength of our brands and the resilience of our portfolio.”

Alan Jope, Unilever CEO

The events of 2020 have tested the world in ways few anticipated. They also tested the resilience of our business – our people, our operations, our financial strength. While this has not been an easy year, it’s made us a stronger business, better prepared for a fast-changing world.

We believe that the world needs businesses like Unilever more than ever. We have responded with speed and agility to protect lives and livelihoods, while growing our business. Driving a progressive agenda on issues like climate, social inequality and the future of work. And serving consumers through our purposeful brands, which are more relevant than ever.

Above all, this year has strengthened our commitment to being the global leader in sustainable business, and to showing that our purpose-led, future-fit business model delivers superior performance.

Financial performance

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Turnover growth

Turnover growth averaged (0.9)% over five years

(2.4%) 2020
2.0% 2019
(5.1%) 2018

Underlying sales growth*

Underlying sales growth averaged 2.9% over five years

1.9% 2020
2.9% 2019
3.2% 2018

Underlying volume growth*

Underlying volume growth averaged 1.3% over five years

1.6% 2020
1.2% 2019
1.9% 2018

Operating margin

16.4% 2020
16.8% 2019
24.8% 2018

Underlying operating margin*

18.5% 2020
19.1% 2019
18.6% 2018

Free cash flow*

€7.7bn 2020
€6.1bn 2019
€5.4bn 2018

Cash flow from operating activities

€10.9bn 2020
€10.6bn 2019
€9.6bn 2018

Cash flow (used in)/from investing activities

(€1.5)bn 2020
(€2.2)bn 2019
€4.6bn 2018

Cash flow (used in)/from financing activities

(€5.8)bn 2020
(€4.7)bn 2019
(€12.1)bn 2018

Turnover

€21.1bn 2020
€21.9bn 2019
€20.6bn 2018

Turnover growth

(3.4%) 2020
6.0% 2019
(0.3%) 2018

Underlying sales growth

1.2% 2020
2.6% 2019
3.4% 2018

Operating margin

20.4% 2020
20.7% 2019
20.2% 2018

Underlying operating margin

21.7% 2020
22.7% 2019
22.0% 2018

Turnover

€19.1bn 2020
€19.3bn 2019
€20.2bn 2018

Turnover growth

(0.8%) 2020
(4.6%) 2019
(9.9%) 2018

Underlying sales growth

1.3% 2020
1.5% 2019
2.2% 2018

Operating margin

14.4% 2020
14.6% 2019
36.0% 2018

Underlying operating margin

17.0% 2020
17.5% 2019
17.7% 2018

Turnover

€10.5bn 2020
€10.8bn 2019
€10.1bn 2018

Turnover growth

(3.4%) 2020
6.9% 2019
(4.2%) 2018

Underlying sales growth

4.5% 2020
6.1% 2019
4.7% 2018

Operating margin

11.9% 2020
12.7% 2019
11.7% 2018

Underlying operating margin

14.5% 2020
14.8% 2019
13.3% 2018

* Key Financial Indicators.Link back to Financial performance table

Underlying sales growth, underlying volume growth, underlying operating margin and free cash flow are non-GAAP measures. For further information about these measures, and the reasons why we believe they are important for an understanding of the performance of the business, please refer to our commentary on non-GAAP measures on pages 39 to 43 in the Unilever 2020 Annual Report and Accounts.


Non-financial performance

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Improving Health & Wellbeing


Health & hygiene

Target: By 2020 we will help more than a billion people to improve their health and hygiene. This will help reduce the incidence of life-threatening diseases like diarrhoea(a)

1 billion Target
625 million 2020 on ground reach
615 million 2019 on ground reach
570 million 2018 on ground reach
715 million 2020 TV reach
710 million 2019 TV reach
670 million 2018 TV reach

Nutrition

Target: By 2020 we will double (i.e. up to 60%) the proportion of our portfolio that meets the Highest Nutritional Standards, based on globally recognised dietary guidelines

60% Target
61% 2020
56% 2019
48% 2018

** Key Non-Financial Indicators.Link back to Unilever Sustainable Living Plan table
† PwC assured in 2020. For details and 2020 basis of preparation see www.unilever.com/investor-relations/annual-report-and-accountsLink back to Unilever Sustainable Living Plan table
◊ PwC assured in 2019. For details and 2019 basis of preparation see www.unilever.com/planet-and-society/sustainability-reporting-centre/reporting-archiveLink back to Unilever Sustainable Living Plan table
Δ PwC assured in 2018. For details and 2018 basis of preparation see www.unilever.com/planet-and-society/sustainability-reporting-centre/reporting-archiveLink back to Unilever Sustainable Living Plan table
(a) The number of people reached through TV advertisements and programmes aimed at encouraging health and hygiene behaviour change (‘TV reach’) includes Signal, Dove and Lifebuoy.Link back to Unilever Sustainable Living Plan table
(b) We have restated the change in our GHG emissions ‘per consumer use’ for prior years as a result of incorporating new data relating to the usage of our products, which changed the estimated GHG emissions in our 2010 baseline. See page 56 of the 2020 Annual Report and Accounts for more information.Link back to Unilever Sustainable Living Plan table
(c) Brackets around our GHG, waste and water footprints indicate that we have reduced our footprints by the numbers quoted.Link back to Unilever Sustainable Living Plan table
(d) Target approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.Link back to Unilever Sustainable Living Plan table
(e) Restated from 0.20 kg/tonne of production due to a classification error during the data reporting process.Link back to Unilever Sustainable Living Plan table
(f) 2019 Total Recordable Frequency Rate (TRFR) included for the first time all acquisitions which operate as decentralised business units, as we now have processes in place to collect the data. Had we included these acquisitions in 2018, our reported TRFR would have been approximately 6% higher.Link back to Unilever Sustainable Living Plan table
(g) Around 592,000 women have accessed initiatives under both the Inclusive business and the Opportunities for women pillars in 2020.Link back to Unilever Sustainable Living Plan table

Disclaimers

Legal notice relating to material on this page

The material on this Unilever Annual Report and Accounts Overview webpage (the "Material") relates to the year ended 31 December 2020 and is provided for general information only. The Material does not (i) form part of the Unilever Annual Report and Accounts 2020 or Annual Report on Form 20-F 2020; or (ii) contain sufficient information to allow as full an understanding of the results and the state of affairs of Unilever as the Unilever Annual Report and Accounts 2020 or Annual Report on Form 20-F 2020.

As such this Material should not be relied upon or used as the basis for making voting or investment decisions without consulting the full Unilever Annual Report and Accounts 2020 or Annual Report on Form 20-F 2020 and other more complete or up-to-date sources of information. Information relating to Unilever's results for current and prior periods do not necessarily reflect future trends, nor do they provide indicators of results for like periods.

This Material is not intended to be and shall not be deemed to be an invitation or inducement to invest in or otherwise deal in any securities of the Unilever Group or in any other investment, nor to provide or constitute any advice or recommendation in connection with any investment decision, nor to constitute an offer to provide services in any jurisdiction in which the Unilever Group is not permitted to do so under any applicable law or regulation.

Cautionary statement

The material on this website may contain forward-looking statements, including ‘forward-looking statements’ within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as ‘will’, ‘aim’, ‘expects’, ‘anticipates’, ‘intends’, ‘looks’, ‘believes’, ‘vision’, or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results, and their negatives, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Unilever Group (the ‘Group’). They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance.

Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Among other risks and uncertainties, the material or principal factors which could cause actual results to differ materially are: Unilever’s global brands not meeting consumer preferences; Unilever’s ability to innovate and remain competitive; Unilever’s investment choices in its portfolio management; the effect of climate change on Unilever’s business; Unilever’s ability to find sustainable solutions to its plastic packaging; significant changes or deterioration in customer relationships; the recruitment and retention of talented employees; disruptions in our supply chain and distribution; increases or volatility in the cost of raw materials and commodities; the production of safe and high quality products; secure and reliable IT infrastructure; execution of acquisitions, divestitures and business transformation projects; economic, social and political risks and natural disasters; financial risks; failure to meet high and ethical standards; and managing regulatory, tax and legal matters. A number of these risks have increased as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic.

These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of the document in which they are set out. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained in material on this website to reflect any change in the Group’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group’s filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the Annual Report on Form 20-F 2020 and the Unilever Annual Report and Accounts 2020.

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