Skip to content

Unilever Global Change location


Annual Report and Accounts 2021 Highlights

We're delivering competitive growth by focusing on our Compass strategic choices.

Download our latest report

Find out more about our strategy and performance in 2021.

Annual Report and Accounts

We are Unilever

Our purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace.

A truly global business

We make household brands used by 3.4 billion consumers every day.

Read more about our business

Powered by our people

We are 148,000 people working in factories, labs, offices and homes around the world.

Read more about our people
Worker in Brazil

Purpose-led, future-fit

We are determined to prove that our purpose-led, future-fit business model delivers superior performance.

Read more about our business model

Our strategic choices for growth

The Unilever Compass is our strategy to deliver growth that is consistent, competitive, profitable and responsible.

Skip this section

1. Develop our portfolio into high growth spaces

An icon of a deodorant bottle, bar of soap and a tube of toothpaste

Recent acquisitions such as Paula’s Choice supported strong growth of our Prestige beauty business.

An illustration of a bowl and spoon

Our Functional nutrition portfolio grew through the strength of brands such as Horlicks, Olly, Liquid I.V. and Onnit.

A leaf icon

We continued to step up our plant-based offering through the Vegetarian Butcher, Hellmann’s and our ice cream brands such as Magnum.

Skip this section

2. Win with our brands as a force for good, powered by purpose and innovation

An icon of boiling beaker

Our innovation programme helped to deliver €1 billion in incremental turnover.

Market research icon

Product superiority in tests versus our competition is now over 70% of tested turnover.

A graph icon

We have 13 brands – also among our most purposeful – with sales in excess of €1 billion which make up over half of our total turnover.

Skip this section

3. Accelerate in USA, India, China and key growth markets

Icon of the world with USA in focus

The US grew 3.7%, supported by breakthrough innovations from our purposeful brands and scaling our recently acquired brands.

Icon of the world with India in focus

India grew 13.4%, building scale in new categories and through market development and premiumisation.

Icon of the world with China in focus

China grew 14.3%, by transforming our portfolio into high growth spaces and increasing sales through eCommerce channels.

Skip this section

4. Lead in the channels of the future

An icon of online shopping

We’re increasingly organising our business for eCommerce – sales grew by 44% and now represent 13% of our turnover.

icon of an ice cream

We’re capitalising on the trend for quick commerce. Our Ice Cream Now platform for instant ice cream delivery grew by 60%.

An icon of a small shop

We’re using digital sales platforms, such as Shikhar in India and Compra Agora in Brazil, to grow sales with our retail customers.

Skip this section

5. Build a purpose-led, future-fit organisation and growth culture

An icon of a woman walking up steps

Purpose is at the heart of our culture, helping us attract the best people. We’re the number one FMCG employer of choice for graduates and early career talent in over 50 markets.

An icon of a person with stars surrounding them

We’re rethinking how we work as an employer. Our AI-powered internal talent marketplace, Flex, helped us redeploy over 110,000 hours to around 1,300 critical projects.

An icon of a woman working at a desk

We’re upskilling and reskilling our people for jobs of the future. Our people accessed the Degreed learning platform over 4.2 million times.

Our 2021 performance highlights

Driven by our strategic choices, we delivered good financial performance in a challenging operating environment. Alongside this, we made encouraging early progress against our Compass sustainability commitments – many of which run to 2025 and beyond. Our Annual Report contains further commentary on our performance.

  • Group increase icon

    Unilever Group

  • 52.4 bn Turnover 2020: €50.7bn

  • 4.5 % Underlying sales growth 2020: 1.9%

  • 18.4 % Underlying operating margin 2020: 18.5%

  • 6.4 bn Free cash flow 2020: €7.7bn

  • Hands holding a leaf icon

    Improve the health of the planet

  • -64 % Reduction in our operational GHG emissions since 2015

  • 79 % Proportion of key agricultural crops sustainably sourced

  • -16 % Reduction in our use of virgin plastic since 2018

  • 53 % Percentage of our plastic packaging that is reusable, recyclable or compostable

  • A hand holding a heart icon

    Improve people’s health, confidence and wellbeing

  • 41 % Percentage of our portfolio that delivers positive nutrition

  • 63 % Percentage of our portfolio meeting WHO-aligned nutritional standards

  • 89 % Percentage of our packaged ice creams containing <22g of sugar per serving

  • 686 m People reached through our brands to improve health & wellbeing, and equity & inclusion

  • Holding hands icon

    Contribute to a fairer, more socially inclusive world

  • 445 m Spend with diverse businesses owned by under-represented groups

  • 7 % Percentage of employees reskilled or upskilled

Skip this section

Disclaimers