We are Unilever
Our purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace.
Powered by our people
Our strategic choices for growth
The Unilever Compass is our strategy to deliver growth that is consistent, competitive, profitable and responsible.
Recent acquisitions such as Paula’s Choice supported strong growth of our Prestige beauty business.
Our Functional nutrition portfolio grew through the strength of brands such as Horlicks, Olly, Liquid I.V. and Onnit.
We continued to step up our plant-based offering through the Vegetarian Butcher, Hellmann’s and our ice cream brands such as Magnum.
Our innovation programme helped to deliver €1 billion in incremental turnover.
Product superiority in tests versus our competition is now over 70% of tested turnover.
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.
The US grew 3.7%, supported by breakthrough innovations from our purposeful brands and scaling our recently acquired brands.
India grew 13.4%, building scale in new categories and through market development and premiumisation.
China grew 14.3%, by transforming our portfolio into high growth spaces and increasing sales through eCommerce channels.
We’re increasingly organising our business for eCommerce – sales grew by 44% and now represent 13% of our turnover.
We’re capitalising on the trend for quick commerce. Our Ice Cream Now platform for instant ice cream delivery grew by 60%.
We’re using digital sales platforms, such as Shikhar in India and Compra Agora in Brazil, to grow sales with our retail customers.
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.
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.
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.
- € 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
- - 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
- 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
- € 445 m Spend with diverse businesses owned by under-represented groups
- 7 % Percentage of employees reskilled or upskilled
Underlying sales growth, underlying operating margin and free cash flow: These 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 of our 2021 Annual Report and Accounts.
Sustainable sourcing: This is a new metric which reflects the revised scope of our sustainable sourcing programmes. Previously reported sustainable sourcing metrics are not comparable.
Virgin plastic: For the vast majority of products in scope, we have used the actual weight of plastic packaging sold to calculate this metric. For the remainder, we estimate the weight using the average packaging weight of similar products. For our 2018 baseline, we calculated the weight of plastic packaging sold for around half of products in scope. For the remainder, we estimated the weight of packaging sold by extrapolation using sales volumes.
Nutritional standards: This metric was subject to external independent limited assurance by PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP (‘PwC’) in 2021. For PwC's 2021 Limited Assurance report and the 2021 Unilever Basis of Preparation for assured metrics see .
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The material on this Unilever Annual Report and Accounts Highlights webpage (the "Material") relates to the year ended 31 December 2021 and is provided for general information only. The Material does not (i) form part of the Unilever Annual Report and Accounts 2021 or Annual Report on Form 20-F 2021; 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 2021 or Annual Report on Form 20-F 2021.
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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.
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This document also contains data on the Group’s Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. Scope 1 and 2 emissions data is relatively easy to gather as it relates to emissions from the Group’s own activities and supplied heat, power and cooling. Scope 3 emissions relate to other organisations’ emissions and is therefore subject to a range of uncertainties, including that data used to model lifecycle footprints is typically industry-standard data rather than relating to individual suppliers; lifecycle models such as the Group’s cover many but not all products and markets; and international standards and protocols governing emissions calculations and categorisations evolve, as do accepted norms regarding terminology such as carbon neutral and net zero. As value chain emissions data improves, shifting over time from generic modelled data to more specific data, the data reported in this document is likely to evolve.
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 2021.
This document is not prepared in accordance with US GAAP and should not therefore be relied upon by readers as such. The Annual Report on Form 20-F 2021 is separately filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and is available on our corporate website.