Skip to content

Transformative partnership to help the world meet Sustainable Development Goals


Average read time: 6 minutes

UK’s Department for International Development, Unilever, and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership join forces to improve health and well-being for 100 million people in Africa and South Asia

Unilever logo building

New York, NY - In the week that the new Sustainable Development Goals are adopted, Justine Greening, UK Secretary of State for International Development (DFID), President Bill Clinton, Founder of the Clinton Foundation, and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, announce a new partnership – Transform - to create jobs, increase incomes, and improve the health and well-being of 100 million people in developing countries by 2025.

The Sustainable Development Goals commit to eradicating extreme poverty, fighting justice and inequality, and taking urgent action on climate change. The most recent figures show that 17 percent of people in the developing world still live at or below $1.25 a day[a] and an estimated 2.4 billion are without access to adequate sanitation.[b]

Transform will be a five year, minimum £10 million, initiative that will initially focus on water, sanitation and hygiene, with the potential to expand to household energy. It will identify and develop social business models that serve low-income households and contribute to the evidence base around behaviour change, with a focus on digital and mobile, to improve health and well-being on a large scale.

Transform is the first initiative to be launched since Unilever and DFID committed to working together to help the world’s poor in 2014 – the first partnership of its kind between a leading international business and DFID. The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP) joins the partnership as the first Initiative Level Partner, bringing its expertise in last-mile distribution.

All three organizations will engage their global teams across Africa and South Asia in a collaborative process to identify commercially viable investments, provide capital, and deliver technical expertise and capacity building to support Transform.

“Since 2008, CGEP has been empowering communities, farmers, and aspiring entrepreneurs in Latin America to lift themselves from poverty, create jobs for others, and scale-up these improvements to reach even more lives. Today’s announcement will enable us to expand this model to Africa, with the help, resources, and expertise of the U.K. Department for International Development, and Unilever. Through this innovative partnership, more and more people across Africa will be able to strengthen their livelihoods and improve their communities through cleaner water and sanitation,” said President Bill Clinton.

UK International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “This weekend the world will come together to adopt a new set of Global Goals to end extreme poverty over the next 15 years. We know that we will not achieve this with aid alone, which is why we need to unleash new finance, expertise and innovation to turbo charge development.

"Transform is a great example of the kind of partnership we need to do this, using the best in our resources, networks and know-how to boost social enterprises and change behaviour across Africa and Asia, creating jobs and improving the lives of millions of people.”

Paul Polman, CEO Unilever, said: “There is no business case for enduring poverty. The Sustainable Development Goals are a once in a lifetime opportunity to end poverty and tackle climate change. Through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan we have committed to realizing these goals across our supply chain – empowering women, enhancing the livelihoods of millions of workers and improving the health and well-being of more than a billion people. But, transformational change requires transformational partnerships. Delivering the goals can happen only if business, governments and civil society work together.”

“CGEP’s last-mile distribution enterprise models have the potential to provide work and income to countless numbers of women living in low-income communities in developing countries while providing fortified food and affordable products to hard-to-reach areas. By creating direct and frequent connections to their customers they are also well positioned to be effective in catalyzing positive changes in behaviour in the areas of health, sanitation, and nutrition,” said Frank Giustra, co-founder of CGEP.

A call for project proposals will be open, via Unilever’s Foundry platform, which was launched in 2014 as a hub to collaborate with innovative digital marketing startups. Today, that platform is being expanded to enable social entrepreneurs to engage and partner with Unilever. Please visit for further details.

Transform is open to all partners who can make a contribution to the overall success of the initiative, bringing complementary skills and expertise. For further information about becoming a partner please contact

Notes to editors

In 2014 the International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, signed a joint letter of intent with Unilever’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Polman, committing both organisations to work together to improve health, hygiene, and livelihoods for 100 million people in developing countries by 2025.

About DFID

The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty. We're ending the need for aid by creating jobs, unlocking the potential of girls and women and helping to save lives when humanitarian emergencies hit.

About the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership

The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP) established by President Bill Clinton and Canadian philanthropist Frank Giustra, combines the best of non-profit and for-profit approaches to create and replicate social enterprises that remove the barriers currently preventing hundreds of millions of people in poor communities from reaching their potential. CGEP believes there is great potential to enhance the economic and social benefits of marginalized communities by incorporating these individuals into one of three market-driven and sustainable enterprise models – Distribution, Supply Chain, and Training Center Enterprises. Through these models, CGEP seeks to help people work themselves out of poverty.

About the Clinton Foundation

The Clinton Foundation convenes businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for girls and women, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change. Because of our work, more than 29,000 American schools are providing kids with healthy food choices in an effort to eradicate childhood obesity; more than 85,000 farmers in Malawi, Rwanda, and Tanzania are benefiting from climate-smart agronomic training, higher yields, and increased market access; more than 33,500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced annually across the United States; over 350,000 people have been impacted through market opportunities created by social enterprises in Latin America, the Caribbean, and South Asia; through the independent Clinton Health Access Initiative, 9.9 million people in more than 70 countries have access to CHAI-negotiated prices for HIV/AIDS medications; 75 million people are benefiting from disease prevention efforts and investments in the U.S.; and members of the Clinton Global Initiative community have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.

Learn more at, on Facebook at and on Twitter @ClintonFdn.


World Bank, 2011 Last updated April 6 2015


WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation, Progress on sanitation and drinking water: 2015 update and MDG assessment, June 2015

Back to top