Unilever’s manufacturing site in Hefei, China, joins the WEF’s renowned Global Lighthouse Network

London / Rotterdam - Today Unilever announced that its manufacturing site in Hefei, China, has been recognized as an ‘Advanced 4th Industrial Revolution Lighthouse’ by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in collaboration with McKinsey & Co. This is the second Unilever site to achieve the prestigious status.

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The Global Lighthouse Network is a community of certified manufacturing sites that are leading in the digital industrial technology space. The network demonstrates leadership in using Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to transform business operations and advance innovative manufacturing methods.

Hefei Industrial Park is Unilever’s largest production base in the world, manufacturing around 10 million units a day for brands such as Dove, Clear and Lux. The Hefei site has been operating for nearly 20 years and three years ago, it began its digital transformation. This year, the need to address the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated this process.

The site now has a digital end-to-end ecosystem, deploying AI across the production process. Advanced technology has allowed some operators to work from home during lockdown. For example, production lines were re-engineered to allow them to be run remotely and digital performance management was leveraged, a process which monitors productivity and enables timely and digital interventions. The result is an agile production process, improved productivity and increased automation, all of which have helped contribute to safety and efficiency.

Yong-mei Ma, Site Director - Home and Personal Care Greater China, said: “It’s a huge honour for Unilever Hefei to be recognised by the World Economic Forum as a leader in digital production sites. A flexible, strategic and agile approach to logistics has allowed the site to continue manufacturing and supplying essential products to people at a time of global supply chain pressures. Our site’s digitalisation means we are now better equipped with an array of new technical skills. I’m very proud of our site team’s dedication and adaptiveness, working at incredible speed, to make this digital transformation possible.”

Notes to Editors

The first Unilever site to be awarded ‘Lighthouse’ status was our manufacturing site in Dubai in January this year.

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Where relevant, these actions are subject to the appropriate consultations and approvals.

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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; inability to find sustainable solutions to support long-term growth; the effect of climate change on Unilever's business; customer relationships; the recruitment and retention of talented employees; disruptions in our supply chain; the cost of raw materials and commodities; the production of safe and high quality products; secure and reliable IT infrastructure; successful execution of acquisitions, divestitures and business transformation projects; economic and political risks and natural disasters; financial risks; failure to meet high and ethical standards; and managing regulatory, tax and legal matters. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. 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 herein 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 2019 and the Unilever Annual Report and Accounts 2019.

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