Enhancing livelihoods

Unilever's work on enhancing livelihoods supports

8 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Select one of the goals to find out how we're taking action in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Find out how we’re realising the business opportunity from the SDGs
Climate Action

Climate Action

Few now seriously challenge the need for urgent action on climate change – from greening the grid to eliminating deforestation. Thanks to the Paris Agreement, nearly 200 countries are pressing ahead with low-carbon reforms, helping to open up around $23 trillion in opportunities for climate-smart investments by 2030. Investing to eliminate carbon emissions from our operations is the smart choice for Unilever, reducing costs and risk. For example, our eco-efficiency savings have avoided cumulative energy costs of over €490 million since 2008.

We have already increased the amount of energy purchased from renewable sources and aim to eliminate coal from our energy mix by 2020 – with an ambition to become carbon positive by 2030, making the surplus energy available to the markets and communities where we operate.

Unilever has long recognised the interdependency of climate and forests. We helped lead the Consumer Goods Forum towards a zero-deforestation commitment across four commodities, including palm oil. We are tackling deforestation in the palm oil industry through our own sustainable palm oil commitment and partnerships. We have committed to invest up to $25 million between 2018 and 2022 to support sustainable commodity projects via the &Green fund. Our investment will focus on smallholder palm oil farmers in Indonesia, thereby securing the supply of sustainable palm oil.

In support of enhanced disclosure of climate risk, Unilever has committed to implement the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure recommendations, including the impact of 2°C and 4°C global warming scenarios.

Our Big Goal Enhancing livelihoods for millions
By 2020 we will enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business.

Enhancing livelihoods

Our performance

In 2019 we continued to make progress across the three pillars of our Enhancing Livelihoods goal – Fairness in the Workplace, Opportunities for Women and Inclusive Business.

8 We continued to embed human rights focusing on the 8 salient issues in our human rights report
70% of procurement spend through suppliers meeting mandatory requirements of our responsible sourcing policy
We continued to work on our fair compensation framework which includes our commitment to a living wage
81,000 employees across 75 countries enrolled in our Lamplighter health programme
0.76 per million. Safety performance improved to 0.76 accidents per million hours worked (Total recordable frequency rate)
2.34 million women enabled to access initiatives aiming to promote safety, develop skills and expand opportunities
51% of managers are female
We enabled access to initiatives aiming to improve agricultural practices or increase incomes for:
793,000 smallholder farmers
1.8 million small-scale retailers
Key:
Achieved
On-plan
Off-plan
% Of target achieved

Our approach

Our business contributes to the economic livelihoods of many people and communities across our value chain. In developing and emerging markets, we have an even greater impact. Our supplier and distribution networks involve millions of smallholder farmers, distributors and retailers, many of whom are women.

We want to deliver both business growth and positive social impact. We are embedding human rights across our business and are using the power of our brands to advocate important social issues such as gender equality to our consumers. We’re also working with small-scale retailers and smallholder farmers to improve livelihoods.

Three pillars of our Plan support our big goal to enhance livelihoods for millions. These commitments are fundamental to the way we aspire to do business and support our continued growth.

Our approach, which directly supports a number of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, focuses on:

  • Driving fairness in the workplace – by implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights throughout our operations, and working with suppliers who commit to promote fundamental human rights
  • Advancing opportunities for women – empowering millions of women by advancing opportunities for women in our operations, promoting safety, providing up-skilling and expanding opportunities in our retail value chain. And challenging the harmful gender norms that can hold women back
  • Developing an inclusive business – by improving the agricultural practices of smallholder farmers and the incomes of small-scale retailers.

In order to achieve these commitments, we need to work in our own operations, through our extended supply chain and our distribution channels. We want to see fairness in the workplace, opportunities for women and inclusive business as standard in the business world and aim to work in partnership to create wider movement in the industry.

 Independently assured by PwC 

ж Around 568,000 women accessed initiatives under both the Inclusive Business and the Opportunities for Women pillars in 2019.

Enhancing livelihoods pillars

Fairness in the workplace

Worker on production line

We're taking action on human rights, fair compensation and health and safety, to ensure the well-being of all who work with us.

Opportunities for women

Women working at Unilever

We aim to challenge harmful gender norms and empower women by working with our brands, value chain and partners across industry and society.

Inclusive business

Inclusive business pillar

We’re committed to improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and supporting small-scale retailers.

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