Inclusive business

This work supports the following UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • No Poverty
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Reduced Inequalities
  • Partnership For The Goals
  1. Home
  2. ...
  3. Inclusive business
  4. Creating and sharing wealth

Creating and sharing wealth

Our business makes a significant contribution to societies and economies around the world. We generate equitable wealth and jobs, improve people's lives through our brands, transfer technology, and help train and develop people.

Cocoa farmers in Ghana

How our business is creating value

Shaking hands

Goods and services purchased by Unilever in 2018

Our products are sold in more than 190 countries, generating income and employment for the retailers and distributors who bring our brands to consumers. We also create value for suppliers – in 2018 we purchased €34 billion of goods and services.

We contribute through taxes, which help pay for the public goods and services that benefit society. Total taxes borne by Unilever in 2018 was €3.7 billion, of which €2.3 billion was corporation tax. We fully comply with the tax laws in the countries where we operate. Where the law is not clear, or has not kept pace with modern business practice, we interpret our tax obligations in a responsible manner, using our Tax Principles. Find out more about our approach to tax.

Distribution of value added in 2018

Distribution of cash value added

  1. Employees
  2. Governments
  3. Providers of capital
  4. Local communities (voluntary community contributions)
  5. Invested in business for future growth

Our corporate community investment

Unilever’s community investment contributions excluding management costs totalled €77.9 million in 2018 (€81.1 million including management costs). Our community investment strategy is aligned with our business priorities and strategy in support of our brands with purpose agenda and the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP). It is not based on the traditional model of charitable philanthropy.

In line with our strategy we have increased our spend on Commercial Initiatives (39% in 2018 versus 34% in 2017) designed to deliver positive social and environmental impact at the same time as growing our brands. We continue to invest in community activities that are strategically aligned to the USLP, accounting for 56% of community investment in 2018. Charitable donations made up the remaining 6% of spend. Our reporting of community investment is aligned with the LBG methodology for corporate community investment.

Community spend by motivation (2018)

Percentage (%) of total: €77.9 million

  1. Community investment
  2. Commercial initiatives in the community
  3. Charitable donations

Community spend by type of contribution (2018)

Percentage (%) of total: €81.1 million

  1. Cash
  2. In-kind
  3. Employee time
  4. Management costs

Measuring our socio-economic impacts

Over the past 16 years, we have conducted a number of quantitative and qualitative studies to evaluate the social and economic impact of our business. These include:

These studies have fed into our work to support smallholder farmers and small-scale retailers in our supply and distribution chains, and our global partnerships aimed at creating transformational change.

Back to top


We're always looking to connect with those who share an interest in a sustainable future.


Get in touch with Unilever and specialist teams in our headquarters, or find contacts around the world.

Contact us