Inclusive business

This work supports the following UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • No Poverty
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Reduced Inequalities
  • Partnership For The Goals

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

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 2019, we bought raw materials and packaging materials worth €20 billion to make our products, and services worth €14 billion to help our business run.

We contribute through taxes, which help pay for the public goods and services that benefit society (PDF | 389KB). Total taxes borne by Unilever in 2019 were €3.9 billion, of which €2.5 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.

Our corporate community investment

Unilever’s community investment contributions, excluding management costs, totalled €77.9 million in 2018 (€81.1 million, including management costs). We will update our community investment figures for 2019 in May 2020.

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 during 2018, we increased our spend on Commercial Initiatives (39% in 2018 versus 30% 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.

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

Contact us

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

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