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UN Sustainable Development Goals

The SDGs are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a better world. Our scale and reach mean we can both contribute to, and benefit from them.


The Global Goals for Sustainable Development

An action plan for the world

Business must serve society. But today's form of capitalism is leaving too many people behind. The gap between the haves and the have-nots is rising, the planet is under severe strain, and trust in institutions continues to remain low.

Many are arguing that a more inclusive form of capitalism is sorely needed.

We agree. We believe that it is not possible to achieve long-term business success in a world which contains poverty, hunger and climate change. But can business really help drive a reboot of the current system? At Unilever, we think the answer is 'yes'.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), launched by the United Nations in 2015, are an excellent vehicle for driving this change. They represent an action plan for the planet and society to thrive by 2030. They address poverty, hunger and climate change, among other issues central to human progress and sustainable development, such as gender equality, clean water and sanitation, and responsible consumption and production.

Spotlight

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There from the start, committed to the end

We contributed to the development of the SDGs, recognising their strategic importance to our business, and to the world – and we're committed to helping achieve them.

2012: Our former CEO, Paul Polman, served on the UN’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, seeking to ensure that the voice of business was included.

2014: Unilever co-ordinated the development of a Post-2015 Business Manifesto, endorsed by more than 20 leading international companies, laying out a vision for strengthening the ability of business to substantially help achieve the SDGs.

2015: The UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

2016: Former CEO Paul Polman began serving on the UN Secretary-General’s Advocacy Group for the Global Goals.

2017: Unilever co-founded the Business & Sustainable Development Commission in 2016, culminating in the launch of a seminal report in 2017, Better Business, Better World, on the business case for action on the SDGs.

2018: We agreed a partnership with UNDP specifically aimed at collaborations that will help achieve the SDGs in Bangladesh. A key element will be delivered through our Pureit brand, helping to ensure safe drinking water for Bangladeshis, in support of clean water and sanitation (SDG6).

Changing our business. Changing how business is done.

We have long recognised that the only business model for Unilever is one in which the planet and society thrive. That’s why in 2010, well before the SDGs came into being, we launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP). It is our blueprint for sustainable growth, which responds to the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly resource-constrained and unequal world.

Our vision for a new way of doing business is one that delivers growth by serving society and the planet. By inspiring every brand, in every country, to make a positive social impact and reduce our environmental footprint, the USLP harnesses our scale and influence to help bring about a better world.

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A unique opportunity

We're convinced that achieving the SDGs will be good for the global economy, and for business in general. The opportunities that this transformation creates will be enormous – market opportunities of up to US$12 trillion a year, and up to 380 million new jobs by 2030, according to the Business & Sustainable Development Commission (PDF | 6MB).

Companies have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to embrace the SDGs as a driver of societal change and business growth. If they fail to get behind systems change and the kind of inclusive capitalism needed to achieve the SDGs, the costs and uncertainty of doing business will swell. On the other hand, if a critical mass of companies joins the movement for system change, it will create an unstoppable force.

We don’t pretend it will be easy. Change never is. Nor do we claim to have arrived there yet. But we are on the journey, and we hope that many other companies will also seize the opportunities that the SDGs present. By using our resources to address issues such as nutrition, sanitation, hygiene, and climate change, we are delivering short-term and long-term benefits for shareholders as well as society.

Partnerships on the path to 2030

To achieve the goals, and benefit from them, we know the transformation has to begin with ourselves. The USLP is driving change within our business. Many of the goals of the USLP are closely related to the SDGs – and so action on the USLP contributes to the SDGs. In our Sustainable Living Report, we show where the strongest connections are, and where we are making the biggest contribution.

At the same time, we know that the actions of a single business acting alone will not create the systemic change that's needed to achieve the vision set out by the SDGs. So, alongside our USLP, we're working on global and local partnerships that aim to transform current business models to address poverty, inequality and environmental challenges.

The SDGs are not 17 individual goals. They are a universal agenda with 17 inter-connected goals. Progress in one goal can both depend on and unlock progress in another – and interconnected goals require an interconnected approach

Rebecca Marmot, Global Vice President, Advocacy and Partnerships

UN Global Goals

In 2017, we mapped the SDGs to the nine pillars of the USLP – with 14 having a strong and direct link. Further information on how we are taking action on these SDGs can be found throughout our Sustainable Living Report. For completeness, we have outlined our contribution to all the SDGs below.

SDG1: No poverty

No Poverty

While the global poverty rate has halved since 2000, 800 million people worldwide continue to live below the international poverty line of $1.90 a day. Building the incomes and economic resilience of people living in extreme poverty will underpin the success of all the SDGs – and play a key part in unlocking the estimated $12 trillion in market opportunities (PDF | 5.8MB) that entails. We know that our future success relies on growing economies and a widening consumer base. There is simply no business case for the alternative: enduring poverty.

Our products are sold in more than 190 countries, generating income and employment for retailers and distributors who bring our brands to consumers. We have an opportunity to increase millions of people's economic opportunities and enhance their livelihoods while strengthening our own sales and supply networks.

Our USLP target is to positively impact the lives of 5.5 million people by improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers who supply major brands such as Lipton, Wall's, Magnum and Ben & Jerry's and improving the incomes of small-scale retailers.

Inclusive distribution models – including Shakti in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nigeria and most recently Colombia – and our retailer training programmes such as Kabisig in the Philippines – are designed to unlock potential by enabling women, in particular, to boost their incomes while increasing the reach of our sales networks and supporting our growth.

At the same time, we're committed to ensuring our employees receive a living wage and all workers in our supply chain are paid a fair wage (PDF | 5MB) in line with our Responsible Sourcing Policy.

SDG2: Zero hunger

Zero Hunger

Around 800 million people are undernourished globally and an estimated 155 million children under five years old are stunted. Hunger at these levels, in a world where one-third of food is never eaten, is a humanitarian and economic crisis – malnutrition has lasting effects on the development of individuals and societies.

Our vision is foods and refreshment that taste good, feel good and are a force for good. Through brand programmes such as Knorr's partnerships with the World Food Programme and others, we're aiming to provide more than 200 billion servings – each with at least one of the five key micronutrients – by 2022. And we're committed to doubling the proportion of our portfolio that meets the Highest Nutritional Standards, from 30% to 60%, based on globally-recognised dietary guidelines – we'd reached 48% by 2018.

But we believe we can make an even bigger contribution when we work with others to help transform the global food system. So, we’re working with organisations such as the World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture and the SDG2 Advocacy Hub, to build public awareness and advocate food system reform. We also play a leading role in the Food Reform for Sustainability and Health (FReSH) Coalition and the Food and Land Use Coalition. We’ve also committed to halving food waste by 2025 and have signed a commitment to switch to a standardised system of food expiry dates by 2020.

SDG3: Good health and well-being

Good health and wellbeing

Despite major advances in recent decades, millions of people die each year from preventable causes. These deaths often occur disproportionately in the world's developing regions. The lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene, for example, contributes to the deaths of more than 1.4 million children under five each year from diarrhoea and pneumonia (see also SDG6).

At the same time, ill-health, whether mental or physical, can prevent individuals reaching their full potential, with a knock-on effect on their communities and economies.

Many of our best-known brands – including Lifebuoy, Domestos and Signal – are driving our USLP commitment to help more than 1 billion people take action to improve their health and well-being. By the end of 2018, we had reached 1.24 billion people, achieving our 2020 target two years ahead of schedule: 653 million of whom through on-ground programmes and 587 million through TV reach on handwashing.

Lifebuoy's handwashing programme also achieved its 2020 target by the end of 2018, reaching 1 billion people: 459 million people through its on-ground programmes and 587 million through TV reach.* Domestos is working to improve access to sanitation through a combination of partnerships, market-based models and advocacy. And Signal/Pepsodent is promoting oral health, reaching 83.5 million people by 2018 to encourage better brushing habits.

Our safety, health and well-being programmes are helping to improve the health of our employees. In 2018, we achieved our lowest-ever number of recorded injuries since we began reporting. But we will not stop trying to improve until we reach zero accidents.

We also aim to improve safety and health more widely. This includes a focus on tackling HIV/AIDS in our workplaces in Africa, where the incidence of HIV at our sites is now below the average and the mortality rate has dropped by up to 50%.

SDG4: Quality education

Quality Education

Many of the targets of SDG4 focus on ensuring that people receive equal access to education – throughout their lives. This means eliminating gender disparities in education, among other barriers, and providing people with skills and training that contribute to sustainable development.

Using education to remove the barriers faced by people in their daily lives plays a huge role in the USLP – and we see it as a critical element in our future growth. Empowering women, in particular, is key to our future prosperity and the achievement of the SDGs.

We're committed to enhancing access to training and skills for women throughout our value chain – and by 2018, we had enabled around 1.72 million women to access initiatives aiming to develop their skills. Brands including Radiant, Sunsilk, TRESemmé and Dove are playing a vital role – giving women confidence, skills and entrepreneurial training through a range of programmes. Our programmes to support small-scale retailers with training and skills – reaching 1.73 million people by 2018 – include Shakti and Kabisig, which focus on unlocking the potential of women.

At the same time, as another part of building a more inclusive business, we have enabled over 746,000 smallholder farmers, many of whom are women working in the tea sector, to access initiatives aiming to improve their agricultural practices. In 2018 we increased our reach through the expansion of existing smallholder programmes such as the Turkey Tea Suppliers Initiative, Tea Sri Lanka, the trustea Smallholder Farmers Initiative in India and the Palm Oil Smallholder Initiative.

SDG5: Gender equality

Gender Equality

According to McKinsey, as much as $28 trillion could be added to the global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. However, based on current trends, the World Economic Forum predicts that it will take 202 years for the economic gender gap to close - and 107 years to achieve political equality.

Addressing gender equality is therefore both a moral and an economic imperative. For Unilever, gender equality and women's empowerment deliver tangible business benefits by widening the pool of experience and expertise across our supply chain and in our workforce. What's more, most of the people who buy our products are women, making women's empowerment critical to our future growth.

Some of the strongest forces behind persistent gender gaps are harmful social norms and stereotypes that limit expectations of what women can or should do. We're committed to challenging harmful gender norms both within, and beyond, our business. That work underpins our commitment to empower 5 million women by advancing opportunities for women in our operations, promoting safety, developing skills and expanding opportunities in our value chain – work described in opportunities for women.

In 2018, with our support, UN Women published A Global Women’s Safety Framework in Rural Spaces, building on the experiences of programmes in our own tea plantations and those of our suppliers. It’s being made available to the tea industry and others in 2019.

Our brands are key to our efforts, both through education (see also SDG4) and programmes. For example Dove has reached over 35 million young people since 2005 through its body confidence and self-esteem educational programmes.

As well as raising awareness about body confidence, our data reveals that awareness of the programmes, such as the Dove Self-Esteem Project, correlates with higher intent to purchase our products. And our Surf brand is part of a unique three-year partnership with Oxfam that aims to expand choices for women and girls by recognising, reducing and redistributing the amount of time they spend on unpaid care work.

We are also taking action within our business on gender equality. Forty-nine per cent of our management are women, and our Framework for Fair Compensation (PDF | 445KB) is helping to ensure equal pay for equal work. The average female pay in 2018 was 26% higher than male pay – largely due to the fact that 80% of our lower-paying blue-collar roles are held by male employees.

Across our distribution network and supply chain, we are supporting small-scale retailers and smallholder farmers – many of whom are women – to extend our reach and secure supplies of vital agricultural raw materials, through programmes such as Shakti and Kabisig Summits which are designed to unlock potential by enabling women to boost their incomes.

SDG6: Clean water and sanitation

Clean Water and Sanitation

Nearly a billion people defecate in the open and around 2.5 billion people live without adequate sanitation. Addressing water, sanitation and hygiene needs is a significant opportunity for Unilever. Several of our brands directly address these needs through innovative partnerships which drive growth and deliver positive impact at scale.

Domestos has committed to help 25 million people gain improved access to a toilet. Through our partnership with UNICEF, 16.5 million** people between 2012 and 2017 gained access to a toilet through behaviour-change interventions and capacity-building initiatives – contributing positively to consumer sentiment around the brand.

Pureit, our water purification business, is another brand that is well positioned to address clean water needs in India. It has provided 106 billion litres of safe drinking water since 2005 through the sale of water purifiers.

Lifebuoy is the world’s number one antibacterial soap, sold in nearly 60 countries. It has championed the message of better health through hygiene for well over a century. . Since 2010, its programme has achieved its target, reaching 1 billion people: 459 million through schools, health clinics and community outreach, and 587 million through TV adverts* – boosting sales in countries with high rates of diarrhoea-related child deaths, such as India.

SDG7: Affordable and clean energy

Affordable Clean Energy

If we don't tackle climate change, economic growth and progress against all the SDGs will be severely hampered. Achieving SDG7 is, in part, about transitioning to a low-carbon economy – and we want our business to play a leading role.

That's why, in 2015, we set ourselves the bold ambition of becoming carbon positive by 2030. Since then, we’ve been making real progress, continuing our investments in energy efficiency and increasing our use of renewable energy across our factory network.

In 2017, we extended the scope of our target from manufacturing sites only to all operations including distribution centres, offices, R&D laboratories and data centres. Sourcing our energy from 100% renewable sources by 2030 – a key element of our carbon positive ambition – will make us a more competitive business and help create a better future where energy is clean, reliable and affordable for all. In 2018, we met over a third of our global energy needs from renewable sources.

We are also looking at ways to directly support the generation of more renewable energy than we consume, by making the surplus available to the markets and communities where we operate. At the same time, we continue to work on using less energy per tonne of production. Since 2008, we've reduced energy from our operations by 52% per tonne of production.

SDG8: Decent work and economic growth

Decent work and economic growth

We want to build on the value we already create and share economically – including the €5.3 billion we pay in wages, the €34 billion we spend annually on goods and services, and the €3.7 billion we pay in tax.

One of the most obvious ways a global business, such as Unilever, can contribute to the SDGs is by helping to stimulate economic growth, by growing our own business. The USLP – which is at the heart of our business model – is explicitly designed to achieve sustainable growth.

As a fundamental principle, growth must not come at the expense of the planet or people – especially vulnerable workers. There are still between 20–40 million people working in forms of modern slavery worldwide – and over 150 million children working when they should be in education. This is unacceptable, as are any abuses of human rights. As our CEO, Alan Jope, says in our Statement on Modern Slavery, “behaving responsibly and respectfully towards everyone in our value chain isn’t just about our legal obligations, it’s part of who we are. It’s in our DNA.”

We aim to use our influence over our own supply chains, which connect us to millions of people, to advance and promote human rights wherever we operate. Our commitment to Fairness in the workplace is guided by the principle that business can only flourish in societies in which human rights are respected, advanced and upheld. Our Human Rights Report (PDF | 10MB) and 2018 update detail our progress.

SDG9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Industry innovation and infrastructure

Low-carbon technologies, circular approaches and breakthrough business models can support enterprise and transform industries, especially in the developing world. To succeed, we must nurture innovative technologies and new ways of doing business.

We're already exploring new business models that we believe have the potential to transform small-scale retail – using digital technology and the power of partnership to reach billions of consumers through innovative distribution systems, many of which provide new entrepreneurial opportunities for women. Forging stronger connections with smallholder farmers, through digital platforms such as mFarmer, is key to our ambition of transforming the global food system.

As a manufacturer, of course, we contribute to this goal in other ways too. Our ambition to become carbon positive by 2030, for example, means we're investing in clean technologies, increasing our energy efficiency and switching to renewable energy sources. Since we achieved our target of sending zero non-hazardous waste to landfill from our factories in 2014, we've gone further.

In January 2017, we committed to ensuring that 100% of our plastic packaging will be designed to be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, a step towards a more circular plastic economy. And in October 2018, we joined around 250 companies, governments and NGOs in signing The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment.

At the same time, our business is fuelled by innovation, driven by more than 6,000 Unilever R&D professionals. We invest around €900 million in R&D each year, and we hold a portfolio of more than 20,000 patents and patent applications.

SDG10: Reduced inequalities

Reduced inequalities

The gap between the haves and the have-nots is already too great – and, in many places, it is growing, as wealth and opportunity are shared inequitably. This is simply not fair or sustainable. The system has to change. The USLP commits us to new ways of business that will contribute to equitable growth, a process that starts in our own workplace.

Supported by our policies and Code of Business Principles and Code Policies (PDF | 5MB) that prohibit discrimination, our Framework for Fair Compensation (PDF | 449KB) is designed to achieve equality of opportunity for all employees, and provide fair and liveable compensation. And through our Responsible Sourcing Policy (PDF | 5MB), we extend our principles to our suppliers.

We know that policies, while critical, are not enough in themselves. Tackling inequalities means tackling the attitudes and stereotypes that sustain them – as we're doing through our work to challenge harmful gender norms throughout our value chain. Brands such as Sunsilk, Brooke Bond, Dove Men+Care and Axe are picking up this challenge, not only for women but for men too.

It also includes the way products are marketed. Our Unstereotype campaign, launched in 2016, challenged every one of our global brands to move away from unhelpful stereotypes in its advertising. In 2017, we helped build the Unstereotype Alliance, a partnership with UN Women and other businesses aimed at eliminating gender stereotypes from advertising altogether. And in 2018 we expanded our own work on Unstereotype across all forms of content and branded entertainment as well as the Asian market.

SDG11: Sustainable cities and communities

Sustainable cities and communities

Around 5 billion people are expected to live in cities by 2030. The rapid growth of cities has already brought enormous challenges, including slums, increased air pollution and inadequate sanitation. So what can we, as a consumer goods business, do to make those cities better places to live?

Part of the answer lies with our health and hygiene brands – household names such as Lifebuoy, Domestos and Signal – which produce everyday products such as soaps, toilet cleaners and toothpastes that help prevent diseases prevalent in cities lacking basic services. Our USLP commitment is to help 1 billion people improve their health and hygiene – which we achieved by the end of 2018, reaching 1.24 billion people.

We can also make sure that our activities don't have a negative impact on the urban environment. Within our own operations, we have already achieved zero waste to landfill in our global factory network. Through advocacy we’ve been lobbying to improve collection and recycling infrastructure as part of our target to halve our waste footprint per consumer use by 2020. Where there is limited infrastructure for recycling waste, we have a number of programmes in place to work with consumers, retailers, and municipal authorities – such as our Community Waste Bank Programme in Indonesia.

And at our Suvidha Community Hygiene Centre in India (PDF | 2MB), located in one of Mumbai’s many slums, we bring together a range of approaches to tackling hygiene, lack of laundry facilities and safe drinking water, and poor sanitation – demonstrating the kind of holistic thinking needed to make city life better.

SDG12: Responsible consumption and production

Responsible consumption and production

As a consumer goods company, we’re acutely aware of the causes and consequences of the ‘take-make-dispose’ model of consumption. And we want to change it.

An essential part of this is using resources more efficiently during the making of our products – and we have set ourselves targets to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste associated with manufacturing. Since 2008, we have cut CO2 from energy by 52%, water abstraction by 44% and total waste disposed by 97% per tonne of production.

While our efforts to use resources more efficiently in production are important, our biggest impacts come through the use of our products. That’s why we have committed to ensure 100% of our plastic packaging will be designed to be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, leading the way towards a more circular plastics economy (see also SDG14). We are also working to reduce the water and GHG impacts of products through innovations such as SmartFoam technology which reduces water use when rinsing clothes.

These changes are necessary – and they are also helping to drive business growth, because they connect with consumers. Unilever’s ‘Making Purpose Pay’ research shows that over 50% of consumers want to choose brands that are more sustainable, and that demand for sustainable products cuts across demographic and socio-economic groups.

SDG13: 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 €600 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.

Our aim is to achieve full traceability for all the palm oil we buy – but there are challenges. In the palm oil supply chain, palm oil may be traded repeatedly before we buy it – and not all suppliers currently have the capability to trace back to the source.

We’ve put a number of initiatives in place to achieve full traceability, ranging from industry-leading mapping and data programmes, to projects such as our €130 million investment in our own palm oil refinery in the Sei Mangkei Special Economic Zone of North Sumatra. In February 2018, we became the first consumer goods company to publicly disclose the suppliers and mills we source from, both directly and indirectly, and published our palm oil supplier list on our website.

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.

SDG14: Life below water

Life below water

An estimated 100 million marine animals die each year due to discarded plastic – and it is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans.

The root causes of ocean plastic are complex, but it is clear that urgent action is needed on multiple fronts. One area of direct concern for Unilever is the fact that just 14% of the plastic packaging used globally makes its way to recycling plants, a third is left in fragile ecosystems and 40% ends up in landfill.

We want to lead the way towards a more circular plastics economy – one which moves away from the linear ‘take-make-dispose’ model of consumption, to one in which resources are reused and recycled in a closed loop.

As part of the systemic change this transition will require, in 2017 we committed to ensuring that 100% of our plastic packaging will be designed to be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. And in October 2018, we joined around 250 companies, governments and NGOs in signing The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment.

So we're thinking about where we can use less plastic, where we can use better plastic – and where we can use no plastic at all. This begins by making it technically possible for all our plastic packaging to be reused or recycled – but it also means demonstrating that there are established, proven examples of it being commercially viable for plastics re-processors to recycle the material. Our plastic packaging commitment builds on our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan target of increasing the recycled plastic content in our packaging to 25% by 2025.

SDG15: Life on land

Life on land

Globally, biodiversity is in decline. According to the IUCN Red List, more than 23,000 species are threatened with extinction, including 41% of amphibians, 34% of conifers, 25% of mammals and 13% of birds. Deforestation is a particular threat, as forests support 80% of terrestrial biodiversity, and around 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on them for food, medicines, fuel, shelter, jobs and livelihoods.

As one of the world’s largest users of agricultural raw materials including tea, vegetables and vegetable oils such as palm and soy, we rely on the ecosystems in which crops are grown – and on the prosperity of communities who are also reliant on these ecosystems. So, the business case for protecting biodiversity is quite simple: without biodiversity, there is no business. Yet agriculture is one of the biggest drivers of deforestation. That means we need to change the way agriculture works.

Protecting biodiversity is central to our Sustainable Agriculture Programme, which drives our work with suppliers and farmers, and is at the heart of our USLP commitment to source our agricultural raw materials sustainably. At the same time, we've joined others in our industry in a commitment to zero net deforestation associated with four commodities – palm oil, soy, paper and board, and beef – no later than 2020. We have extended this commitment to our tea businesses and supply chains.

Our particular focus is on palm oil sourcing, where we have the scale to make a difference – and where dedicated work with suppliers and smallholders is at the heart of our commitment to source 100% of palm oil from physically certified sustainable sources by 2019.

SDG16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Peace justice and strong institutions

Peaceful and just societies are of course good for the people who live in them – and they are also good for business, which flourishes when those around it succeed. We have a shared responsibility to contribute to building and maintaining inclusive, sustainable societies where human rights and the rule of law are respected, and to act with integrity and within the law at all times, in accordance with our principles and values.

We aim to have a positive influence across our value chain, working with suppliers, distributors and all third parties to raise the bar on issues such as human rights, anti-bribery and corruption. Our commitment to advancing human rights through our business is embedded in our USLP, supported by our transparent approach to reporting through our Sustainable Living Report, our Human Rights Report (PDF | 10MB) and our Statement on Modern Slavery.

But we believe we have a further responsibility – to show leadership where systemic change is needed. In many parts of the world, for example, inequality is widening, labour rights worsening, and bribery and corruption are still all too common. Globally there is an increasingly vulnerable migrant workforce, potentially resulting in human trafficking and forced labour. We have a clear duty to address these issues through partnership.

SDG17: Partnerships for the goals

Partnerships for the goals

The social and environmental change required to meet the SDGs cannot be addressed by one business acting alone. Zero hunger, zero poverty, climate action, eradicating modern slavery – these are transformational goals, and they require transformational change, brought about by a concerted effort. Business, governments and civil society all have a role to play.

We’re involved in a wide range of partnerships, which often include new types of funding and new ways of working, whether with fellow companies or with other agencies. The Consumer Goods Forum’s sector-wide commitment to zero net deforestation by 2020, and the Unstereotype Alliance, a partnership with UN Women and other businesses aimed at eliminating gender stereotypes from advertising, are good examples of what’s possible.

Our global partnerships with NGOs and others address issues ranging from water and sanitation, to sustainable sourcing, to improving health and nutrition. Many harness the strength of our brands – such as the Vaseline® Healing Project, a partnership with NGO Direct Relief which aims to help heal the skin of 5 million people by 2020.

But we want to go much further – both in the impact of our partnerships, and in their alignment with the SDGs.

A good example is TRANSFORM, our partnership with the UK government's DFID, which uses a public–private finance model to address persistent developmental challenges and aims to enable 100 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia to gain access to products and services that have been shown to improve health, livelihoods, the environment or wellbeing. Recent projects include Kasha, a mobile e-commerce platform in Rwanda, described in Opportunities for Women, and UJoin, a mobile-friendly online community in Nairobi, Kenya, for owners of 'base of the pyramid' shops, known as dukas.

† Independently assured by PwC

* The evidence that TV drives handwashing behaviour change comes from a proof of principles study in India. 

** Results are reported by UNICEF in accordance with its methodology and includes reach from direct and indirect initiatives over 2012-2017; and also includes Clean Toilets, Brighter Futures reach of 33,000 children in 2018.

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