Creating and sharing wealth
We believe business plays a vital role, generating equitable wealth and jobs around the world, transferring technology, and training and developing people.
An important contribution
Unilever’s deep roots in emerging markets mean we can make a valuable contribution to economic development in these countries.
In 2004, we began working with Oxfam – a campaigning NGO which can be one of our most challenging critics. We wanted to examine the extent to which our business can contribute to poverty alleviation, and focused on our business in Indonesia. Through this study and follow-up studies in South Africa and Vietnam, we now have a better understanding of our economic footprint in these countries.
The research found that our local businesses make a significant contribution to the local economy through jobs and economic activity.
As well as the 169,000 people that we employed directly in 2015, our business generates economic benefits for many different stakeholders around the world.
Our products are on sale in over 190 countries. This generates income and sustains employment for the many retail customers and distributors who bring our brands to consumers.
We rely on many suppliers around the world to provide the inputs for our business. For example, in 2013, out of our sales income (turnover) of €49.8 billion, we spent €35.7 billion on purchasing goods and services. This included €20.2 billion on raw materials, packaging and goods for resale from over around 10,000 suppliers. We also buy many different types of non-production goods from a large number of suppliers.
Subtracting our purchases of goods and services from our turnover left €13.7 billion as the cash value our operations added in 2014. The chart below shows how the value added was distributed among different stakeholders for that year.