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Driving transformational change

At Unilever we have been asking ourselves how we can make a transformational difference to those big issues that matter most to our business and to the world.

Lifebuoy soap India

Through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan we have set a bold ambition to achieve change within our own company - through our brands, innovation, sourcing and operations. But we are only one company among many and the change needed to tackle the world's major social, environmental and economic issues is big - and urgent.

What is really needed is fundamental change to the broader systems of which we are a part - whether that is in countering climate change, achieving food security, improving health or empowering women.

Focusing on the big issues

We have set out to make a meaningful difference to those big issues that matter most to our business. By combining our own actions with external advocacy on public policy and via collaborative partnerships, we are seeking to create what we call 'transformational change' - that is systemic change and not simply incremental improvements.

Increasingly, we are finding new ways to contribute to these systemic changes. This is a responsibility but also an opportunity, because resilient societies and economies are ones in which businesses such as Unilever can flourish. We aim to use our scale and influence to help bring about transformational change in four key areas where we believe we can make the biggest difference:

  • Taking action on climate change and halting deforestation
  • Improving livelihoods and creating more opportunities for women
  • Improving health and well-being
  • Championing sustainable agriculture and food security.

Across all these areas, the role of women is crucial, both as partners and beneficiaries. They are also critical to eradicating poverty and accelerating global development – we believe improving human development and combating climate change go hand in hand – and we are creating opportunities for women’s greater involvement across our value chain.

Advocacy & partnerships are crucial

To achieve change at scale, we need to go beyond what we can achieve in our own operations and with our suppliers. The two principal mechanisms to do this are advocacy on public policy and collaborative working. So we are stepping up our engagement with governments, NGOs and others in our industry and developing partnerships to demonstrate the change we want to see. Often our partners become the best advocates of system-wide change.

By focusing on these four issues and working in this way, we believe we can help address the twin goals of combating climate change and promoting human development.

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