Science with objectivity and integrity

Science with objectivity and integrity is a key foundation to Unilever’s approach to responsible innovation.

Unilever is committed to investing in science and scientific research that enhance our knowledge and understanding of how food, nutrition, home and personal care products can benefit public health and well-being, and how the environmental, societal and economic impact of our products can be improved.

We champion responsible research and development (R&D) and are committed to the application of high standards of quality to all our scientific activities. We adhere to the following principles to govern our scientific research:

Scientific robustness

  • Hypothesis driven: Scientific research should be hypothesis driven and follow the principles of scientific rigour. This includes discussion of any limitations or challenges of the work in order to ensure objective and robust critique and evaluation.
  • Scientific criteria: All scientific research, irrespective of the source of the research, should meet the universal scientific criteria in terms of methodology and design, data quality and validation, and statistical analysis. We pursue academic consensus as the strongest demonstration of the validity and robustness of science.

Objectivity

  • We strive to maintain scientific objectivity as an essential requirement – including in discussions with external parties.
  • We believe policy decisions must be primarily informed by objective scientific evidence. Other dimensions taken into account in decision-making need to be made transparent.

Governance

  • We apply rigorous standards in our research. The leadership in our R&D organisation takes responsibility for the adherence to these. Find out more about these standards in our Code of Business Principles and Code Policies (PDF | 5MB).
  • We consider independent peer review as the best method to maintain our standards of quality.

Transparency

  • We embrace dialogue with the world’s scientific community so we can operate at the forefront of scientific developments. We will present key findings and research developments in international conferences or meetings to encourage discussion and build scientific consensus.
  • Where we are seeking to reach scientific consensus, we will publish the science we conduct. This in particular applies to research on the safe use of our ingredients and the potential impact of specific product/ingredients. When we publish our scientific research, we will do so in independent, peer-reviewed journals and other appropriate forums, which bring transparency and awareness for our consumers, regulators and sector.
  • We are transparent and open about our research collaborations with external partners, such as universities and consortia.

Working with others

The world of scientific research is collaborative and we increasingly work with external partners, often in multi-stakeholder partnerships. We apply in these collaborations the same principles as we apply to our own research.

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