Unilever, the consumer goods manufacturer of brands including Dove, Knorr, Omo and Lifebuoy, has announced a wide-ranging set of measures to support global and national efforts to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The company's actions are designed to help protect the lives and livelihoods of its multiple stakeholders – including its consumers and communities, its customers and suppliers, and its workforce.
Consumers and communities
Unilever will contribute EUR100m (S$150m), to help the fight against the pandemic through donations of soap, sanitiser, bleach and food. This includes:
- A product donation of soaps and sanitiser of at least EUR50m to the COVID Action Platform of the World Economic Forum, which is supporting global health organisations and agencies with their response to the emergency. In addition to the supply of soap, Unilever will adapt its current manufacturing lines to produce sanitiser for use in hospitals, schools and other institutional settings.
- Product donations, partnerships and handwashing education programmes, delivered through national health authorities and NGOs, to support local communities most at need.
- In Singapore, Unilever has donated thousands of sanitation essentials like Lifebuoy soaps, sanitisers and handwash; Domex toilet cleaners; Cif home cleaners and OLLY vitamins to frontline healthcare workers, isolated seniors, the disabled, homeless, taxi drivers, children's homes and shelters via organisations such as the Red Cross Singapore, NVPC (National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre), Loving Heart, HSEU (Healthcare Services Employees' Union) and United Women Singapore.
Unilever International, a global business unit headquartered in Singapore, has extended its reach beyond Singapore by donating thousands of Lifebuoy hand sanitisers to Hong Kong via BGCA (the Boys' & Girls' Clubs Association) and UNICEF; household disinfectants Domex and Cif in Mongolia and Lifebuoy handwash in Timor Leste along with hygiene education programmes for children and local communities.
Umesh Shah, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever International said:
In keeping with our purpose to serve the underserved, we chose to prioritise making our hygiene products accessible to the most vulnerable groups, including frontline healthcare workers, children and the elderly. Unilever is proudly partnering with NGOs and public institutions to donate thousands of Unilever's handwash, hand sanitisers, soaps and household cleaning products to those in critical need during this period."
Georgette Tan, President of United Women Singapore said:
We would like to recognise Unilever for their generous contribution of antibacterial soap, cleaning products and supplements in support of our community partners during the trying COVID-19 situation. These products have been donated to Girls' Homes and Women's Shelters in Singapore. We need more kind, generous and community-minded organizations like Unilever."
Customers and suppliers
Unilever will offer EUR500m of cash flow relief to support livelihoods across its extended value chain, through:
- Early payment for the most vulnerable small and medium-sized suppliers, to help them with financial liquidity.
- Extending credit to selected small-scale retail customers whose business relies on Unilever, to help them manage and protect jobs.
Unilever will protect its workforce from sudden drops in pay, as a result of market disruption or being unable to perform their role, for up to three months. We will cover our employees, contractors and others who we manage or who work on our sites, on a full or part-time basis. This will apply to workers not already covered by government plans or by their direct employer.
Alan Jope, CEO Unilever said:
We are deeply saddened by the terrible impact that coronavirus is wreaking on lives and livelihoods everywhere. The world is facing its greatest trial in decades. We have seen the most incredible response from the Unilever team so far, especially those on the frontline of our operations in factories, distribution centers and stores.
We hope that our donation of €100m of soap, sanitizer, bleach and food will make a significant contribution towards protecting people's lives, and that by helping to safeguard our workers' incomes and jobs, we are giving some peace of mind during these uncertain times. Our strong cash flow and balance sheet mean that we can, and should, give this additional support."