Last reviewed 26 January 2021

One of the largest suppliers of consumer goods - with brands including Dove, Magnum and Marmite - has promised to raise living standards across its value chain.

Unilever's main commitments include:

  • ensuring that everyone who directly provides goods and services to the company earns at least a living wage or income, by 2030

  • spending €2 billion annually with suppliers owned and managed by people from under-represented groups, by 2025

  • pioneering new employment models for its employees and equipping 10 million young people with essential skills to prepare them for job opportunities, by 2030.

Alan Jope, Unilever CEO, explained: “The two biggest threats that the world currently faces are climate change and social inequality. The past year has undoubtedly widened the social divide, and decisive and collective action is needed to build a society that helps to improve livelihoods, embraces diversity, nurtures talent, and offers opportunities for everyone.”

He said that the commitments would make Unilever a better, stronger business, ready for the huge societal changes that are already taking place and that lie ahead.

Within the organisation, Mr Jope went on, the aim will be to achieve an equitable culture through progressive policies and practices which eliminate bias and discrimination.

Through a new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategy, Unilever is removing barriers and bias in recruitment, establishing leadership accountability for supporting all its employees to excel in their roles, and aiming to achieve a workforce that is representative of the population in the countries where it operates.

The commitment to spend €2 billion annually with diverse suppliers, by 2025, will take in small and medium-sized businesses owned and managed by women, under-represented racial and ethnic groups, people with disabilities and LGBTQI+.

“While we may not be able to offer permanent, full-time, fixed jobs for life,” Mr Jope said, “we want to ensure that our employees are equipped with the skills required to protect their livelihoods, whether within or outside of Unilever.”

The company will ensure that all employees are reskilled or upskilled to have a future-fit skillset, by 2025. In addition, partnering with unions and employee representatives, it will develop and pilot new ways of working, to offer both security and flexibility.

These include options such as flexible employment contracts with benefits such as pension plans or offering time off work to study or re-train.