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About us

Unilever is one of the world’s leading consumer goods companies, making and selling around 400 brands in more than 190 countries.

Make sustainable living commonplace

Every day, 2.5 billion people use our products to look good, feel good and get more out of life. That’s about a third of the global population choosing from household names such as Lipton, Knorr, Dove and Hellmann’s, and iconic local brands like Bango in Indonesia and Suave in the US. In fact, thirteen of the world’s top 50 brands are owned by Unilever.

Our geographic reach gives us an unparalleled global presence, including a unique position in emerging markets which generate 58% of our turnover.

Our business activities span a complex, global value chain. We work with thousands of suppliers and spend around €34 billion on goods and services, including approximately €13 billion on ingredients and raw materials, which are made into products in our 300+ factories across 69 countries. These products are then distributed to 25 million retailers, from supermarkets to small convenience stores, and through other fast-growing channels such as e-commerce and direct-to-consumer. We are also the second largest advertiser in the world, based on media spend.

190

Number of countries we operate in

160k+

Number of people we employ

€1bn

Amount we invest in R&D every year

With this kind of scale comes responsibility

We live in an increasingly uncertain and volatile world. Temperatures are rising, droughts are more frequent, food supplies are increasingly scarce, the gap between rich and poor is growing, and billions still do not have access to basic hygiene and sanitation.

But society is changing. There’s a growing shift towards more meaningful and sustainable consumption, with individuals increasingly taking personal responsibility for the impact of their purchasing decisions.

That’s why our purpose is simple: to make sustainable living commonplace.

By that we mean helping to create a world where we can all live well and within the natural limits of the planet.

And together with our wider community – of partners, suppliers and citizens – we’re making progress.

This is being driven today by the same pioneering spirit that launched Unilever back in the 1890s, with a humble bar of soap that helped make cleanliness commonplace in Victorian England.

As we grow the business, we’re actively working to:

Health & well-being

Help more than a billion people improve their health and well-being

Environmental impact

Enhancing livelihoods

Enhance the livelihoods of millions of people

These bold ambitions are the heart of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. Launched in 2010, it’s proving that responsible business is good business by driving growth and building trust, cutting costs and reducing risk.

70%

of turnover growth in 2017 from our sustainable living brands

In 44

countries we are the ‘Most desired employer’

490m+

of energy costs avoided via eco-efficiency since 2008

56%

agricultural raw materials sustainably sourced

Modern life is built on trust. No society can thrive without it – and in purely business terms, trust is our most valuable asset.

Paul Polman, CEO

Brands with big plans

Our Sustainable Living brands – those that have a clear purpose relating to a social or environmental concern, and contribute to the USLP – are inspiring people and making a genuine difference. For example, Dove helps young people build self-esteem, our Dirt is Good laundry brands encourage kids to enjoy real play, and Knorr is working to change the food system from farm to fork.

55m+

people reached with safe drinking water since 2005

10m+

people gained improved access to a toilet 2012-2016

≈78m

people reached with oral health programmes since 2010

With partners we can do even more

Our global presence and deep roots in local cultures gives us the scale and influence to make an even bigger impact. But we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’re working with others in areas such as ending deforestation, improving people’s access to water, sanitation and hygiene, and training smallholders to farm sustainably. Collaboration is also key to women’s empowerment because this, we believe, is the single greatest enabler of human development and economic growth.

Recognised for our efforts

No.1

Top spot in the Personal Products sector of the 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability Index

No.1

Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the 2017 GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey

'A' Grade

For Climate Change, Water, Forests and Supplier Engagement in CDP's 2018 Global Supply Chain report

Recognition like this inspires us to do more and shows how we want to be more open, particularly in areas that matter most to you such as human rights, salt reduction and palm oil.

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