Unilever ramps up food production 24/7 in wake of coronavirus

Unilever 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 $182m 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 $91m 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 Australia and New Zealand, Unilever’s factories are operating 24/7 to help keep shelves across Australia and New Zealand stocked with essential food, personal care and cleaning products. As the situation evolves in Australia and New Zealand, Unilever will continue working closely with its partners, customers, industry groups, government and the wider public to offer timely support wherever possible.

For example, Unilever responded quickly to donate Dove soap to the NSW Department of Education for distribution to schools experiencing shortages due to stockpiling. Unilever has also provided funding to help Foodbank NSW and ACT employ paid casuals in lieu of corporate volunteer groups that have been cancelled due to new social distancing rules.

This will help Foodbank continue supporting Australians facing hardship, particularly as a result of the coronavirus. Customers and suppliers Unilever will offer $912m of cash flow relief to support livelihoods across its extended value chain, through:

• Early payment for our 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.

Workforce 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.