With a legacy spanning more than five decades, Unilever has been driving its resources to become a force of good for the people and the country by driving sustainable changes in terms of health, environment, and society. Unilever Bangladesh continue to innovate products that cater to the greater Bangladeshi market and materialise its vision of building a sustainable future Bangladesh through utilising its value chain, purposeful brands, and instrumental partnerships.
The three key focus areas of Unilever Bangladesh – improve health of the planet, improve health, confidence, and wellbeing and contribute to a fairer, more socially inclusive world - are at the core of our compass strategy.
The report was launched through a formal event in the capital where Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun MP, Minister, Ministry of Industries and Robert Chatterton Dickson, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh and Zaved Akhtar, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Unilever Bangladesh was present along with its diversified partner.
In alignment with Unilever's global Compass commitments, Unilever Bangladesh peruse some important behaviour changes through it purposeful brands, embedded sustainability into every part of its business, and built multi-stakeholder models to bring in diversified partners including the Government of Bangladesh in its journey towards building a sustainable Bangladesh. In 2021, Unilever Bangladesh has invested over BDT 430 million covering 10 different SDG Agendas and impacting millions through these sustainability initiatives.
The year 2021 was a special for the company as it undertook some critical initiatives. For example, it collaborated with the largest municipal-backed plastic waste collection project in Bangladesh, supported communities fighting Covid-19, or improved the quality of life of 10% of Bangladeshis by increasing the disposable income of the Readymade Garment Sector (RMG) workers. Due to its wide network and purpose led brands the company understand and value that its actions not only impact 20,000 people who work in its extended value chain or outer core but also to 1.1 million retail partners and their families across Bangladesh.
Furthermore, in its relentless pursuit to build a sustainable future by developing impactful partnerships, delivering impacts, and building an environment with the potential to grow, Unilever Bangladesh has conveyed its appreciation to its five partners: FRIENDSHIP, UNDP, Bhumijo, BRAC and PLAN International Bangladesh who has worked with the company to achieve its social commitments throughout 2021.
In the programme, the minister also inaugurated a refill machine, a unique initiative of Unilever Bangladesh to reduce plastic use through technology and behaviour change of consumer.
Zaved Akhtar, CEO and Managing Director of Unilever Bangladesh, said, “In our history of operating in Bangladesh over the last five decades, Unilever has always been a forerunner to do good for the country and the people. In alignment with Unilever global compass commitments, we encourage behaviour change through our purposeful brands, embedded sustainability into every part of our business and built multi stakeholder models to bring in our partners including the Government of Bangladesh in our journey towards building a sustainable Bangladesh.”
“Throughout the world, we have strategized and utilised our purposeful brands to improve health, confidence and wellbeing of people and help achieve SDG Goals of Zero Hunger, Good Health and Wellbeing and Clean Water and Sanitation. Expanding that philosophy in Bangladesh, we have used our brands to improve the lives of people.
We have many success stories like improving oral hygiene of the children of the country and taught over 10 million school children proper handwashing since the 1990s. We are now focusing on replicating these experiences for toilet hygiene, habit of safe water consumption and mental wellbeing- as we identified these to be the areas where there are barriers or taboos.”
“But it is clear we need to do much more – within our business, and by using our size, scale and partnerships in our value chain and beyond. Inspired by this very philosophy, we, at Unilever, aspire to create a society with equity at its core, and we believe that it needs a more hands-on and concerted holistic approach,” Akhtar said.
“Unilever Bangladesh’s Sustainability report is our small effort to talk about the initiatives that we are taking to build a sustainable Bangladesh. It is not an end outcome but the beginning of a journey of some big daunting goals that we need to achieve not singularly rather through collaboration and co-creation with our partners”, he added.