Unilever Bangladesh receives FICCI’s DEI Champion Award for DEI practices
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Unilever Bangladesh Limited (UBL), the country’s leading Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company, has been recognised as the ‘Champion--STAR DEI Team of the Year by Foreign Investors’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) at its 60 Years Celebration and Investment Expo 2023. H.E. Sheikh Hasina, MP, the honourable Prime Minister of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, inaugurated the programme.
The award was presented by Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, Honourable State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and Ms. Zakia Sultana, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Industries, to the Management Committee Members of Unilever Bangladesh. The Ministry of Industries owns 39.25% of the shares in Unilever Bangladesh.
Unilever Bangladesh (UBL) was declared the winner in this category of the first-ever FICCI DEI Award for its exemplary achievement in transforming a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce from boardroom to frontline.
UBL’s DEI journey prioritises proactive talent mapping to enable women’s participation across its operations, challenging stereotypes through initiatives such as appointing women to lead in stereotypically male-dominated roles such as in regional sales roles. The emphasis is on women in head of regional sales roles, not women in regional sales. UBL was the first to have a woman as RSM Manager and night shift factory operations.
The company invests in infrastructure and policies such as paternity leave, interchangeable holidays, and a comprehensive employee mental well-being assistance programme, alongside industry-leading progressive policies and practices. UBL has extensive leadership development practices, including international assignments, that empower women to build global expertise and take on expanded responsibilities. UBL’s proactive approach to strengthening women’s participation in the workforce extends beyond the company’s inner core to people associated with Unilever along the value chain.
The company invests in specialised projects that have worked towards building female capability and employment as sales force across Bangladesh and in the factory team, driving grassroots transformation and impacting the entire ecosystem.
In addition to the organisation’s achievements in women's representation at leadership levels, UBL’s efforts towards building an equitable and inclusive culture, accelerating diverse representation at all leadership levels, targeting 5% of the workforce comprised of people with disabilities by 2025, and increasing representation of diverse groups in advertising, was also commended by the jury panel.
Syeda Durdana Kabir, HR Director, Unilever Bangladesh Limited, said, “Receiving the inaugural FICCI DEI Award underscores UBL's steadfast dedication to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. From 10% of women in managerial roles to 44% as of December 2022, we have come a long way in this journey of DEI.
“Known as a builder of the ‘League of Future Leaders’ for the contribution to youth upskilling and nurturing the country’s talents, today Unilever Bangladesh has the remarkable achievement of an equal representation of men and women in the highest leadership level at the Management Committee (CXOs). This has been possible by taking bold steps in challenging stereotypes, trusting key strategic senior positions to women and enabling them to succeed through structured learning, development, and succession plans.
“We have incorporated globally benchmarked progressive policies and infrastructural support across our operations in the country so that our people can break barriers and thrive in their professional and personal purposes. From frontline roles to the boardroom, we are determined to nurture a culture where all individuals are treated respectfully and recognized for their unique strengths. This award is a great motivation for all of us, and we will continue taking a holistic approach to DEI, using the scale and reach of our business to create an impact in the workplace and society.”
In recent times, Unilever has received multiple awards at a national level, including Bangladesh C-Suite Awards, Approved Employer Trainee Development in the platinum category from ACCA, and the Corporate Governance Excellence Award, among other recognitions.