Unilever
Overview
Unilever is a British-Dutch multinational corporation
Multinational corporation
A multi national corporation or enterprise , is a corporation or an enterprise that manages production or delivers services in more than one country. It can also be referred to as an international corporation...

 that owns many of the world's consumer product
Consumer product
A consumer product is generally any tangible personal property for sale and that is used for personal, family, or household for non-business purposes. The determination whether a good is a consumer product requires a factual finding, on a case-by-case basis...

 brands in foods, beverages, cleaning agent
Cleaning agent
Cleaning agents are substances, usually liquids, that are used to remove dirt, including dust, stains, bad smells, and clutter on surfaces. Purposes of cleaning agents include health, beauty, absence of offensive odor, avoidance of shame, and avoidance of spreading of dirt and contaminants to...

s and personal care products.

Unilever is a dual-listed company
Dual-listed company
A dual-listed company or DLC is a corporate structure in which two corporations function as a single operating business through a legal equalization agreement, but retain separate legal identities and stock exchange listings...

 consisting of Unilever N.V. in Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

, Netherlands and Unilever PLC in London, United Kingdom. This arrangement is similar to those of Reed Elsevier
Reed Elsevier
Reed Elsevier is a publisher and information provider operating in the science, medical, legal, risk and business sectors. It is listed on several of the world's major stock exchanges. It is a FTSE 100 and FT500 Global company...

 and Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell plc , commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six...

 prior to their unified structures. Both Unilever companies have the same directors and effectively operate as a single business.
Encyclopedia
Unilever is a British-Dutch multinational corporation
Multinational corporation
A multi national corporation or enterprise , is a corporation or an enterprise that manages production or delivers services in more than one country. It can also be referred to as an international corporation...

 that owns many of the world's consumer product
Consumer product
A consumer product is generally any tangible personal property for sale and that is used for personal, family, or household for non-business purposes. The determination whether a good is a consumer product requires a factual finding, on a case-by-case basis...

 brands in foods, beverages, cleaning agent
Cleaning agent
Cleaning agents are substances, usually liquids, that are used to remove dirt, including dust, stains, bad smells, and clutter on surfaces. Purposes of cleaning agents include health, beauty, absence of offensive odor, avoidance of shame, and avoidance of spreading of dirt and contaminants to...

s and personal care products.

Unilever is a dual-listed company
Dual-listed company
A dual-listed company or DLC is a corporate structure in which two corporations function as a single operating business through a legal equalization agreement, but retain separate legal identities and stock exchange listings...

 consisting of Unilever N.V. in Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

, Netherlands and Unilever PLC in London, United Kingdom. This arrangement is similar to those of Reed Elsevier
Reed Elsevier
Reed Elsevier is a publisher and information provider operating in the science, medical, legal, risk and business sectors. It is listed on several of the world's major stock exchanges. It is a FTSE 100 and FT500 Global company...

 and Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell plc , commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six...

 prior to their unified structures. Both Unilever companies have the same directors and effectively operate as a single business. The current non-executive Chairman of Unilever N.V. and PLC is Michael Treschow
Michael Treschow
Michael Treschow is a Swedish businessman. As chairman of the board of both Unilever and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, and former chairman of Ericsson, Treschow is one of the most influential people in Swedish business today...

 while Paul Polman is Group Chief Executive.

20th century

Unilever was founded on 1 January 1930 by Antonius Johannes Jurgens
Antonius Johannes Jurgens
Antonius Johannes Jurgens was the grandson of Antoon Jurgens and Joanna Lemmens . His grandfather was the founder of butter and the first world margarine factories in Oss, The Netherlands. Antonius Johannes Jurgens was one of the main European margarine and soap manufacturers in the early...

, Samuel van den Bergh
Samuel van den Bergh
Samuel van den Bergh was one of the main European margarine and soap manufacturers in the early 20th century....

 and William Hulme Lever, 2nd Viscount Leverhulme
William Lever, 2nd Viscount Leverhulme
William Hulme Lever, 2nd Viscount Leverhulme, DL was the son of William Hesketh Lever and Elizabeth Ellen, daughter of Crompton Hulme of Bolton....

.

The amalgamation of the operations of British soapmaker Lever Brothers
Lever Brothers
Lever Brothers was a British manufacturer founded in 1885 by William Hesketh Lever and his brother, James Darcy Lever . The brothers had invested in and promoted a new soap making process invented by chemist William Hough Watson, it was a huge success...

and Dutch margarine
Margarine
Margarine , as a generic term, can indicate any of a wide range of butter substitutes, typically composed of vegetable oils. In many parts of the world, the market share of margarine and spreads has overtaken that of butter...

 producer Margarine Unie
Margarine Unie
The Dutch company Naamlooze Vennootschap Margarine Unie grew in the 1920s through mergers of several margarine companies, among which Centra and Schicht and above all the companies of Antonius Johannes Jurgens and Samuel van den Bergh...

(a 1927 amalgamation of Anton Jurgens Margarinefabrieken N.V. and Samuel van den Bergh
Samuel van den Bergh
Samuel van den Bergh was one of the main European margarine and soap manufacturers in the early 20th century....

) made sound commercial sense, as palm oil
Palm oil
Palm oil, coconut oil and palm kernel oil are edible plant oils derived from the fruits of palm trees. Palm oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit of the oil palm Elaeis guineensis; palm kernel oil is derived from the kernel of the oil palm and coconut oil is derived from the kernel of the...

 was a major raw material for both margarines and soaps, and could be imported more efficiently in larger quantities.

The initial harvesting of palm oil was from British West Africa
British West Africa
British West Africa was the collective name for British colonies in West Africa during the colonial period, either in the general geographical sense or more specifically those comprised in a formal colonial administrative entity...

, from where news reports seen back in England showed the workers abroad in favourable conditions. In 1911 the company received a concession for 750,000 hectares of forest in Belgian Congo
Belgian Congo
The Belgian Congo was the formal title of present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo between King Leopold II's formal relinquishment of his personal control over the state to Belgium on 15 November 1908, and Congolese independence on 30 June 1960.-Congo Free State, 1884–1908:Until the latter...

, mostly south of Bandundu
Bandundu
Bandundu, formerly known as Banningville or Banningstad, is a city in Bandundu Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Bandundu is the capital of Bandundu Province. It is located on the north bank of the Kwango River, just below the juncture of the Kwango and the Kwilu, 8 km upstream from...

, where a system of forced labour operated. The subsidiary of Lever Brothers
Lever Brothers
Lever Brothers was a British manufacturer founded in 1885 by William Hesketh Lever and his brother, James Darcy Lever . The brothers had invested in and promoted a new soap making process invented by chemist William Hough Watson, it was a huge success...

was named "Huileries du Congo Belge". During the great depression in the thirties, the Huileries sharply decreased the fee for gathered oil nuts, while the government of Belgian Congo strongly increased taxation. This resulted in social unrest in 1931, which are known as the Revolution of the Pende
Pendé
Pendé is a commune in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France.-Geography:The commune is situated on the D2 road, some northwest of Abbeville, near the bay of the Somme River.-Population:-External links:*...

, in which eventually more than 400 members of the Pende-tribe were killed.

In the 1930s the Unilever business grew and new ventures were launched in Africa and Latin America. In 1972 Unilever purchased A&W Restaurants' Canadian division but sold its shares through a management buyout to former A&W Food Services of Canada CEO Jefferson J. Mooney in July 1996. By 1980 soap and edible fats contributed just 40% of profits, compared with an original 90%. In 1984 the company bought the brand Brooke Bond
Brooke Bond
Brooke Bond is a brand-name of tea owned by Unilever, formerly an independent manufacturer in the United Kingdom, known for its PG Tips brand and its Brooke Bond tea cards.- History :...

 (maker of PG Tips
PG Tips
PG Tips is a brand of tea in the United Kingdom, manufactured by Unilever UK. It is claimed that Britons drink 35 million cups of the tea every day.-Brand name:...

 tea).

In 1987 Unilever strengthened its position in the world skin care market by acquiring Chesebrough-Ponds (merged from Chesebrough Manufacturing and Pond's Creams
Pond's Creams
Pond's Cream is a brand of beauty and health care products that is produced by the Ponds Institute which is owned by the multinational company Unilever.-History:...

), the maker of Ragú
Ragú
Ragú is a brand name, for an Italian-style sauce. It is not directly related to the Italian sauce ragù, which is meat based. The Ragú brand was first sold in 1937 - and is currently one of many consumer brands in the portfolio of Anglo-Dutch food giant Unilever. It is the best selling U.S. brand...

, Pond's
Pond's Creams
Pond's Cream is a brand of beauty and health care products that is produced by the Ponds Institute which is owned by the multinational company Unilever.-History:...

, Aqua-Net, Cutex Nail Polish, and Vaseline
Vaseline
Vaseline is a brand of petroleum jelly based products owned by Anglo-Dutch company Unilever. Products include plain petroleum jelly and a selection of skin creams, soaps, lotions, cleansers, deodorants and personal lubricants....

.
In 1989 Unilever bought Calvin Klein Cosmetics, Fabergé
Fabergé (cosmetics)
-History:The American oil billionaire Armand Hammer collected many Fabergé pieces during his business ventures in communist Russia in the 1920s. In 1937, Armand Hammer’s friend Samuel Rubin, owner of the Spanish Trading Corporation which imported soap and olive oil, closed down his company because...

, and Elizabeth Arden
Elizabeth Arden
Florence Nightingale Graham , who went by the business name Elizabeth Arden, was a Canadian-American businesswoman who built a cosmetics empire in the United States. At the peak of her career, she was one of the wealthiest women in the world.-Biography:Arden was born in 1884 at Woodbridge, Ontario,...

, but the latter was later sold (in 2000) to FFI Fragrances.

In 1996 Unilever purchased Helene Curtis Industries, giving the company "a powerful new presence in the United States shampoo and deodorant market". The purchase brought Unilever the Suave and Finesse hair-care product brands and Degree deodorant brand.

The company is multinational with operating companies and factories on every continent (except Antarctica) and research laboratories at Colworth
Colworth House
Colworth House is an 18th century mansion set in an area of parkland on the edge of the village of Sharnbrook in Bedfordshire. The current house was first built on a site occupied since prehistoric times and starting in 1715 by Mark Antonie, a self made man who aspired to become part of the landed...

 and Port Sunlight
Port Sunlight
Port Sunlight is a model village, suburb and electoral ward in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside, England. It is located between Lower Bebington and New Ferry, on the Wirral Peninsula. Between 1894 and 1974 it formed part of Bebington urban district within the county of Cheshire...

 in England; Vlaardingen
Vlaardingen
Vlaardingen is a town in South Holland in the Netherlands. It is located on the north bank of the Nieuwe Maas/Nieuwe Waterweg river at the confluence with the Oude Maas...

 in the Netherlands; Trumbull, Connecticut
Trumbull, Connecticut
Trumbull, a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut in the New England region of the United States, is bordered by the towns of Monroe, Shelton, Stratford, Bridgeport, Fairfield and Easton along Connecticut's Gold Coast. The population was 36,018 according to the 2010 census.Family Circle magazine...

, and Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
Englewood Cliffs is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 census, the borough population was 5,281. The borough houses the world headquarters of CNBC and the American headquarters of Unilever, and is home to both Ferrari and Maserati North America.Englewood Cliffs...

 in the United States; Bangalore
Bangalore
Bengaluru , formerly called Bengaluru is the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Bangalore is nicknamed the Garden City and was once called a pensioner's paradise. Located on the Deccan Plateau in the south-eastern part of Karnataka, Bangalore is India's third most populous city and...

 in India (see also Hindustan Unilever Limited); and Shanghai in China.

The US division carried the Lever Brothers
Lever Brothers
Lever Brothers was a British manufacturer founded in 1885 by William Hesketh Lever and his brother, James Darcy Lever . The brothers had invested in and promoted a new soap making process invented by chemist William Hough Watson, it was a huge success...

 name until the 1990s, when it adopted that of the parent company. The American unit has headquarters in New Jersey, and no longer maintains a presence at Lever House
Lever House
Lever House, designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and located at 390 Park Avenue in New York City, is the quintessential and seminal glass-box skyscraper built in the International style according to the design principles of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Completed in 1952, it was...

, the iconic skyscraper on Park Avenue
Park Avenue (Manhattan)
Park Avenue is a wide boulevard that carries north and southbound traffic in New York City borough of Manhattan. Through most of its length, it runs parallel to Madison Avenue to the west and Lexington Avenue to the east....

 in New York City.

The company is said to promote sustainability
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

 and started a sustainable agriculture
Sustainable agriculture
Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment...

 programme in 1998.

21st century

In 2000 the company absorbed the American business Best Foods, strengthening its presence in North America and extending its portfolio of foods brands. In April 2000 it bought both Ben & Jerry's
Ben & Jerry's
Ben & Jerry's is an American ice cream company, a division of the British-Dutch Unilever conglomerate, that manufactures ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and ice cream novelty products, manufactured by Ben & Jerry's Homemade Holdings, Inc., headquartered in South Burlington, Vermont, United...

 and Slim Fast
Slim Fast
Slim•Fast is a brand of shakes, bars, snacks, packaged meals, and other dietary supplement foods sold in the U.S., UK, Ireland, Canada, France, Germany, Iceland and Latin America by Unilever. Slim Fast promotes diets and weight loss plans featuring its food products. Its U.S...

.
In May 2007 it became the first tea company to commit to sourcing all its tea in a sustainable manner, employing the Rainforest Alliance
Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance is a non-governmental organization with the published aims of working to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. It is based in New York City, and has offices throughout the...

, an international environmental NGO, to certify its tea estates in East Africa, as well as third-party suppliers in Africa and other parts of the world. It declared its aim to have all Lipton
Lipton
Lipton is a brand of tea currently owned by Unilever.-History of Lipton Tea:Lipton was created at the end of the 19th century by a grocer, Sir Thomas Lipton, in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1893, he established the Thomas J. Lipton Co., a tea packing company with its headquarters and factory in Hobo ken,...

 Yellow Label and PG Tips
PG Tips
PG Tips is a brand of tea in the United Kingdom, manufactured by Unilever UK. It is claimed that Britons drink 35 million cups of the tea every day.-Brand name:...

 tea bags sold in Western Europe certified by 2010, followed by all Lipton tea bags globally by 2015.

Covalence, an ethical reputation ranking agency, placed Unilever at the top of its ranking based on positive versus negative news coverage for 2007.

In 2007, Unilever's Dove "Evolution" video that ran only online, was named the first ever non-tv spot to win the Grand Lion at the Cannes Advertising Festival. And in March, 2008, Unilever was named "Digital Marketer of the Year" by Advertising Age.

In 2008 Unilever was honoured at the 59th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Award
Technology & Engineering Emmy Award
A Technology and Engineering Emmy Award is given by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievement in technical or engineering development...

s for "Outstanding Achievement in Advanced Media Technology for Creation and Distribution of Interactive Commercial Advertising Delivered Through Digital Set Top Boxes" for its program Axe: Boost Your ESP.

On 25 September 2009, Unilever decided to acquire the personal care business of Sara Lee Corporation: leading brands such as Radox
Radox
Radox is a brand of bubble bath and shower gels available in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Czech Republic, Australia, Malaysia and South Africa. It comes in both bath salt and liquid form...

, Badedas and Duschdas strengthened category leadership in Skin Cleansing and Deodorants.

On 9 August 2010, Unilever signed an asset purchase agreement with the Norwegian dairy group TINE, to acquire the activities of Diplom-Is in Denmark, as of 30 September 2010.

On 24 September 2010, Unilever announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its consumer tomato products business in Brazil to Cargill
Cargill
Cargill, Incorporated is a privately held, multinational corporation based in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Founded in 1865, it is now the largest privately held corporation in the United States in terms of revenue. If it were a public company, it would rank, as of 2011, number 13 on the Fortune 500,...

.

On 27 September 2010, Unilever purchased Alberto-Culver
Alberto-Culver
Alberto-Culver is an American corporation with international sales whose principal business is manufacturing hair and skin beauty care products under such brands as Alberto VO5, Andrew Collinge, St. Ives , TRESemmé, FDS, Consort, and Nexxus. It is a manufacturer in the multicultural beauty care...

, the maker of personal care and household products such as Simple
Simple
Simple may refer to:- Technology :*SIMPLE, an instant messaging protocol*SiMPLE, a programming development system*SIMPLE algorithm, a widely used numerical procedure...

, VO5, Nexxus
Nexxus
NeXXus is an American salon hair care company dually founded in 1979 by American haircare entrepreneur Jheri Redding, founder of three other companies, and son Stephen. The company's name derived from the word "nexus" which means "bond" or "connecting"....

, TRESemmé
TRESemmé
TRESemmé is a brand of haircare products first manufactured by Godefroy Manufacturing Company in St. Louis, Missouri starting in 1947.  The brand name is a word play and reference to Edna L...

, and Mrs. Dash
Mrs. Dash
Mrs. Dash is a brand name of seasoning marketed by the American company Alberto-Culver. The best known varieties of Mrs. Dash are granulated mixtures of dried herbs and spices which are sold in small plastic shaker bottles....

 for $US3.7 billion.

On 28 September 2010, Unilever and EVGA
Evga S.A.
Evga S.A. is a Greek dairy company and it one of the major dairy brands in the country. It is headquartered in Athens. The company produces ice cream, juices, croissants and frozen pastry products.EVGA has been operating in the Greek market since 1934....

 announced that they have signed an agreement under which Unilever will acquire EVGA’s ice cream brands (amongst others, Scandal, Variete and Karabola) and distribution network in Greece, for an undisclosed amount.

On 23 March 2011: Unilever announced that it has entered a binding agreement to sell the global Sanex business to Colgate-Palmolive
Colgate-Palmolive
Colgate-Palmolive Company is an American diversified multinational corporation focused on the production, distribution and provision of household, health care and personal products, such as soaps, detergents, and oral hygiene products . Under its "Hill's" brand, it is also a manufacturer of...

 for €672m. Unilever also announced that it has entered into a binding agreement to acquire Colgate-Palmolive’s laundry detergent brands (Fab, Lavomatic and Vel) in Colombia for US$215m.

On 24/08/2011,Unilever annouced to sell VO5 in the USA.
Unilever to sell the Alberto VO5 brand in the United States and Puerto Rico, and the Rave brand globally to Brynwood Partners VI L.P.

On 14/10/2011, Unilever annouced to acquire 82% of leading Russian beauty company Kalina
Successful brands enhance presence in attractive emerging market, strengthen Personal Care portfolio and create leading position in skin care in Russia.

See "Jurgens Generaties in Beweging" by M.A.J.Jurgens and drs. F.J.M. van de Ven, Volume I and II; Nederlands's Patriciaat Ao 1999, 82e Edition.

Products


Unilever owns more than 400 brands as a result of acquisitions, however, the company focuses on what are called the "billion-dollar brands", 13 brands, each of which achieve annual sales in excess of €1 billion. Unilever's top 25 brands account for more than 70% of sales. The brands fall almost entirely into two categories: Food and Beverages, and Home and Personal Care.

Unilever's brands include:

  • Aviance
    Aviance
    Aviance is a beauty brand, primarily aimed at women, produced by the Unilever group.Aviance is sold under a variety of different markets around the world including Asia, Latin America and the Middle East and is also sold via Hindustan Unilever's Multi-level marketing division Hindustan Unilever...

  • Axe
    Axe (deodorant)
    Lynx is a brand of male grooming products, owned by the British/Dutch company Unilever and marketed towards young males.-History:Axe was launched in France in 1983 by Unilever...

    /Lynx
  • Ben & Jerry's
    Ben & Jerry's
    Ben & Jerry's is an American ice cream company, a division of the British-Dutch Unilever conglomerate, that manufactures ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and ice cream novelty products, manufactured by Ben & Jerry's Homemade Holdings, Inc., headquartered in South Burlington, Vermont, United...

  • Blue Band
  • Dove
    Dove (brand)
    Dove is a personal care brand owned by Unilever.Dove products are manufactured in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Ireland, Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey and United States. The products are sold in more than 35 countries and are offered for both women and men.. The Dove...

  • Flora
    Flora (margarine)
    Flora is a brand of margarine, sold in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. It is produced by Unilever and sold in other parts of the world under the brand name of Becel...

    /Becel
    Becel
    Becel is a brand of margarine produced by Unilever and sold in a number of countries, including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, and Turkey...

  • Heartbrand
  • Hellmann's
  • Knorr

  • Lipton
    Lipton
    Lipton is a brand of tea currently owned by Unilever.-History of Lipton Tea:Lipton was created at the end of the 19th century by a grocer, Sir Thomas Lipton, in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1893, he established the Thomas J. Lipton Co., a tea packing company with its headquarters and factory in Hobo ken,...

  • Lux / Radox
  • Omo/Surf (detergent)
    Surf (detergent)
    Surf is the name of a brand of laundry detergent made by Unilever and sold in the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa and many other countries. In the United States the Surf product line is owned by Sun Products...

  • Rexona
    Rexona
    Rexona is a deodorant brand manufactured by Anglo Dutch company Unilever. It was developed in 1908 by an Australian pharmacist and his wife.The brand Rexona also exists in India...

    /Sure
    Sure (brand)
    In the UK and other European countries, Sure is the name of a brand of antiperspirant deodorant for men and women produced by Unilever, marketed with the tagline "It Won't Let You Down"....

  • Wish-Bone
    Wish-Bone salad dressing
    Wish-Bone is an American brand of salad dressing. The original dressing was based on a recipe served at the Wish-Bone restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri, founded by ex-soldier Phillip Sollomi in 1945...

  • Sunsilk
    Sunsilk
    Sunsilk is a hair care brand, primarily aimed at women, produced by the Unilever group, which is now considered the world's leading company in hair conditioning and the second largest in shampoo. Sunsilk is Unilever’s leading hair care brand, and ranks as one of the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate's...

  • TIGI (haircare)
  • TRESemmé
    TRESemmé
    TRESemmé is a brand of haircare products first manufactured by Godefroy Manufacturing Company in St. Louis, Missouri starting in 1947.  The brand name is a word play and reference to Edna L...

  • VO5


Advertising

Unilever has produced many advertising campaigns, including:

In 2007 Unilever launched the Dove
Dove (brand)
Dove is a personal care brand owned by Unilever.Dove products are manufactured in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Ireland, Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey and United States. The products are sold in more than 35 countries and are offered for both women and men.. The Dove...

 "Real Beauty" marketing campaign, which encourages women to reject the underfed and hyper-sexualized images of modern advertising.

Corporate governance

Unilever's highest executive body is called the Unilever Executive which is led by the Group Chief Executive (Paul Polman
Paul Polman
Paul Polman is the CEO of the multinational Anglo-Dutch food and detergent company, Unilever.-Early life:...

).
Members of the Unilever Executive include:
  • Paul Polman
    Paul Polman
    Paul Polman is the CEO of the multinational Anglo-Dutch food and detergent company, Unilever.-Early life:...

     (Group Chief Executive)
  • Doug Baillie(Chief HR Officer)
  • Professor Geneviève Berger (Chief Research & Development Officer)
  • Jean-Marc Huet (Chief Financial Officer)
  • Dave Lewis (Home and Personal Care Executive)
  • Harish Manwani
    Harish Manwani
    -Early life:Manwani graduated from Mumbai University. He also obtained Master's Degree in Management studies at Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies and studied Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.-Career:...

     (President Asia,Africa, Central & Eastern Europe)
  • Pier Luigi Sigismondi (Chief Supply Chain Officer)
  • Keith Weed (Chief Marketing and Communication Officer)
  • Jan Zijderveld (President Western Europe)

Executive and non-executive directors
Board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

 at Unilever are:
  • Michael Treschow
    Michael Treschow
    Michael Treschow is a Swedish businessman. As chairman of the board of both Unilever and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, and former chairman of Ericsson, Treschow is one of the most influential people in Swedish business today...

  • Louise Fresco
    Louise Fresco
    Louise O. Fresco is a Dutch scientist, director and writer.-Current academic positions:...

  • Ann Fudge
  • Charles E. Golden
  • Kees J. Storm
  • Jeroen van der Veer
    Jeroen van der Veer
    Jeroen van der Veer was the CEO of the petroleum corporation Royal Dutch Shell until 30 June 2009....

  • Byron E. Grote
  • Hixonia Nyasulu
  • The Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind
    Malcolm Rifkind
    Sir Malcolm Leslie Rifkind KCMG QC MP is a British Conservative Party politician and Member of Parliament for Kensington. He served in various roles as a cabinet minister under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, including Secretary of State for Scotland , Defence Secretary and...

    , MP
  • Paul Walsh
    Paul Walsh
    Paul Anthony Walsh is a retired English footballer.Walsh was a diminutive and pacy centre forward who shot to fame in the 1980s during spells with Charlton, Luton, Liverpool and Tottenham.-Charlton Athletic:...

  • Sunil Bharti Mittal


Major competitors

Unilever's main international competitors include Nestlé
Nestlé
Nestlé S.A. is the world's largest food and nutrition company. Founded and headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland, Nestlé originated in a 1905 merger of the Anglo-Swiss Milk Company, established in 1867 by brothers George Page and Charles Page, and Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé, founded in 1866 by Henri...

 and Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble is a Fortune 500 American multinational corporation headquartered in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio and manufactures a wide range of consumer goods....

. They also face competition in local markets or product ranges from companies such as Beiersdorf
Beiersdorf
Beiersdorf AG is a multinational corporation based in Hamburg, Germany, manufacturing personal care products. Its brands include Elastoplast, Eucerin , Labello, and Nivea....

, ConAgra, Danone, Henkel
Henkel
Henkel AG & Co. KGaA is an multinational company headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany.The company operates in three business areas: Home Care , Personal Care ,...

, Mars, Inc., Pepsico
PepsiCo
PepsiCo Inc. is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Purchase, New York, United States, with interests in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of grain-based snack foods, beverages, and other products. PepsiCo was formed in 1965 with the merger of the Pepsi-Cola Company...

, Reckitt Benckiser
Reckitt Benckiser
Reckitt Benckiser plc is a global consumer goods company headquartered in Slough, United Kingdom. It is the world's largest producer of household products and a major producer of consumer healthcare and personal products...

 and S. C. Johnson & Son
S. C. Johnson & Son
S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. , previously known as S. C. Johnson Wax , is a privately held, global manufacturer of household cleaning supplies and other consumer chemicals based in Racine, Wisconsin. It has operations in 72 countries and its brands are sold in over 110...

.

Environmental impact

Unilever's stated goals are to decouple growth from the company's environmental impact by
  • halving the environmental footprint of its products
  • helping 1 billion people improve their health and well-being
  • sourcing all of its agricultural raw materials sustainably

Palm oil

Unilever has been criticised by Greenpeace
Greenpeace
Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, The Netherlands...

 for causing deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

,
Unilever was targeted in 2008 by Greenpeace UK, which criticised the company for buying palm oil
Palm oil
Palm oil, coconut oil and palm kernel oil are edible plant oils derived from the fruits of palm trees. Palm oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit of the oil palm Elaeis guineensis; palm kernel oil is derived from the kernel of the oil palm and coconut oil is derived from the kernel of the...

 from suppliers that are damaging Indonesia's rainforests. Unilever, as a founding member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), responded by publicizing its plan to obtain all of its palm oil from sources that are certified as sustainable by 2015.

In Côte d'Ivoire, one of Unilever's palm oil suppliers was accused of clearing forest for plantations, an activity that threatened a primate
Primate
A primate is a mammal of the order Primates , which contains prosimians and simians. Primates arose from ancestors that lived in the trees of tropical forests; many primate characteristics represent adaptations to life in this challenging three-dimensional environment...

 species, Miss Waldron's Red Colobus
Miss Waldron's Red Colobus
Miss Waldron's red colobus is a subspecies of the western red colobus native to West Africa. It has not been officially sighted since 1978 and was considered extinct in 2000. However, new evidence suggests that a very small number of these monkeys may be living in the southeast corner of Ivory Coast...

. Unilever intervened to halt the clearances pending the results of an environmental assessment.

On 4 July 2010, Unilever announced that it has secured enough GreenPalm certificates of sustainable palm oil to cover the requirements of its European, Australia, and New Zealand business. GreenPalm is a certificate trading programme, endorsed by the RSPO, which is designed to tackle the environmental and social problems created by the production of palm oil.

Rainforest Alliance

Unilever has committed to purchase all its tea from sustainable, ethical sources. It has asked the international environmental NGO, Rainforest Alliance, to start by certifying tea farms in Africa.

Lipton and PG Tips will be the first brands to contain certified tea. The company aims to have all Lipton Yellow Label and PG Tips tea bags sold in Western Europe certified by 2010 and all Lipton tea bags sold globally by 2015.

Controversies

Unilever claims that corporate social responsibility
Corporate social responsibility
Corporate social responsibility is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model...

 is at the heart of its business. However, the transition to a responsible and sustainable company is ongoing and Unilever has attracted a variety of criticisms from political, environmental and human rights activists on not achieving the high aims it communicates on a number of topics.

Animal testing

Unilever states it is committed to the elimination of animal testing, and that in those countries where it is a legal requirement it tries to convince the relevant authorities to change the law. Some activists argue that this is little more than an effort to gain good publicity and Unilever continue to use animal experimentation such as the LD50 poisoning test.

Race and advertisements

Hindustan Unilever, had been showing television advertisements for skin-lightening cream
Skin whitening
Skin whitening, skin lightening and skin bleaching refers to the practice of using chemical substances in an attempt to lighten skin tone or provide an even skin complexion by lessening the concentration of melanin...

, Fair and Lovely, depicting depressed, dark-skinned women, who had been ignored by employers and men, suddenly finding new boyfriends and glamorous careers after the cream had lightened their skin.

The Austrian branch of Unilever (Eskimo) is producing and marketing an ice-cream under the name Mohr im Hemd. "Mohr" (moor), is a colonial German word for African or black people, has a heavily colonialist and racist connotation., "Mohr im Hemd" (moor in the shirt) is a traditional Austrian chocolate speciality which refers to naked, "wild" Africans. Unilever refutes any racist intentions and claims that it has tested the name in broad market studies in Austria without any critical feedback.

Sexism in advertisements

Unilever received criticism from The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood for a 2007 Axe marketing campaign, which they considered sexist. Unilever's response was that the campaign was intended as a spoof and "not meant to be taken literally".

See also

  • Morris Tabaksblat
    Morris Tabaksblat
    Morris Tabaksblat, KBE , was a Dutch captain of industry. He was a former CEO of Unilever and chairman of the Tabaksblat committee which drafted the Tabaksblat code.-Education:...

    , a previous CEO
  • Gorton's of Gloucester
    Gorton's of Gloucester
    Gorton’s of Gloucester is a subsidiary of the Japanese seafood conglomerate Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd., producing fishsticks and other frozen seafood for the retail market in the United States. Gorton’s also has a North American foodservice business which sells to fast-food restaurants such as...

    , a former subsidiary
  • Palm Line
    Palm Line
    The Palm Line was a British-owned shipping line that was engaged in the West African trade from 1949, primarily servicing the ports along 5,000 miles of coastline from Morocco in the north to Angola in the far south....

    , a former shipping company
  • Unilever Australasia
    Unilever Australasia
    Unilever Australasia is the Australian and New Zealand subsidiary company of Anglo-Dutch FMCG company Unilever PLC. The 3 divisions of the company are Home & Personal Care, Foods and Ice Cream. The company is headquartered in Epping, Sydney, Australia, and has factories located in North Rocks ,...



External links

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