Unilever adapts UK deodorant production facility to make hand sanitiser

Unilever has adapted its deodorant production lines to make hand sanitiser during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having never manufactured hand sanitiser at its Leeds factory before, on 2 April, Unilever supplied its first batch of more than 700 litres to St James’s University Hospital, part of the Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust.

“This has been a massive collective effort by teams within our business and our suppliers, while many are remote working,” said Jason Sutcliffe, Unilever’s Beauty & Personal Care supply chain manager, who has led the initiative. “We have all wanted to get involved so we can do our bit to help those on the frontline. We’re just pleased to be able to contribute in this way.”

With strict health and safety requirements around the use of ethanol (alcohol), the main ingredient in hand sanitiser, Unilever said its Leeds factory was well-placed to start producing supplies quickly, as ethanol is used in some products manufactured at this site.

Jon Strachan, vice-president of the supply chain at Unilever UK & Ireland, said: “With hand sanitiser in short supply and much needed to help protect NHS staff in the fight against coronavirus, we’re pleased to have been able to switch over some of our production at our Leeds deodorant factory to make it there.

“I want to thank our factory team, who pulled out all the stops to get the production up and running, as well as a number of our supply, engineering and logistics partners who have supported us generously and at speed, for making this possible.”

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