Unilever, which owns brands such as Dove, Lynx, Sure and TRESemmé, will contribute €100 million to help the fight against Covid-19 (coronavirus) through donations of soap, sanitiser, bleach and food.
The organisation announced a set of measures on 24 March to support global and national efforts to tackle the pandemic. Its commitments include a product donation of soaps and sanitiser of at least €50 million to the COVID Action Platform of the World Economic Forum, which is supporting global health organisations and agencies with their response to the emergency. It will also adapt its current manufacturing lines to produce sanitiser for use in hospitals, schools and other institutional settings.
Unilever will also deliver product donations, partnerships and handwashing education programmes through national health authorities and NGOs, to support local communities most at need.
For customers and suppliers, the company will offer €500 million of cash flow relief to support livelihoods across its extended value chain, through early payment for its most valuable small and medium-sized suppliers to help them with financial liquidity; extending credit to select small-scale retail customers whose business relies on Unilever, to help them protect jobs.
To support its vast workforce, Unilever has agreed to protect staff from "sudden drops in pay" as a result of market disruption or being unable to perform their role (due to self-isolation or sickness), for up to three months.
"We are deeply saddened by the terrible impact that coronavirus is wreaking on lives and livelihoods everywhere," said Unilever CEO Alan Jope. "The world is facing its greatest trial in decades. We have seen the most incredible response from the Unilever team so far, especially those on the front line of our operations in factories, distribution centres and stores.
"We hope that our donation of €100 million of soap, sanitiser, bleach and food will make a significant contribution towards protecting people's lives, and that by helping to safeguard our workers' incomes and jobs, we are giving some peace of mind during these uncertain times. Our strong cash flow and balance sheet mean that we can, and should, give this additional support."