Unilever Calls on Companies to Live by their Brand Purpose

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Spotlight on Unilever

Not many companies receive recognition for simply getting something right, yet Unilever earned a perfect score on the 2019 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. A global consumer goods company with over 400 brands, Unilever seeks to reflect the diversity of its consumers through its stated brand values—integrity, responsibility, respect and pioneering.

In 2017, Unilever achieved a 50/50 gender balance across management in the UK and, in March of this year, announced that it had reached a similar benchmark across management-level positions and higher globally—one year ahead of their corporate business goal.

Every day, over 2.5 billion people use Unilever products, driving the company to develop a Unilever Sustainable Living Plan for halving its environmental footprint and transitioning to 100% fully reusable, recyclable or compostable packing by 2025 for all products.

In response to COVID-19, Unilever has worked on a global, national and local level. The company is donating £100 million to fund an awareness-building campaign around the spread of coronavirus, which will be developed in partnership with the UK government. The donation matches the £100 million Unilever contributed in March, distributing soap, hand sanitizer, bleach and food. The company has set aside an additional €500 million to aid its suppliers and customers. With COVID-19 disproportionately impacting Black-owned businesses, Unilever’s Caress brand donating $1 million to IFUND Women of Color, an organization supporting entrepreneurial women of color.

Under the leadership of CEO Alan Jope, Unilever has become increasingly vocal about the importance of having a brand purpose, emphasizing that brands without one have no future at Unilever. At Cannes Lions, a global event for those working in advertising, creative marketing and allied fields, Jope called on the industry to embrace the same view.

“Woke-washing is undermining the advertising industry’s credibility and trust,” he said. “It’s putting in peril the very thing which offers us the opportunity to help tackle many of the world’s issues. What’s more, it threatens to further destroy trust in our industry, when it’s already in short supply.”

We agree. It’s imperative that companies live their brand—especially in the face of current challenges. Otherwise, a brand is just words.

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About Brand Acts of Kindness® 

Brand Acts of Kindness® is a series from Carpenter Group that spotlights companies across industries that are living their brand values in addressing the unprecedented challenges facing the world today.

The series initially headlined companies assisting healthcare workers and first responders, as well as communities, businesses and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also highlight brands taking the lead in supporting social and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, sustainability and the environment. Their stories show how innovation, resolve and action, built on a solid value proposition, can both strengthen a brand and help create a better world.

About Carpenter Group

Carpenter Group is an independent, woman-owned strategic branding, messaging and marketing communications firm that has delivered results-driven solutions to financial, professional services and technology firms for 30+ years.

Our broad cross-discipline experience enables us to craft brand messaging and carry it through to the channels that most effectively connect with our clients’ target audience, from editorial content to advertising to event marketing and more.