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Unilever announces its sustainability strategy in KSA

Unilever, one of the world’s leading fast moving consuming goods FMCG companies and manufacturer of iconic brands such as Lipton and Sunsilk, has announced its sustainability strategy in Saudi Arabia. The strategy implies the execution of a roadmap which was launched in 2010 under the title “Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP)”. The plan that extends to 2020, is driving change throughout creating initiatives in partner with other organizations who are joining the vision of (USLP) to help make sustainable business practices more widespread

During the first annual meeting of the (USLP) organized by Unilever in Jeddah, Yasser Joharji, the Managing Director of Unilever Saudi Arabia said, “We have received a notable interaction with the Company’s initiatives in the three targeted pillars; Health & Hygiene; Environmental, and enhancing Livelihoods.

“Joharji said, “more than two million people around the Kingdom were positively impacted by Lifebuoy’s Health & Hygiene program launched in 2012 in schools, malls and restaurants. It was also activated during the Hajj Season 2013. The community was made aware of the importance of washing hands, especially that 20% of the children between 5-12 years suffer from influenza and seasonal allergies in the Middle East.” He added that “The majority of the community members use only water for their hand wash thinking that it is enough to kill germs. This is a wrong understanding and rather helps spread diseases.”

“The Health & Hygiene campaign aims at reaching more than 5 million individuals by 2020 and educate them about the importance of hand hygiene”, added Joharji, as the recent lifebuoy awareness campaign against the Corona infection comes within the same context. It succeeded in spreading awareness about the protection against such disease amongst more than 70,000 people within a relatively short period of time

During the event that was attended by representatives of government bodies, specialized academic and research institutes and non-government bodies concerned with the environmental, health and developmental aspects, in addition to Unilever’s executives, managers and employees. Joharji confirmed that “the community has responded positively to the recent environmental awareness initiative that was launched in collaboration with the National Water Company which presented many activities aiming at highlighting issues such as water scarcity”.

“The campaign stressed the importance of rectifying the individual behavior in the consumption of water. In Saudi, people spend between 12-15 minutes under the shower which consumes a lot of water, if they reduce their shower time to 4minutes, they will save 130L per shower”, Joherji added. The program aims at educating two million people on avoiding excessive consumption by 2020.

“We, at Unilever, are proud that we were able to make a qualitative transition in reducing our environmental footprint resulting from the production and operational processes in our plants. Since 2008, we have succeeded in reducing CO2 emissions by more than 38,000 tons; equivalent to the emissions of 8,000 vehicles taken off the road. At our plant, we also succeeded in saving about 80,000 m3 of water; equivalent to the capacity of 72 Olympic size swimming pools. In terms of power, we also made energy savings of an estimated GJ 314,000.” Joherji underlined.

In the same context, Unilever signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Saudi Society for Environmental Sciences. This aims at supporting environmental initiatives and adopting environment solutions for pollution problems resulting from industrial materials. Other points of concern included recycling of waste and residual materials, in addition to pioneering the Green Power technology and tying it to the Green Economy. The framework of the Memorandum also included occupational training.

Commenting on this agreement, Prof. Ruqaia Qashqari the head of Saudi Society for Environmental Sciences said: “it was great to be in line with “Unilever Sustainable Living Plan” and share the same vision with Unilever to achieve our joint development objectives”.

With regards to the company’s effort in enabling Saudi competency, under “Unilever Sustainable Living Plan” the company established a project with “Bab-Rizq-Jameel” called “Bedaya”. This project aims at enabling 6,500 Saudi women to run their own businesses by 2020. Currently, approximately 6 million women do not work, nor do they support themselves.

Joherji commented “that 40 women have been registered in the “Bedaya” project under a variety of programs to support their skills and help them run their own ventures. Hajer Falatah, One of the Bedaya beneficiaries said “Bedaya initiative helped me develop my skills and provided me with the needed tools to continue my journey and achieve my goal of running my own business in the near future”.