CEO Alan Jope said the group’s strong cashflow and balance sheet meant it could “and should” give the additional support
At least €50m worth of the donations will go to the COVID Action Platform of the World Economic Forum
Unilever will also adapt its current manufacturing lines to produce sanitiser for use in hospitals, schools and other institutional settings
Consumer goods giant Unilever is offering €500m (£462m) in relief to vulnerable suppliers and retail customers, in the form of early payment and credit extensions. It is also donating €100m (£93m) in hygiene products, to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The Dove, Persil and Domestos owner said it would protect its workforce from sudden drops in pay stemming from the market disruption for up to three months.
CEO Alan Jope added the group’s strong cashflow and balance sheet meant it could “and should” give the additional support to help customers, suppliers and workers during the crisis.
“We are deeply saddened by the terrible impact that coronavirus is wreaking on lives and livelihoods everywhere,” Jope said.
“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 €100m 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.”
The €500m of cashflow relief to the Unilever supply chain includes:
- Early payment for the most vulnerable small and medium-sized suppliers to help them with financial liquidity
- Extending credit to selected small-scale retail customers whose business relies on Unilever, to help them manage and protect jobs
The €100m donations of soap, sanitiser, bleach and food includes at least €50m worth to the COVID Action Platform of the World Economic Forum, which is supporting global health organisations and agencies with their response to the emergency.
In addition to the supply of soap, Unilever said it would adapt its current manufacturing lines to produce sanitiser for use in hospitals, schools and other institutional settings.
The global group will also make product donations to partnerships and handwashing education programmes delivered through national health authorities and NGOs.
Unilever’s support for its workforce includes cover for employees, contractors and others who are managed by the business or work on its sites on a full or part-time basis.