Consumer goods giant Unilever has announced a wide-ranging set of actions to support a more inclusive society, including a commitment to ensure all direct suppliers pay the Living Wage by 2030.
The goal is expected to affect around 60,000 suppliers of good and services to Unilever, which has had a Living Wage policy in place for its own UK workforce since 2015.
In a statement, the company said it would specifically focus on the most vulnerable workers in manufacturing and agriculture through purchasing practices, collaboration and advocacy with businesses, governments and NGOs to create “systemic change”.
The company has also committed to spending €2 billion annually with SME suppliers that are owned and managed by people from under-represented groups by 2025, including companies led by women, racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and LGBTQI+. Supplier diversity will also be promoted throughout Unilever’s value chain, encouraging other suppliers to have diversity amongst their respective partners.
Elsewhere, Unilever will also support five million SMEs in its retail value chain to grow their business through access to skills, finance and technology by 2025.
Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, said:
“The two biggest threats that the world currently faces are climate change and social inequality. The past year has undoubtedly widened the social divide, and decisive and collective action is needed to build a society that helps to improve livelihoods, embraces diversity, nurtures talent, and offers opportunities for everyone.
“We believe the actions we are committing to will make Unilever a better, stronger business; ready for the huge societal changes we are experiencing today – changes that will only accelerate. Without a healthy society, there cannot be a healthy business.”
Businesses in Greater Manchester can find out more about paying the Living Wage and improving employment standards via the city region’s voluntary Good Employment Charter.