Business Reporter

Unilever Zimbabwe celebrated the sixth year of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, UNICEF, OXFAM and other valued partners at a plenary session on sustainability and business. In 2010, Unilever launched its blueprint on sustainable growth, the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. The business has ambitious plans to decouple growth from environmental impact whilst increasing its positive social impact. Under the USLP, Unilever has committed to help improve the health and well-being of one billion people globally, reduce its environmental impact by half and enhance livelihoods for millions by 2020.

According to Managing Director Hilary Muzondiwa, Unilever Zimbabwe has made efforts locally to help reach these global targets.

He said that Unilever Zimbabwe is committed to creating a bright future for communities through products and trusted brands that help people look good and feel good.

Amongst its social objectives, Unilever Zimbabwe has rolled out hand washing behaviour change programmes that reached 40 000 children and helped educate pupils on the importance of hand-washing with soap as a cost effective solution to curb the spread of communicable diseases.

This initiative was driven by Unilever’s hygiene brand Lifebuoy that is committed to help more children reach the age of five through the life saving habit of hand washing with soap.

“Domestos has championed hygiene and sanitation, by helping to provide access to improved toilets for local communities. Domestos has renovated four toilets in Harare and Bulawayo, 700 000 people will have benefited from these improvements in 2016,” said Mr Muzondiwa.

He also added that Unilever has been operating in Zimbabwe since 1943 and manufactures household favourite brands such as Royco, Geisha, Sunlight washing powder and Omo washing powder out of three plants; the savoury plant, the soaps plans and the powders plant.

“The factory utilises green friendly measures such as waste segregation, water harvesting and natural lighting and ventilation where ever possible.

“It is also zero waste to landfill compliant and contributing towards reducing the carbon footprint,” said Mr Muzondiwa

In his key note address at the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan plenary session, the Country Director of OXFAM Zimbabwe Kevin Ndemera said businesses should be encouraged to include sustainability into its value chain.

“OXFAM believes every day challenges can be championed in a manner that helps business to achieve their bottom line sustainably. As such, linking business and development will continue to be a critical part of how we work” said Mr Ndemera

Unilever was founded on the principle to make sustainable living common place. This legacy drives the company’s passion to address common global challenges in its markets.

“The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan has helped us to achieve sustainable growth and is aligned with the world’s most important to-do list, the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Our ambition is not just changing our business, we want to change the way business is done.

“By mobilising collective action, through the collaboration of business, government and NGOs we can develop sustainable solutions and new business models that create a brighter future and optimal development for communities,” concluded Mr Muzondiwa.

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