Unilever is a British-Dutch trans-national consumer goods company, with headquarters in both London (Unilever plc) and Rotterdam (Unilever NV); the companies operate as a single business. The company's products, available in ~190 countries, include food and beverages, cleaning agents, beauty and personal care products.
Unilever operates through 4 main divisions:
- 46%: Personal Care: Skin and hair care products, deodorants and oral care products.
- 26%: Foods: Soups, bouillons, sauces, snacks, mayonnaise, salad dressings, margarines and spreads;
- 15%: Refreshment: Ice cream, tea-based beverages, weight-management products and nutritionally-enhanced staples sold in developing markets.
- 13%: Home Care: Home care products including washing powders, liquids and capsules, soap bars and other cleaning products.
Climate Policy Rating: InfluenceMap A-
Nestle appears to be actively and positively lobbying climate and energy policies worldwide. However, CEO Paul Bulcke is a member of both the European Round Table of Industrialists and the International Chamber of Commerce, which lobby against climate change regulation.
Corporate Crimes: Promoting consumerism, manufacturing demand, flooding the world with ever more (useless) products is an immoral sales strategy; Misleading marketing; Market domination via cartels with other multi-nationals; Pushing the neoliberal agenda and spreading false information; Exploiting relatively cheap resources in the Third World; Promoting unsustainable agriculture; Started using GMOs in its food products before proper regulation - basically forces GMO foods down consumers' throats; Environmental pollution; Collaboration with oppressive regimes; Hypocritical Health Campaigns induced by Self-Interest; Excessive CEO Pay.ref
- 6.33% The Unilever Group
- 4.28% Wellington Management Company LLP
- 2.94% Vanguard Group Inc
- 2.90% Norges Bank Investment Management
- 1.59% Fidelity Management & Research Company
- 1.52% BlackRock Fund Advisors
- 1.46% Crédit Agricole SA § Amundi Asset Management SA
- 1.23% Deutsche Bank AG#DWS Investment GmbH
- 1.17% Flossbach von Storch AG
- 0.94% BlackRock Advisors (UK) Ltd
Unilever Tea Kenya (UTKL)
Hindustan Unilever Ltd
- Brooke Bond Red Label, launched in 1903, is a blend CTC tea with best quality leaves. Website, Brooke Bond
See also Leverhulme Trust website
- ?date?: Best Foods was acquired.
- Aug.2013: Wish Bone Salad Dressing was sold to Pinnacle Foods Inc.ref
- Jan.2013: Skippy peanut butter business was sold to Hormel Foods Corporation.ref
- Jan.2012: Brylcreem was purchased from the Sara Lee Corporation just prior to its split into Hillshire Brands (North America) and DE Master Blenders 1753 (International).ref ToDo: SmithKline Beecham this year has gone intrapreneurial as well as entrepreneurial. The company sold Aqua Velva and Lectric Shave lotions and Brylcreem to Brynwood Partners.ref See J.B. Williams Company Inc (Aqua Velva, Lectric Shave, Brylcreem, Cepacol, Williams Mug Soap), Brynwood Partners, link.
- Sept.2010: Alberto-Culver Company was purchased.ref Unilever was required to sell selected hair care brands and its entire USA food business to satisfy antitrust concerns. B&G Foods bought the USA food business; High Ridge Brands bought the USA rights to VO5, Rave, and Coast, with Unilever retaining brand ownership in the rest of the world.ref In 2013, Unilever closed the Alberto-Culver plant, laying off 600 workers.
- Nov.2006: Iglo Group: the majority of Unilever's European Frozen Foods businesses were acquired by Permira and European Capital, along with the Birds Eye and Iglo brands. Unilever retained Findus Italy, its Italian frozen food business.ref
- Nov.2003: Ambrosia: Unilever sold the Devon-based maker of creamed rice and ready-to-use custard to US private equity firm Kainos Capital LP § Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, owners of Premier Foods plc.ref,ref
Brown & Polson: Unilever also sold the corn-starch business to Premier Foods.ref,ref,ref
- Apr.2002: ACH Food Companies Inc bought the Mazola, Argo & Kingsfords, Karo, Henri’s salad dressing and Golden Griddle syrups brands from Unilever. Additional Canadian brands included Benson’s and Canada corn starches, St. Lawrence / St. Laurent corn oil, Crown and Bee Hive corn syrups, Old Colony maple syrup and Old Tyme pancake syrup. Unilever sold the brands as part of its "Path to Growth" strategy, which included a focus on a smaller number of brands in clearly defined divisions. The brands and related assets had been acquired by Unilever in Oct.2000 when it acquired Bestfoods Corporation.ref
- Oct.2000: Bestfoods Corporation was acquired. FixMe: todo, todo
- late.1990s: Helene Curtis, Alberto-Culver's historic Chicago rival, was acquired.
- Oct.1997: CPC International renamed itself to Bestfoods.ref,Bestfoods@archive.org
Product histories of Hellmann's Mayonnaise, Entenmann's, Knorr, Mazola, Mueller's Pasta, Skippy Peanut Butter and Thomas' English Muffins are here
- 1998: Unilever inked a deal with ICI to sell its speciality chemicals division of which Quest International is a part. Unilever agreed to sell its shareholding in Biocon India to the Indian promoters. Biocon India became an independent entity.ref
- 1994: Wish Bone Salad Dressing: Western Dressing Inc sold its Western Dressing label to Unilever, but continuing to pack the dressing until 2002, when Unilever took it in-house, marketing it under the "Wish Bone" brand. See Richelieu Foods Inc.
- 1989: Biocon Biochemicals Ltd, based in Ireland, was acquired and merged with its subsidiary, Quest International.ref
- Dec.1986: Chesebrough-Ponds Inc, maker of Vaseline and Pond's face cream, was acquired. ref
- 1988: United Industries Corporation purchased various assets from Chesebrough-Ponds: Spectracide, Hot Shot, Rid-a-Bug, Bag-a-Bug and No-Pest.ref
- Jun.1987: Stauffer Chemical Company was sold to Imperial Chemical Industries,ref which promptly sold off Stauffer businesses that did not fit its strategy.ref
- Dec.1986: Unilever acquired Chesebrough-Ponds Inc.
- Feb.1985: Stauffer Chemical Company, a manufacturer of herbicides for corn and rice, was acquired after Stauffer fell on hard times.ref The acquisition put Chesebrough-Ponds deep into debt.
- Oct.2011: B&G Foods announced that it had agreed to acquire Mrs Dash, Molly McButter, Baker's Joy, Sugar Twin, Static Guard and Kleen Guard brands from Unilever.ref
- Sept.2010: Unilever purchased the company from ??.ref,ref following which Unilever sold Alberto-Culver's USA food business to B&G Foods to satisfy anti-trust concerns.ref
- Oct.07.2018: Unhappy Unilever investors take aim at chairman Marijn Dekkers. City demands board shake-up after bungled HQ move. Growing shareholder anger over failure to listen in the months leading up to Friday’s reversal is focusing on Unilever’s chairman, Marijn Dekkers. The Times, Sabah Meddings.
- Sept.28.2018: Unilever's bid to go Dutch far from assured as L&G joins rebels. Latest resistance from Legal & General Investment Management Ltd highlights a groundswell of protest against the firm leaving British stock indexes. How did it come to this? The tale starts in Jan.2017, when US cheese-and-ketchup firm Kraft Heinz launched a takeover pitch. Unilever was stunned; the board had assumed their company was so big it was bulletproof, especially from aggressive cost-cutters like Kraft, an outfit branded “fast and ruthless” by Unilever chief executive Paul Polman. In the event, Kraft rapidly retreated, but Unilever took a collective vow of “never again”. The final piece was the proposal to incorporate in the Netherlands. The critical problem, however, is that Unilever’s shares would be ejected from all UK stock indices, including the FTSE 100 and FTSE All-Share, if the company incorporates in Rotterdam. Some sceptics suspect deeper motives behind the choice of Rotterdam. Did Unilever judge that the Netherlands, with its stricter takeover rules, would offer greater sanctuary from future Krafts? Was Brexit a factor? Did a board with Dutch chairman and a Dutch chief executive simply prefer the Netherlands? The Guardian, Nils Pratley.
- Jul.30.2018: 7 Companies Launch Global Coalition for Animal Welfare. Seven global food firms — Nestlé, Unilever, Ikea Food Services, Aramark, Compass Group, Elior Group, and Sodexo — have joined forces to create the Global Coalition for Animal Welfare (GCAW). More than 70 bn animals are farmed for food annually, according to GCAW, and more than 70% of these animals often experience poor welfare standards. To improve animal welfare, the coalition will implement 3 strategies: provide a platform for food companies to work more closely with farm animal welfare experts; prioritize welfare issues and develop roadmaps for industry change; and advance knowledge through industry insights, research, and partnerships for action. These goals build on the pledge that Nestlé made last year, which states the company will only source cage-free eggs as ingredients for all of its food products globally by 2025. Nestlé also pledged to improve conditions for chickens raised to provide meat ingredients for their businesses throughout the United States and Europe. The new coalition intends to publish a collective agenda in early 2019. Veterianarian's Money Digest. See also Farm animal welfare
- Mar.13.2018: Unilever to move HQ to Rotterdam (but don’t believe those who will blame Brexit). Ever since a takeover approach by Kraft Heinz last year, corporate giant Unilever has been considering which of its current joint headquarters – offices in London and Rotterdam – it will select to be its principal base. Brexit Central, Jonathan Isaby.
- Mar.01.2018: PG goes plastic-free with brew for fully compostable teabags. #PG Tips is to remove plastic from all of its teabags by the end of the year after more than 200,000 people signed an online petition. Unilever, owner of PG, said that its teabags would be made from a new plant-based material that is 100 per cent biodegradable. Teabags are often sealed shut with the heat-resistant plastic polypropylene. The first bags using the replacement material, made from corn starch, will go on sale next week. The Times.
- Feb.22.2018: Unilever expected to pick Rotterdam when fleeing UK’s Brexit. The British govt is expecting that Unilever will pick Rotterdam for its head office after the UK leaves the EU. NL Times, Janene Pieters.
- Jan.02.2018: Unilever’s new strategy for fighting local upstarts: churning out copycat products. Outfoxed by Small-Batch Upstarts, Unilever Decides to Imitate Them. Maker of Dove soap and Hellmann’s mayonnaise targets 'ankle biters' with copycat ice cream, clove-oil toothpaste. Wall Street Journal, Saabira Chaudhuri.
- Shareholder pay revolt 'embarrassed' Royal Mail bosses, MPs hear. Rachel Reeves, chairman of the Select Committee, said the ratio at Unilever was 315 to 1, more than twice the FTSE 100 average of 146 to 1. Last year, CEO Paul Polman received a pay package worth £10.3m. The Guardian, Angela Monaghan. Oct.16.2018
- The Brand Audit Report, Vol.1 Over the next 10 years, plastic production is predicted to increase by 40%. Traditionally made from oil byproducts, but now increasingly made using fracked gas. Recycling is not a feasible solution to the plastic pollution crisis. Many plastics are very difficult, or impossible, to recycle. Megacorps make $billions of profits from the plastic-wrapped products - but leave taxpayers to pay for and manage the negative impacts. As the food and products contained in plastic are consumed, people are accumulating phthalates and endocrine-disrupting chemicals in their bloodstreams. Break Free From Plastic. Oct.2018
- Annual Report 2017. Foods and Refreshment segments were combined in Jan.2018. . Accessed Jan.10.2019.
- Corporate Political Engagement Index 2018. The new index of 104 multi-national companies, many of whom regularly meet with govt, has found nearly 75% are failing to adequately disclose how they engage with politicians. Only one company received the highest grade, with the average grade being "E" – representing poor standards in transparency. Transparency International UK. Nov.2018
- The A-List of Climate Policy Engagement. Which global companies lead in strategic lobbying for the ambitions of Paris? Rankings measure how a corporation or trade association behaves towards 2°C aligned climate and energy policy. Influence Map. Apr.2018