LONDON (Reuters) – British consumer goods giant Unilever pledged on Thursday to pay adequate wages to supply chain workers by the end of the decade, warning that the coronavirus epidemic has deepened social inequality.
Unilever unveiled a set of commitments to improve conditions for all workers across its supply base, following the group’s recent initiatives to become more socially responsible and also help tackle climate change.
The company, which has seen strong demand for hand cleansers and household cleaning products during the pandemic, said it will strive to ensure that “everyone … who provides goods and services directly to the company earns at least a wage or a living income, by 2030”.
Unilever also produces best-selling brands including Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Dove soap, Lipton tea, and Marmite’s yeast.
“The two biggest threats the world faces today are climate change and social inequality,” CEO Alan Job said in a statement.
“The past year has undoubtedly widened the social divide, and decisive and collective action is needed to build a society that improves livelihoods, embraces diversity, nurtures talent and provides opportunities for all.
“We believe that the actions we are committed to will make Unilever a better and stronger company; we are ready for the huge societal changes that we are seeing today – changes that will only accelerate.”
Thursday’s news comes nearly two months after Unilever transformed into an all-British company after completing the historic merger of its Dutch and British entities that ended the company’s two-head structure.
The Unilever PLC is now headquartered in London under a consolidation strategy designed to make it more responsive to economic challenges, including the coronavirus.
The company’s food and refreshment division is still located in Rotterdam, while Britain remains the norm for both home care, beauty and personal care units.