Consumer goods giant Unilever has committed €100m to curtail the spread of coronavirus through the donation of soap, sanitizer, bleach and food to help protect the lives and livelihoods of consumers, suppliers and its workforce.
Product donations will be made to organisations on the frontline of the virus fight including the COVID Action Platform of the World Economic Forum as well as local donations, partnerships and education programmes conducted in conjunction with national health authorities and non-governmental organisations.
Moreover, Unilever is offering €500m of cash flow relief through early payment to small and medium-sized suppliers and extended credit lines for small-scale retail customers. Closer to home the multinational has also vowed to protect the pay of all employees and contractors for a period of up to 3 months.
Alan Jope, chief exec at Unilever said: “We are deeply saddened by the terrible impact that coronavirus is wreaking on lives and livelihoods everywhere. 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. Our strong cash flow and balance sheet mean that we can, and should, give this additional support.”
Unilever’s actions dovetail with its purpose-led brand's platform which prioritises high-growth ‘sustainable living’ brands such as Dove, Lifebuoy and Vaseline. This follows several high-profile interventions from brands seeking to get ahead of the curve on the crisis, such as skincare brand L’Occitane which has sent complimentary hand cream to hospital workers.
Brands such as McDonald’s have also been flexing their creative muscles through a powerful visual metaphor which saw its iconic golden arches separated to promote social distancing.