Unilever Announces its Sustainability Strategy in the KSA

4246Unilever, one of the world’s leading fast moving consuming goods FMCG companies and manufacturers of iconic brands such as Lipton and Sunsilk, has announced its sustainability strategy in Saudi Arabia,. The strategy implies the execution of a work plan which was launched in 2010 under the title “Unilever Sustainable Living Plan”. The plan that extends to 2020, is driving change throughout creating initiatives in partner with governmental and semi-governmental organizations to join together to help make sustainable business practice more widespread.

During the first annual meeting of the “Unilever Sustainable Living Plan” program organized by Company in Jeddah today, Yasser Joharji, the Managing Director of Unilever Saudi Arabia said, “we have received a notable interaction with the Company’s initiatives in the three targeted pillars; Health & Hygiene,: Environment, and the Livelihood

Joharji said, “more than two million people around the Kingdom were positively impacted by the Health & Hygiene initiatives launched as part of “Lifebuoy” Program which has been activated since 2012 in schools, malls and restaurants. It was also activated during the Hajj Season 2013. The community was made aware of the importance of washing hands, especially that 20% of the children between 5-12 years suffer from influenza and seasonal allergies in the Middle East. The majority of the community members use only water for their hand wash thinking that it is enough to kill germs. This is a wrong understanding and rather helps spread diseases.

“The campaign Health & Hygiene aims at reaching to more than 5 million individuals by 2020 to educate them about the importance of hand cleanliness”, added Joharji, as the recent lifebuoy awareness campaign against the Corona infection comes within the same context. It succeeded in spreading awareness among more than 70,000 people within a relatively short period of time about the protection against such disease.

During the main session of the meeting, Joharji confirmed that the community has responded positively to the recent environmental awareness initiative that was launched in collaboration with the National Water Company which presented many activities aiming at highlighting issues such as water scarcity”. The session was attended by representatives of government bodies, specialized academic and research institutes and non-government bodies concerned with the environmental, health and developmental aspects, in addition to Unilever’s executives, managers and employees,.

“The campaign stressed the importance of rectifying the individual behavior in the consumption of water. In Saudi, people spend between 12-15 minutes under the shower which consumes a lot of water, if they reduce their shower time to 4minutes, they will save 130L per shower”, Joherji added. The program aims at educating two million people on avoiding excessive consumption by 2020.

“We, at Unilever”, said Joherji, “are proud that we were able to make a qualitative transition in reducing our environmental footprint resulting from the production and operational processes in our plants. Since 2008, we have succeeded in reducing CO2 emissions by more than 38,000 tons; equivalent to the emissions of 8,000 vehicles taken off the road. At our plans, we also succeeded in saving about 80,000 m3 of water; equivalent to the capacity of 72 Olympic size swimming pools. In terms of power, we also made energy savings of an estimated GJ 314,000.”

In the same context, Unilever signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Saudi Society for Environmental Sciences. This aims at supporting environmental initiatives and adopting environment solutions for the pollutions problems resulting from the industrial materials. Other points of concern included recycling of waste and residual materials, in addition to pioneering the Green Power technology and tying it to the Green Economy. The framework of the Memorandum also included occupational training.

Commenting on this agreement, Prof. Ruqaia Qashqari the head of Saudi Society for Environmental Sciences said: “it was great to be in line with “Unilever Sustainable Living Plan” and share the same vision with Unilever to achieve our joint development objectives”.

As regards initiatives to enable the Saudi competences, Unilever is attracting top-tier graduates who aspire to success in world-class careers, then selects who have the knowledge, skills, ability and attitude to become our future leader. And in line with this vision, Joharji pointed out that the mutual initiative which the “Unilever Sustainable Living Plan” established in cooperation with “Bab-Rizq-Jameel” under the title “Bedaya” aims at enabling 6,500 Saudi women to run their own businesses by 2020. Approximately 6 million women do not work, nor do they support themselves. He added that 40 women have been registered in the “Bedaya” program under a variety of programs to support their skills and qualify them to run their own businesses. Hajer Falatah, One of the Bedaya beneficiaries said “Bedaya initiative helped me to develop my skills and tools needed to continue my journey to achieve the goal of running my own business in the near future”.

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