(PRESS RELEASE) LONDON, 7-Mar-2022 — /EuropaWire/ — Unilever (LON: ULVR), multinational consumer goods conglomerate, has announced that the company will become the first global Foods company to publicly report the performance of its product portfolio against at least six different government-endorsed Nutrient Profile Models (NPM) as well as its own Highest Nutritional Standards (HNS).
Unilever will publish the assessment on an annual basis both globally and for 16 key strategic markets and will report its performance both by volume of product and by sales revenue. Its first report will be published by October 2022.
The move comes following extensive, constructive engagement with ShareAction and the Healthy Markets Initiative.
Unilever will also continue to set stretching nutrition targets for its portfolio, as part of its Future Foods commitments, which were published at the end of 2020. This includes timebound targets for plant-based sales, reduction of salt, sugar and calories, and increasing the sales of healthier ‘positive nutrition’ products.
Unilever will update and strengthen its specific targets that expire at the end of 2022 and will consider both HNS and at least six different NPMs to determine which is the most stretching target benchmark to increase sales of healthier products in a way that maximises positive impact for global consumer health.
Unilever’s new targets, and its updated Future Foods commitments, will be published by October 2022. Amongst others, Unilever will be guided by the latest Access to Nutrition Initiative’s assessment and recommendations in considering improvements to its strategy.
Unilever will continue to engage with ShareAction and investors from the Healthy Markets Initiative as these commitments are developed and implemented in the run up to the 2024 AGM.
Hanneke Faber, Unilever’s President of Foods & Refreshment, said: “We welcome the constructive dialogue we have had with ShareAction and the Healthy Markets Initiative. We share a common belief in the importance of having an ambitious long-term strategy for nutrition and health, and that companies should publish ambitious targets to deliver against. I am confident that with these new initiatives, we will set a new benchmark for nutrition transparency in our industry and accelerate our positive impact on public health.”
Catherine Howarth, CEO of ShareAction said: “A food manufacturer as large as Unilever has the power to improve the health of millions of people across the world. Responsible investors are challenging such companies to step up. We welcome Unilever’s new commitments. The transparency promised sets a new standard for the industry. We hope and expect that others will follow. ShareAction and the Healthy Markets investor coalition looks forward to working closely with Unilever as the company sets stretching new targets to sell more healthier food—and improve people’s health.”
A requisition, which Share Action had put forward on behalf of a number of investors for a resolution on nutrition at Unilever’s 2022 AGM, has been withdrawn.
Notes to editors
The minimum of six, Government-endorsed NPMs will represent a range of methods used by different countries:
- High Fat Salt Sugar (HFSS) used in the UK, NutriScore used in Europe, and the Health Star Rating, used in Australia & New Zealand.
- Front of Pack logos, used in Chile.
- Healthy Choice logos, used in Singapore, and Choices International.
The 16 markets in which the global portfolio will be assessed against NPMs are: the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, France, DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), UK & Ireland, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, Indonesia, India, China and Australia. In total, the assessment will cover about 25,000 individual product items.
Unilever and ShareAction intend to engage quarterly in 2022 and 2023; and bi-annually thereafter.
Where relevant, these actions are subject to the appropriate consultations and approvals.
This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including ‘forward-looking statements’ within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as ‘will’, ‘aim’, ‘expects’, ‘anticipates’, ‘intends’, ‘looks’, ‘believes’, ‘vision’, or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results, and their negatives, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Unilever Group (the ‘Group’). They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance.
Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Among other risks and uncertainties, the material or principal factors which could cause actual results to differ materially are: Unilever’s global brands not meeting consumer preferences; Unilever’s ability to innovate and remain competitive; Unilever’s investment choices in its portfolio management; the effect of climate change on Unilever’s business; Unilever’s ability to find sustainable solutions to its plastic packaging; significant changes or deterioration in customer relationships; the recruitment and retention of talented employees; disruptions in our supply chain and distribution; increases or volatility in the cost of raw materials and commodities; the production of safe and high quality products; secure and reliable IT infrastructure; execution of acquisitions, divestitures and business transformation projects; economic, social and political risks and natural disasters; financial risks; failure to meet high and ethical standards; and managing regulatory, tax and legal matters. A number of these risks have increased as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic.
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Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group’s filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the Unilever Annual Report and Accounts 2020.