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Unilever and DFID join forces to help world’s poor

Unilever and the Department for International Development (DFID) have formed a new partnership to create jobs, improve water and sanitation and develop sustainable supply chains in developing countries.

The International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, signed a joint letter of intent with the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate's ceo Paul Polman which commits both organisations to work together to improve the lives of millions of people in developing countries and help end dependency on aid.

The partnership is the first of its kind between a leading international business and the UK’s Department for International Development.

DFID and Unilever will launch a joint initiative to use new social business models to improve health, hygiene and livelihoods for 100 million people by 2025. They will also each contribute £5m to a research and innovation programme focused on affordable sanitation and safe drinking water.

Justine Greening said: “British businesses have the potential to make an enormous contribution to the fight against extreme poverty around the world. This partnership, the first of its kind, will combine our expertise and networks to help millions of the world’s poorest people find jobs, improve water and sanitation and, ultimately, end dependency on aid. This is not just good for the developing world, it is good for Britain. The frontier economies we will be working to improve are ultimately Britain’s future trading partners.”

Unilever, through its Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), aims to double the size of its business whilst reducing its environmental footprint and increasing positive social impact. Their products are sold in over 190 countries and more than half of the company’s presence is in developing and emerging markets. One element of this plan is their work facilitating hand-washing, sanitation and hygiene around the world.


  • As part of its mission to help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and wellbeing, Unilever, through its health soap Lifebuoy, has recently joined forces with Fashion 4 Development (F4D) to highlight the lifesaving power of handwashing with soap. An event this week in New York aimed to bring the importance of hygiene programmes for newborn survival to the attention of the influential First Ladies attending F4D’s annual First Ladies Luncheon. F4D works in partnership with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG), pairing diplomacy and fashion for the greater good of women and children worldwide.

Picture credit: ID 26621451 ©  |


Unilever | Global | Poverty

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