MDG index

We are committed to working with governments around the world to help achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Our contribution to the Millennium Development Goals

In 2000, the United Nations (UN) set out the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight global targets for governments to achieve by 2015, ranging from halving world poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS.

While primary responsibility for delivering these goals lies with governments, business also has an important part to play.

We make our most significant contribution to the MDGs through the products we sell and the wealth and jobs our business creates. Unilever is one of the world’s largest food and home and personal care companies with operations in around 100 countries, and products sold in over 190 countries. We make products that meet people’s needs for nutrition and hygiene and we employed around 173,000 people worldwide at the end of 2012.

We contribute to all eight of the MDGs through our business, the Unilever Foundation and other partnerships and local community investment programmes. The most important contributions that we make are to the MDGs that address poverty and hunger alleviation, health and environmental sustainability.

Many of the ways we contribute to the MDGs align closely with the goals in our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan - hygiene, sanitation, access to safe water, nutrition and improving self-esteem. You can read about our progress against more than 50 targets that make up the Sustainable Living Plan in our online Unilever Sustainable Living Report for 2012 (published in April 2013),which is our principal means of reporting. 

In the following sections we provide an overview of our contribution to each of the MDGs.

Millennium Development Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Millennium Development Goal 2: Achieve universal primary school education

Millennium Development Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Millennium Development Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

Millennium Development Goal 5: Improve maternal health

Millennium Development Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Millennium Development Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Millennium Development Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

Un high-level panel

In July 2012, Unilever’s CEO Paul Polman was appointed to the UN High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP)(Link opens in a new window). The HLP is made up of representatives from governments, the private sector, civil society and academia and is discussing issues such as poverty reduction, economic growth, social equality and environmental sustainability. The Panel’s recommendations were delivered to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in May 2013. For more, see Public policy & advocacy.