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 operations create. 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. Through our business activities, the most important contributions that we make are to those MDGs that address poverty and hunger alleviation, health and environmental sustainability.
Through the Unilever Foundation and other partnerships and local community investment programmes, we believe that we contribute to all eight of the MDGs. Our contributions are directed to projects that are in line with the goals in our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan - hygiene, sanitation, access to safe water, nutrition and improving self-esteem.
The most important contributions that we make are to those MDGs that address poverty and hunger alleviation, health and environmental sustainability.
You can read about our progress against more than 50 targets that make up the Sustainable Living Plan in our online Unilever Sustainable Living Plan Progress Report for 2012 (published in April 2013).
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
Please note that this information is based on our previous year’s reporting and will be updated by mid-2013.
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 are due to be delivered to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the beginning of June 2013. For more, see Public policy & advocacy.