Unilever launches Project Sunlight

Because there has never been a better time to create a brighter future, we are launching Unilever Project Sunlight. We believe in a world where no child goes to bed hungry, where every home has enough water to drink, wash and clean, where preventable diseases are prevented, and where every child lives past their fifth birthday. We don't pretend to have all the answers, but we are inviting you to join us on the journey.

Project Sunlight, launched on Universal Children’s Day, in Brazil, India, Indonesia, the UK and the US, is designed to appeal to people everywhere, and in particular parents, encouraging them to join what Unilever sees as a growing community of people who want to make the world a better place for children and future generations. To mark the launch of Project Sunlight, Unilever will be helping 2 million children through its ongoing partnerships, providing school meals through the World Food Programme; supporting Save the Children to provide clean, safe drinking water; and improved hygiene through UNICEF.

HUL CEO & MD, Sanjiv Mehta said, “The launch of Project Sunlight is a significant milestone in the history of our company. We believe that large companies like ours have to be part of the solution to the problems the world is facing. Adopting sustainable lifestyles and people using their purchasing power to make consumption choices that are good for them and good for the world are important factors in the drive to reducing social inequality and averting the worst climate change predictions – to make sustainable living commonplace.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8YUmZNJUAHk (Link opens in a new window).

Unilever Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Keith Weed, explains: “Project Sunlight aims to galvanise and build momentum behind a movement that is already happening. People all over the world want to adopt more sustainable behaviours. As a global consumer goods company, we have the means to help people realise this ambition. We have extensive experience and research into what drives – and what limits – mass behaviour change. From this experience, we know that parenthood creates a profound shift in people’s view of the world and what the anticipated future will mean for the lives of their children.”

“In the first stage of Project Sunlight, we are inviting people to take three simple actions. We want to help people SEE a brighter future; in order to do this, we are inviting people to watch a film online which aims to inspire and motivate people. We want to encourage them to ACT by doing small things which, added together, contribute to a better society and environment. Ultimately, we want people to JOIN the movement and become part of a growing community of likeminded people and organisations who want to play their part in building a brighter future,” adds Weed.

The film, especially commissioned by Unilever and directed by Academy Award winning director Errol Morris, will inspire people to see the future in a more positive and optimistic way. The film can be watched at www.youtube.com/ulprojectsunlight (Link opens in a new window).

Project Sunlight will initially go live on an online hub – www.projectsunlight.com - which brings together the social mission stories of Unilever’s brands across the world, and invites consumers to get involved in doing small things which help their own families, others around the world and the planet. Among others, some of the brands featured include Lifebuoy, Dove, Omo, Persil, Surf, Comfort One Rinse, Lipton, Magnum and Knorr.

Project Sunlight has been informed by the wealth of Unilever’s consumer insight, including a new international piece of research commissioned by Unilever. Children are key to motivating adults to want to adopt more sustainable lifestyles and a powerful influence on parents changing their behaviour. 9 out of 10 parents say children’s natural optimism and enthusiasm inspires them to make the world a better place, and 7 out of 10 parents say their main motivation for wanting to live in a greener way is their children’s future.

“We chose the name Sunlight as a tribute to our founder William Lever, whose audacious vision 130 years ago to ‘make cleanliness commonplace’ with Sunlight soap inspired Unilever’s equally ambitious purpose today: to make sustainable living commonplace. Sunlight also reflects the sense of possibility and optimism which characterises Unilever’s approach,” adds Weed.

Tim Hunter, UNICEF Deputy Director of Fundraising, concludes: “Unilever’s support to UNICEF’s sanitation programmes has already made a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of children, and the funding from this new initiative will help reach a further 500,000 children.  By supporting us in providing handwashing facilities and promoting group handwashing programmes across 3,500 schools in India, Project Sunlight will be helping these children to have a healthy start in life.”

Notes to editors

Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan was launched in 2010. It has three ambitious goals, all to be achieved by 2020: 

  • To help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and wellbeing 
  • To halve the environmental footprint of our products across the value chain, not just those relating to manufacturing or within our direct contro 
  • To source 100% of their agricultural raw materials sustainably 

By the end of 2012, two years in to our 10 year plan, Unilever has: 

  • Reached 224 million people with safe drinking water and behaviour change programmes. These are helping to reduce diarrhoeal and respiratory disease through handwashing with soap, improve oral health, and improve self-esteem among young people
  • Reduced greenhouse gases by 6% across the value chain 
  • Sourced 36% of their agricultural raw materials sustainably, training around 450,000 smallholder farmers in the process

Sustainable Living Plan - India highlights for year ending 2012

  • Over 17 million people reached through Lifebuoy Handwashing programmes in 2012, taking the total to 47 million people reached since 2010.
  • More than 45 million people gained access to safe drinking water from Pureit globally by end of 2012.
  • CO2 emissions per tonne of production in India reduced by 22%, water use by 29% and waste by 77% compared to 2008*. (*per tonne of production in 2012 over 2008 baseline)
  • More than 30,000 climate-friendly freezers with Hydrocarbon technology deployed in India till date. 
  • Out of 38 HUL factories, 30 became zero-discharge sites by 2012.
  • HUL factories with 100% zero non-hazardous waste to landfill increased to 31. 
  • 100% of palm oil products sourced in 2012 are backed by sustainability certificates. 
  • Number of Shakti entrepreneurs scaled up to 48,000 in 15 states across India; Shaktimaans scaled up to more than 30,000 across India.

Media contacts


Telephone: Prasad Pradhan - 022 39832429, R Ram - 022 39832413

About Hindustan Unilever Limited

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is India's largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods company touching the lives of two out of three Indians. HUL works to create a better future every day. We help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others. 

For more information on Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, please visit http://www.hul.co.in/sustainable-living/

Hindustan Unilever Limited

Hindustan Unilever Limited,
Unilever House,
B. D. Sawant Marg,
Chakala, Andheri (E),
Mumbai - 400 099.

T: +91 22 39832429 (Prasad Pradhan)


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