Health and wellbeing
At Hindustan Unilever, we recognise the importance of proper hygiene and sanitation. To this end, our brands and business initiatives are focussed on addressing the challenges associated with the same and improving people’s health, wellbeing and confidence.
HUL Compass ESG goals
Take action through our brands and initiatives to improve health and wellbeing and advance equity and inclusion.
Areas in focus
- Gender equity
- Body confidence and self-esteem
- Mental wellbeing
- Hand hygiene
- Oral health
- Skin health and healing
Our journey so far
- Over 75 million people in India have been reached through Lifebuoy’s hand-washing behaviour change initiative.
- Launched in 2020, the award-winning ‘H for Hand-washing’ campaign by Lifebuoy passed on the mantle to children nominated as 'H for Hand-washing’ Chief Education Officers (CEOs). They taught thousands of school-children sustainable hand-washing habits.
- Our first-of-its-kind Suvidha centres are urban community hygiene centres that tackle the issue of accessibility to safe and dignified sanitation services.
- The Suvidha centres provide over three lakh people in Mumbai with access to clean toilets, purified drinking water, showers and laundry services.
- Our Swasthya Curriculum teaches children in classes 1 to 5 the importance of adopting four habits: a nutritious meal, hand-washing with soap, safe drinking water practices, and using clean toilets over 24 days.
Handwashing with soap: a life-saving practice
- Handwashing with soap is one of the most cost-effective preventive measures against fatal diarrhoeal, respiratory, and other diseases. Studies show that the habit can reduce the chance of diarrhoeal diseases by an average of 30%.
- In India, around 0.9 million children under the age of 5 die of the above diseases. Therefore, hand-washing with soap is central to reducing infant mortality rates.
- We conduct many on-ground behaviour change programmes in partnership with the GAVI Alliance (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation), and our NGO partners.
Global Handwashing Day
- Every year, the 15th of October is celebrated as Global Hand-washing Day worldwide.
- In 2021, the Indian Ministry of Education endorsed the campaign, issuing letters to education departments in schools all over the country.
- In 2022, children were nominated as H for Handwashing Chief Education Officers (CEOs) to help create a real impact by teaching thousands of other school children handwashing habits.
- India’s youngest patent holder NC Vishalini became the face of the campaign and made a public plea to the Ministry of Education to include H for Handwashing in school curriculums.
Sanitation, hygiene, and safe drinking water
As of 2022, over 1.7 billion people, globally, did not have access to basic sanitation services, such as private toilets or latrines. Here’s how we are helping improve access to sanitation and hygiene, and improving people’s wellbeing.
Swachh Aadat, Swachh Bharat (SASB)
- It aims to promote good health and hygienic practices to address the country’s challenges pertaining to water, sanitation, and hygiene.
The first Suvidha was set up by HUL at Ghatkopar in Mumbai in 2016 in public-private partnership with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Pratha Samajik Sanstha, an NGO. With HSBC as a co-funder, HUL established 11 more Suvidha Centres. With the biggest one in Dharavi, which is also one of the largest community toilet blocks in India with 111 toilet seats. Our Suvidha Centres provide safe and dignified toilets, purified drinking water, showers and laundry services at subsidised rates to over 300,000 people.
The centres also treat wastewater from handwashing stations, showers and laundromats and recycle it to use in the toilets, saving over 50 million litres* of water cumulatively every year. HUL, along with BMC recently announced a strategic partnership with JSW Foundation to expand access to an additional 200,000 people in low-income communities. Through this partnership,the partners will establish 10 more Suvidha Centres in Mumbai.
*Based on estimations for all 12 Suvidha centres
Our extensive behaviour change programme focuses on the adoption of key hygiene and wellbeing habits.
- The behaviour change programme around our Suvidha centres encourages people to adopt four simple yet important habits: washing hands with soap; eating nutrition-rich meals; drinking safe water; and using clean toilets to reduce the scope of illness and create good health outcomes for families.
- Our programme is being implemented amongst populous and low-income communities in Dharavi, Kurla, Govandi, Ghatkopar and Malad areas in Mumbai.
- The programme reached over 5.3 lakhs people across Mumbai.
- The curriculum teaches children in classes 1-5 the importance of adopting four key habits: washing hands with soap; eating nutrition-rich meals; drinking safe water; and using clean toilets, over a 24-day period.
- The textbook version has been rolled out in government schools across Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
- We digitised the existing model to adapt to online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The digital curriculum was piloted in Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Delhi. Since 2018, 4.2 million children have been educated through the curriculum.
Supporting self-esteem and wellbeing
- Our body confidence education material is committed to empowering 6.25 million young people across eight states by 2024.
- The aim is to ensure that the future generation enjoys an affirming relationship with their appearance and reaches their full potential.
- We empower them and help them build body confidence and self-esteem through the world's largest self-esteem education project.
- In 2022, the Dove and UNICEF* partnership in India reached 2.4 million
- students, of which over 60% were female.
*UNICEF does not endorse any company, brand, product, or service.
- We maintain its premises to date and care for nearly 350 – 400 people, including infants, men and women, and HIV-positive patients at any given time.
- Currently, we are working towards re-developing the home to equip it with better facilities including proper drainage and ventilation systems, and additional leisure space for inmates to walk and develop a play area for children.