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Raise living standards

Hindustan Unilever raising living standards

At Hindustan Unilever, we are committed to offering fair wages and access to opportunities to thousands of people across our value chain. Changing business needs and the ever-evolving ambitions of the hyper-connected Indian youth have led us to focus on ensuring talent across the country is provided with equal opportunities to grow and lead rich, fulfilling lives.

HUL Compass ESG Goals

  • Ensure that everyone directly providing goods and services to HUL earns at least a living wage or income by 2030.
  • Help 2 million small- and medium-sized enterprises grow their business by 2025.

Our journey so far

  • All greenfield sites started in 2022 are compliant with living wages.
  • We have finalised detailed road maps with timelines and targets for all dedicated and non-dedicated sites.
  • We have impacted 1.38 million small- and medium-sized enterprises cumulatively, of which 0.45 million were in 2022 itself.

Breaking the poverty cycle, unlocking growth

A living wage or income provides for a family’s basic needs and amenities such as healthcare, and acts as a cushion for unexpected events. Most workers are not compensated fairly for the value they create. This not only affects them as individuals but also their families and communities. Our commitment to providing a living income to all those associated with it aims to break the cycle of poverty, unlock true potential and growth, and raise living standards.

Implementing UN principles on business and human rights

  • The Code upholds equality in human rights and is promoted in three ways:
     1. By upholding these values and standards across our operations.
     2. By supporting our relationships while reinforcing the principles of Human Rights and Labour rights for all our suppliers.
     3. Through external initiatives.
  • All HUL sites fall under Collective Bargaining Agreements and are aligned with the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) principles.
  • Our suppliers have adopted practices in line with Unilever’s Responsible Partner Policy (RPP), also available on our website (PDF 4.45 MB).
  • Furthermore, our Code supports and strengthens our approach to governance and corporate responsibility.

Procurement expenditure aligned with our RPP

Hindustan Unilever sustainable procurement policy
  • We have diligence procedures in place to identify human rights and risks across supply chains and third-party audits.
  • We maintain a procurement policy that is wholly aligned with our RPP and engage with our suppliers to achieve best-in-class practices.

Creating frameworks for fair compensation

A group of HUL employees working together
  • We pay above-statutory minimum wages, as prescribed by law, across our supply chain units.
  • The Variable Dearness Allowance (VDA), linked to the Cost Price Index (CPI), accounts for inflation and compensates for any increase in commodity prices and living costs.
  • We aim to move from a fair wage to a living wage, thus aiding employees to afford a decent standard of living for themselves & their families, including healthcare, education, housing, and other essential needs.
  • We continually review the average pay among genders to ensure its alignment with industry benchmarks.

Our living wage commitment for employees

We created our Framework for Fair Compensation (PDF 191.39 KB) in 2014. Through the first of its five principles we committed to pay all our employees a living wage, which we’ve achieved since 2020. We’ve updated our Code of Business Principles to endorse this commitment.

Helping SME retailers grow and reach consumers

Hindustan Unilever SME retailers
  • The joint initiatives aim to provide digital solutions for the retailers and customers of HUL in both rural and urban markets.
  • Under this collaboration, financial partners offer retailers an instant, paperless working capital loan facility for their billings with distributors.
  • Digitally enabled payment options ensure ease of usage and negotiated terms ensure affordability of credit.

Enabling livelihoods in India

HUL strives to embed sustainability through community initiatives and uses the power of its brands to contribute to a fairer and socially inclusive world.

Working directly with sellers to build skills

  • We help raise standards of living by recruiting and training sales representatives from towns and villages and equipping them with sales and accounting training, and marketing skills, as well as extending credit for business.
  • Our Shakti Ammas, or women micro-entrepreneurs, are empowered to generate their income and cater to the community’s needs.
  • Shakti incentives are distributed through direct bank transfers, helping rural women enter the formal banking sector, which leads to financial inclusion.

Hindustan Unilever Foundation (HUF)

Hindustan Unilever Foundation
  • Our NGO partners leverage the flagship National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme to enable communities to earn wages by building water conservation infrastructure. This, in turn, helps achieve water security and economic wellbeing for the communities.
  • HUF supports the on-farm deployment of innovations to help farmers reduce their water usage in a single cropping season to ensure the viability of the next season.

We are consistently transforming the ecology and economy of the involved villages through a combination of local cadres of frontline agronomists, large-scale demonstrations of innovations and best farm practices, mobile-enabled advisory solutions, and appropriate inputs.

Prabhat

Hindustan Unilever Project Prabhat
  • The primary objectives of Prabhat are economic empowerment, health & nutrition, and environmental sustainability.
  • Through its 18 livelihood centres, women and youth are trained in vocational skills and entrepreneurship development, making them future-fit. Training is provided on skills like data entry, IT, electrical, plumbing, solar technician, tailoring, beauty, etc. Inclusivity is built by involving people with disability, widows, and other vulnerable communities.
  • Under the farm-based value chain initiatives, Project Mooo works with dairy farmers to improve milk yield and productivity through digital inclusion. Additionally, through the skilling of women, SHGs are supported and promoted. The aim is to reduce input costs and increase the quality and quantity of outputs produced by the promotion of good practices and technology-based producers’ engagement. Through the farm-based value-chain work, Prabhat has benefitted >16,000 farmers.
  • Nearly 110,000 people have been imparted skill development and training, while almost 65,000 people have secured employment.

Kwality Wall’s

Hindustan Unilever Kwality Wall’s initiative
  • The mobile vending initiative launched by the brand trains people in sales, customer service, and problem-solving, and provides them with entrepreneurial exposure.

Sustainable farming

Hindustan Unilever sustainable agriculture
  • Over 82% of the tomatoes used in Kissan Ketchup were locally and sustainably sourced.
  • More than 68% of tea for our brands was sourced from sustainable sources.
  • By the end of 2022, 100% of the chicory was sourced sustainably. All our chicory farmers are covered by the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code, equipping them with knowledge and expertise in sustainable agriculture practices.
  • We work with farmers and suppliers to improve social and environmental standards in our supply chains.
  • We consistently support implementing the best farming principles and practices through the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code and equivalent standards like trustea and the Rainforest Alliance.
  • We aim to improve the livelihoods of the plantation workers and smallholder farmers in the tea industry through the alliance with trustea that ensures that all legally mandated wages and benefits are paid.
  • This has created a large-scale impact on the tea estates and Bought Leaf factories. For instance, it led to the equality and fair treatment of all plantation workers without any gender bias, thus empowering women, who make up 60% of the tea industry workforce.
  • We have also established a systematic grievance redressal mechanism that provides workers with the assurance of fair treatment.

Glow & Lovely Careers

Hindustan Unilever Glow and Lovely careers

Plastic waste management

Sustainable plastic waste management
  • Our plastic waste management programmes, through partners such as UNDP and Xynteo, have brought the unorganised sector of waste pickers into the mainstream by providing them employment.
  • The real-time impact can be seen in many of the Safai Saathis whose lives have improved considerably through these initiatives.
  • Through our partnerships, we have successfully linked 3,300 Safai Saathis and their families to Government schemes covering food, health, safety, security, and financial inclusion.
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