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Four women in saris standing in the countryside.

Raising living standards

Income inequality can stifle economic growth and affect people’s health, wellbeing and access to opportunities. It can also impact the resilience of corporate value chains.

We’re helping people in our value chain enhance their livelihoods, strengthening their economic resilience and the resilience of our business.

Breaking the poverty cycle: unlocking growth

At Hindustan Unilever Limited, respecting human rights is the foundation of our strategy and a non-negotiable condition of doing business with us. Our long-term ambition is to provide a decent livelihood for people in our value chain and help them earn a living wage. A decent livelihood enables people to at least afford the essentials of daily life for themselves and their families through work that is secure, dignified, and fair.

We believe that we can help raise standards of living for not only those who work with us but also impact the communities where we operate. Our approach focuses on implementation programmes and collective action. We are working with our suppliers to achieve living wages at affordable costs by using digital tools, automation and upskilling people.

Here’s how we’re making it happen

Implementing UN Principles on Business and Human Rights

All HUL sites operate under Collective Bargaining Agreements and align with the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) principles. Our suppliers adhere to Unilever’s Responsible Partner Policy (RPP), which supports governance and corporate responsibility. By upholding these standards in our value chain, we ensure that our business practices promote human dignity and fairness.

An image of HUL’s factory site in Sumerpur.

Creating frameworks for fair compensation

Our commitment to fair compensation goes beyond statutory requirements. We pay above-minimum wages across our supply chain units. The Variable Dearness Allowance (VDA), linked to the Cost Price Index (CPI), adjusts for inflation, ensuring that wages keep pace with rising living costs. Our goal is to enable employees to afford a decent standard of living, including healthcare, education, housing, and other essentials. We also regularly review gender pay parity to ensure our compensation practices meet industry benchmarks.

Shopfloor of Hindustan Unilever Limited factory site.

Supporting SME retailers and promoting financial inclusion

Economic growth and financial inclusion are critical to reducing poverty. HUL provides digital solutions for retailers and customers in both rural and urban markets. Through collaborations with financial partners, we offer retailers instant, paperless working capital loan facilities for their billings with distributors. Digital payment options enhance ease of use, while negotiated terms ensure credit affordability. This initiative helps retailers expand their businesses and integrate them into the formal financial system.

A man at a convenience store

Enabling livelihoods in India

Our efforts to raise living standards extend to thousands of small farmers, distributors, and retailers in our supply chain, many of whom are women.

Project Shakti

Project Shakti is our initiative to empower and create livelihood opportunities for women in rural India. So far, we have over 2 lakh women entrepreneurs in our Shakti network whom we call ‘Shakti ammas’. They sell our products in their villages and nearby communities.

Direct bank transfers for Shakti incentives help rural women enter the formal banking sector, fostering financial inclusion.

2 lakh+women entrepreneurs in our Shakti network

A picture of a HUL Shakti amma in a rural village in India.

Hindustan Unilever Foundation (HUF)

By leveraging government programmes such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, National Rural Livelihoods mission and others, our NGO partners enable communities to create livelihood opportunities and earn wages by building water conservation infrastructure, which in turn supports water security and economic wellbeing. In addition, HUF promotes on-farm innovations that help farmers reduce the usage of water and fertilisers and improve productivity, ensuring the viability of future crops. Our initiatives transform the ecology and economy of villages through local agronomists, large-scale demonstrations, mobile advisory solutions, and appropriate inputs.

114 Mn+person days of employment created via HUF

A man and woman in a field of crops.

Empowering communities through Prabhat

Focusing on livelihoods, economic empowerment, health and nutrition, and environmental sustainability, Prabhat operates several livelihood centres that train women and youth in vocational skills and entrepreneurship development.

Training includes data entry, IT, electrical work, plumbing, solar technology, tailoring, and beauty services. Prabhat promotes inclusivity by creating opportunities for people with disabilities, widows, and other vulnerable groups.

~10 Mnlives reached through Prabhat

75,000+people have secured employment

A lady at HUL’s Prabhat livelihood centre learning to stitch clothes.

Skills Academy for Advancement of Livelihoods (SAFAL)

Our Skills Academy for Advancement of Livelihoods (SAFAL) focuses on skilling, entrepreneurship, and empowerment, offering comprehensive training in various vocational skills.

Two projects have been introduced under SAFAL: Sales Pro Academy and Retailer Strengthening Project. Through the Sales Pro Academy, we aim to create a pool of trained youth for frontline sales jobs. During the first year, 5000 youth and women will be trained in frontline sales jobs in Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

The Retailer Strengthening Project will work towards training young retailers on various government schemes that will empower them to expand their businesses. Every year, 20,000 youth will be able to access formalisation and credit linkage services.

HUL’s Skills Academy for Advancement of Livelihoods (SAFAL).

Kwality Wall’s: empowering mobile vendors

The ‘I Am Wall’s’ mobile vending programme trains mobile ice cream vendors in sales, customer service, and problem-solving, offering entrepreneurial exposure and financial independence. Through this initiative, we enable individuals, including, Persons with Disabilities to support themselves and their families.

~12,600people empowered through the ‘I Am Wall’s’ initiative

I am Wall’s ice cream vendor.

Empowering youth through Glow & Lovely Careers

The Glow & Lovely Careers initiative has registered over 1.9 million users and offers career guidance, skill-based courses, and job opportunities. By equipping young people with essential skills and knowledge, we help them unlock their potential and achieve a brighter future.

5 lakh+course enrolments facilitated through the Glow & Lovely Careers initiative

4.3 lakh+users supported in accessing career guidance

Hindustan Unilever Glow and Lovely careers

Social inclusion of waste workers (Safai Saathis)

We work towards significantly enhancing the social inclusion of Safai Saathis through our project, Utthaan.

In partnership with UNDP, we integrate waste pickers from the unorganised sector into the mainstream workforce. This initiative has significantly improved the lives of many Safai Saathis and their families. We have successfully linked 5,000 Safai Saathis to government schemes covering food, health, safety, security, and financial inclusion, promoting environmental sustainability and social inclusion.

Image of two safai saathis that have benefitted from HUL’s Utthaan initiative.

TRANSFORM

16enterprises funded by TRANSFORM in India alone, positively affecting the lives of over 3 million people.

TRANSFORM, led by Unilever, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and Ernst & Young (EY), is an impact accelerator program that brings together corporates, donors, investors, and academics to support visionary enterprises across Africa, Asia, and beyond. Since its establishment in 2015, TRANSFORM has combined grant funding, business insight, and research to test and scale new solutions and innovative business models. These efforts aim to increase livelihoods, improve health, implement regenerative agriculture practices, and create new models for plastic recycling and refilling.

Two men lifting a pile of plastic segregated waste

Hindustan Unilever Limited aims to fight poverty and eradicate inequalities by providing decent work and growth opportunities. Together, we are building a brighter tomorrow, one initiative at a time.

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