Unilever has announced a set of commitments to improve inclusivity and living standards across its value chain, including ensuring that all workers directly providing goods and services to the company earn a living wage by 2030.
The firm has also committed both to spending £1.77bn annually with suppliers owned by people from underrepresented groups by 2025 and equipping ten million young people with skills needed for job opportunities by 2030.
While Unilever has already set the wages of its own employees to at lease a living wage, it is now aiming to reduce the social inequality of its wider supply chain.
Alan Jope, CEO at the group, said: “The past year has undoubtedly widened the social divide, and decisive and collective action is needed to build a society that helps to improve livelihoods, embraces diversity, nurtures talent, and offers opportunities for everyone.
“We believe the actions we are committing to will make Unilever a better, stronger business; ready for the huge societal changes we are experiencing today – changes that will only accelerate. Without a healthy society, there cannot be a healthy business.”
The group also hopes to improve its inclusivity by increasing the number of its adverts that include people from diverse backgrounds.
Gabriela Bucher, executive director at Oxfam International, said: “Unilever’s plan shows the kind of responsible action needed from the private sector that can have a great impact on tackling inequality, and help to build a world in which everyone has the power to thrive, not just survive.”
She added that the NGO will work alongside Unilever in delivering the promises, highlighting that the way “it is implemented is also crucial”.