Unilever A/NZ joins growing list of B Corp certified organisations locally

Unilever Australia and New Zealand has become the latest organisation to receive B Corp certification off the back of the FMCG giant’s global sustainable business strategy efforts.  

The certification was granted by B Labs after an assessment process that covers off a brand’s impact on governance, workers, communities, customers and the environment. It applies across a raft of iconic brands including Omo, Magnum, Comfort, Surf, Blue Ribbon, Golden Gaytime, Paddle Pop, Radox and TreSemme and covers Unilever’s entire operations in both Australia and New Zealand.  

The companies said the certification recognised the actions Unilever A/NZ is taking the parent company’s The Compass global sustainable business strategy. Among these are fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce with gender parity across management; pioneering flexible work with a four-day work week trial in New Zealand; switching to 100 per cent renewable electricity to power operations; reimagining packaging to reduce plastic waste; collaborating with farmers on Regenerative Agricultural Principles; and driving strong employee engagement around Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).   

Unilever A/NZ CEO, Nicky Sparshott, called the certification a tremendous milestone for a company of such size and scale.   

“On any given day, millions of Aussie and Kiwi households use our products - we have both a responsibility and an opportunity to use our scale as a force for good,” she said.  

“Without a healthy planet and society, we cannot have a healthy business, which is why our purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace. To realise this purpose, we have to work collaboratively. From the suppliers who provide us essential ingredients and materials; to our team members, the partners that sell our products, and the people who enjoy them every day – we want to create a coalition of the passionate and willing, to galvanise a stronger, more inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy for all.”    

B Lab Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand CEO, Andrew Davies, said certifying such a large organisation demonstrated how much the idea of business delivering positive impact on the people and planet has grown.  

“This certification sends a powerful signal that will further advance change in the consumer goods sector, and our broader global economic system,” he continued. “We need more businesses of all sizes to step up and be accountable, and B Corp Certification is one powerful way to do that. It comes with a significant burden of greater transparency and requires continuous improvement to maintain the Certification over time. It’s a credit to the team at Unilever A/NZ that they have been willing and able to achieve this with such a large, complex business.”   

To retain B Corp status, Unilever A/NZ will be required to provide ongoing disclosures about its efforts across the five core ESG pillars. The business was also required to make a legal commitment by changing its corporate governance approach to be accountable to all stakeholders. Certified businesses must in addition, allow information about their performance measured against B Lab’s standards to be publicly available on B Lab’s website.     

Sparshott signalled B Corp certification as the beginning of the organisation’s plans to be more culturally, socially and environmentally responsible.   

“Through our certification, we’re proving it’s possible to be profitable while simultaneously having a positive impact on people and the planet,” she commented. “Becoming a B Corp makes us a stronger business as it will help us attract talented jobseekers who are increasingly seeking out meaningful work; become a partner of choice for organisations who are prioritising ESG; and win over Australian shoppers that want to buy purposeful brands that have a positive impact.   

“Unilever has been striving to make sustainable living commonplace for more than a decade. While we already hold ourselves accountable to our own ambitious targets, achieving Certification adds an extra layer of accountability and encourages us to be even more transparent. We want to share our learnings, and equally, we want to learn from other likeminded organisations along the way. We’re already planning how we can turbocharge our positive impact and look forward to sharing our journey with Australians and New Zealanders as we go.”  

Earlier this week, local strategic insights consultancy, Nature, also confirmed it has received B Corp certification, claiming to be the first Australian insights company to do so. The organisation achieved a score of 92 during the assessment, a significantly higher score than the 80 required to achieve accreditation.  

“We are beyond proud to receive a B Corp certification, and even more to be the first insights firm in Australia and New Zealand to do so,” said Nature Partner and Melbourne managing director, Justin Connally. “It really is a testament to each and every one of our people who made it possible and allows us to show the industry the values that really matter.”  

Connally also flagged ambitious goals for the next 12 months to keep lifting the agency’s game.  

“At Nature, we have always held true to the startup values that built our business, and this is the next step in proving that profit and purpose do go hand-in-hand. This achievement inspires us to do more and strengthens our commitment to our clients, our work and each other,” he added.    

Other Australian brands with B Corp certification include Kathmandu, Intrepid Group, Olli Ella, Fuller Brand Communication and Sendle.  

Three days left to get nominations in for CMO50 2022 list of Australia's most innovative and effective marketing leaders as we’re closing submissions on 26 August 2022! Don't miss this opportunity to be recognised among the best marketers this country has to offer as well as celebrate your team's achievements get your questionnaire completed now: https://www.cmo.com.au/cmo50/

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