Two years into its 10-year Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), Unilever recently reported a solid progress on two of its three big goals: Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, and sourcing 100 percent of agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020.
By the end of 2012, the company had reached 224 million people with programmes to reduce diarrhoeal disease through handwashing with soap, provide safe drinking water, promote oral health and improve young people's self-esteem.
To reach its goals and achieve large scale change, Unilever is looking at collaborating with more companies, governments, NGOs and consumers. According to Unilever’s official blog post, the company would welcome more cross-sector collaboration in areas such as reducing and eliminating deforestation associated with soy, palm oil, beef, pulp and paper by 2020; integrating hygiene behaviour change into national health policies and education curricula; linking more smallholder farmers into food supply chains; and building infrastructure to promote waste recycling and recovery. In addition, Unilever is leveraging its scale and reach to work with its many suppliers across the value chain to instil sustainable practices.
Globally, this campaign is heavily promoted on social media networks at various stages. The company’s latest, Do-Gooders initiative, which started early in May 2013 celebrates individuals who have gone that extra step to do their bit for the planet.
The company has made digital films of the five heroes of the Do-Gooders initiative and hosted it on its YouTube channel. The digital films take through the life of each individual, who is an integral part of the campaign, in a very narrative form and describes their contribution to this initiative. The films have got positive response on various social media platforms, which has led to interesting conversations about the cause and people involved in it.
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The HUL official Facebook page has around 1,454,771 likes and around 39,607 users are talking about the activities that are going on in the community. The community, apart from featuring the story of five Do-Gooders, is also asking people to share stories that have ‘changed’ the world in some way.
It can be recalled that the company’s health soap brand Lifebuoy, early this year had launched a digital film in its quest to help reduce the deaths of two million children before their fifth birthday from preventable diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia. The campaign again had taken the social media route to promote the campaign and ensure engagement.
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It will be interesting to see how HUL rolls out its strategic communication plans in the coming days to carry forward the company’s global vision and how social media will make a difference.