The Unilever business model is focussed on sustainable equitable growth, seeking to provide consumers around the world with the products they need to look good, feel good and get more out of life. Through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) Unilever has made a commitment to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene for all, to source its raw materials sustainably, to support equal opportunities and sustainable livelihoods and to protect the planet for future generations. Innovation is at the heart of Unilever’s ambition to grow sustainably and Unilever R&D has a long history of supporting fundamental bioscience research through its Beauty and Personal Care (BPC) research programme. Unilever recently declared a 2020 R&D strategy that will lead the company into the near future (and beyond), and the core of that strategy rests on having differentiated science and technology. The BPC, comprising biology and physical sciences groups, has been chartered to lead this strategy into the future, serving as the ‘scientific conscience’ of the organisation. This has been supported all the way up to the CEO, Alan Jope himself, both through the continued funding, and the strategic placement of the BPC group as a core part of the company’s success model. Unilever has a 30+ year history of funding and maintaining a long term/corporate research group, and with its 2020 strategy the company has put a stake in the ground that it will continue to do so in future years. Training and equipping the next generation of UK scientists to carry out collaborative academic and industrial research is essential to support Unilever’s long-term research ambitions and future business in the UK and around the globe.
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) with products sold in over 190 countries and used by 2 billion consumers every day. It employs more than 6,000 R&D professionals, has six key R&D sites (Bangalore (India), Colworth (UK), Port Sunlight (UK), Shanghai (China), Trumbull (US), and Wageningen (NL)), and R&D teams developing and implementing product innovations in development centres and factories globally. Unilever has a long history of innovation and invests nearly €1 billion in research and development ever year. Unilever has established laboratories around the world where our scientists explore new thinking and techniques, and we often collaborate with universities and institutes, both in sponsoring, and hosting within Unilever, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.