Unilever on a Crusade

Washing your hands before you eat is one of the first things we are taught as children. But in disadvantaged areas of the world scarce attention is paid to this simple rule, often with dramatic consequences. Transmitting germs through the hands is one of the easiest ways that diarrhea and respiratory illnesses are spread. These are also the primary causes of infant mortality.

To contrast this phenomenon, Unilever – with is antibacterial soap Lifebuoy – is participating in the Earth Institute’s Millennium Villages project, involving 500,000 people in 10 Sub-Saharan African countries. The objective is to convince governments to put correct hand hygiene among the measures implemented in their national public health policies.

“The crucial questions that the world must face require innovative approaches, new business models and partnerships”, stresses Unilever CEO Paul Polman, who with Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan aims at improving the wellbeing of some 1 billion people. Over the last two years, the initiatives conducted by the group in diverse contexts in Africa and Asia have helped improve the health and hygiene habits of 50 million individuals.