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Unilever emerges again as Number 1 Most Respected FMCG Company


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Employees at Unilever’s Ceytea factory in Agarapathana

Unilever Sri Lanka, one of the largest fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies in the country, has once again emerged as the Number 1 Most Respected FMCG company in LMD’s Most Respected Entities List in Sri Lanka for 2021 with an overall rank of 10th from over 100 companies across varying industries. This is the 16th consecutive year Unilever has been rated as the Number 1 FMCG corporate in Sri Lanka by LMD. The company has also been declared the Sector Winner in both the ‘Multinational’ and ‘Consumer Products’ categories, affirming its strength as a global giant with deep local roots.

Furthermore, Unilever Sri Lanka has emerged as the highest rated FMCG company in 5 of the 12 attributes surveyed for this year’s ranking including ‘Innovation’, ‘Corporate Culture’, ‘CSR & Sustainability’, ‘Dynamism’ and ‘HR & People Management’.

Commenting on the recognition, Hajar Alafifi, Chairperson and Managing Director of Unilever Sri Lanka said, “As a company that has been deeply rooted in Sri Lanka for over 83 years, we take pride in the lasting bonds we have fostered with every one of the Sri Lankan households we have reached. We are truly humbled and honoured to be recognised for our contributions to the nation and hope to continue enhancing lives through our best-in-class portfolio of purposeful brands by being a force for good.”

Hajar Alafifi, Chairperson and Managing Director of Unilever Sri Lanka Limited
Hajar Alafifi, Chairperson and Managing Director of Unilever Sri Lanka Limited

Unilever Sri Lanka commenced operations in the country in 1938. The company offers direct employment to ~1,000 people all who are committed to living Unilever’s purpose of making sustainable living common place. Its current product portfolio includes 30 market leading brands in categories such as Home Care, Personal Care and Food. And 96% of its products including Lifebuoy, Signal, and Sunlight are manufactured locally, to the strictest manufacturing standards.

Since 2007, Lifebuoy’s hand hygiene programme has taught over 2.5 million school children good hand washing habits; Driven by its ‘Sina Bo Wewa’ programme, Signal which pioneered the introduction of fluoride toothpaste in the country, has educated over 2 million Sri Lankans on good oral hygiene habits through school programmes and mass-scale dental clinics across the island; Committed to strengthening the fabric of Sri Lankan society made up of multi ethnicities, Sunlight’s ‘Manudam Viyamana’ programme has encouraged over 1 million Sri Lankans to pledge to strengthen community bonds with care; And Pears has embarked on a long-standing partnership with the Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians, investing Rs. 60 million to refurbish maternity and paediatric wards in 20 hospitals across the country.

Lifebuoy, Signal, Sunlight Care and Pears brands
Lifebuoy, Signal, Sunlight Care and Pears brands

Unilever also positively impacts the livelihoods of thousands of people including its suppliers and partners. Its flagship women’s empowerment initiative, Saubhagya, provides 5,000 women the opportunity to earn a sustainable livelihood through door-to-door selling of Unilever products to their communities; Project Sunshine, its Retailer Development Programme, teaches 2,700 small retail owners the principles of running a successful business to remain competitive in the market; And it’s Udaara programme offers 25,000 retired government pensioners a health and bereavement cover worth Rs. 27 million.

The company’s Horana manufacturing facility recently obtained an ISO 9001: 2015 re-certification by the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI) and is also a recipient of the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification that affirms that its products are produced as per required standards.

Employees at Unilever’s Horana manufacturing facility
Employees at Unilever’s Horana manufacturing facility

The ‘Most Respected Entities in Sri Lanka’ ranking is based on an annual survey conceptualized by Lanka Monthly Digest (LMD) – Sri Lanka’s leading business publication and conducted by leading multinational research firm – Nielsen. This year’s survey covered the opinions of 800 respondents from listed companies in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), LMD’s Top 100 list (2019/20) and the Brands Annual 2020 list. Companies were ranked by respondents on Financial Performance, Quality Consciousness, Management Profile, Honesty, Innovation, Dynamism, Corporate Culture, CSR, Vision, National Perspective, HR/People Management and Crisis Management.

*Photo caption: Employees at Unilever’s Ceytea factory in Agarapathana

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