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Business Integrity

Unilever Sri Lanka: We Protect What We Love

Unilever Sri Lanka has remained deeply rooted in the hearts and households of Sri Lankans over the 85 years that we have stayed in business. We have touched their lives through our purpose-led, future-fit initiatives. With our purpose of making sustainable living common place, we believe in doing well by doing good. In driving these initiatives, we believe in ensuring that we continue in our commitment to do business with integrity, and that it remains in the hearts of our employees.

Everyone at Unilever is pledged to maintain high ethical standards, and as a company, we wish to have a work culture at Unilever where employees not only focus on putting our values into action through the work that they do, but also are conscious about any potential threat to our commitment of maintaining business integrity and will speak up when required.

Business Integrity Framework

At the heart of our Business Integrity Framework, lies our Code of Business and 24 related Code Policies which set out the simple ‘Musts’ and ‘Must Nots’ that employees are to mandatorily apply during their day-to-day work. Business Integrity at Unilever is all about how we work towards ensuring that our business operations are fully aligned with the values and applicable laws and regulations of the country. Our Business Integrity Framework has three pillars:

  • Prevention – We seek to embed a culture of integrity at all levels, in all geographies.
  • Detection – We encourage employees to speak up and give voice to their values.
  • Response – We have the tools to investigate, and if necessary, sanction confirmed breaches, and use what we learn to foster continuous improvement.
The 5 pillars under which our code policies fall under: living the code; countering corruption; respecting people; engaging externally; safeguarding information.

Code of Business Principles

The Code of Business Principles is a simple ethical statement, outlining how we should operate as a company. Our code policies are mandatory, and all employees at Unilever are obliged to abide by the policy. It is a document which acts as a moral and ethical compass, guiding us to understand what is right and what is wrong. For us at Unilever, it is not only about avoiding the wrong things, but also about doing the right things as a business.

The policy covers 5 main pillars and includes 24 code policies which contain a simple framework, explaining the dos and don’ts which must be followed without exception by all employees of Unilever.

Our values: integrity; respect; responsibility; pioneering.

Living the Code

Behaving with integrity and acting in an ethical manner consistent with the expectations of customers, consumers, and other stakeholders, is essential for the protection of the reputation of Unilever Sri Lanka and its brands.

Countering Corruption

Integrity at Unilever is how we behave, no matter where we are. This acts as a source of guidance, assisting us in doing the right thing for the long-term success of the company.We always aim to set the standard in areas of anti-bribery and corruption, and endeavour to maintain a positive influence across the value chain. We make sure that we continue in our commitment to eradicate any practices which violate the code policy.

Respecting People

Here at Unilever, treating people with dignity, honesty and fairness is of utmost importance. We celebrate the diversity of people, and respect people for who they are, and what they bring into the company. We make sure that the work environment we create for our employees is safe and fair, and that the rights of all employees are protected, enabling them to achieve their full potential.

Safeguarding information

Information is one of Unilever’s most valuable assets. Information is what fuels our research, informs us of our customers’ needs and helps us be effective at what we do. If used inappropriately, information has the ability to cause considerable damage to our business.

Engaging externally

Throughout our value chain, we always ensure that we maintain the same ethical standards when dealing with all external parties.

How we drive BI at Unilever

At Unilever, we ensure that our values of integrity, respect, responsibility and pioneering, govern everything we do as a purpose-led, future-fit company. We do not let any business procedure or practice that we perform as employees of Unilever, to deviate from the core values we have within the company, captured through our code policies. Hence, we make sure business integrity is embedded in all that we do and make constant and consistent efforts to improve the awareness and visibility of BI within Unilever.

We conduct a session on the Code of Business Principles at the point of induction for every new employee, and the document is shared with them when they are on-boarded. Each newcomer is expected to read, understand, and mandatorily follow the values captured therein. Hence, the culture you see at Unilever, is based on these policies which is at the heart of how we do business, and for us, it is not simply about refraining from doing harm, but also about doing good. We send company-wide communications covering these policies on a regular basis via our various communication channels as a reminder to all our employees on their personal responsibility to live the code and to speak up when necessary, and we also have initiated several campaigns over the years to get this message across to all employees of the company. Below are some examples of such campaigns that we initiated.

Non- Retaliation Campaign (2022)

At Unilever, we give priority to not only ensuring that our employees understand and live according to the values of the code, but also to create a safe environment where employees can speak up and raise code concerns without the fear of retaliation.

We have several channels through which they can log complaints, and every complaint will be reviewed and actioned by an internal committee, post an investigation by our trained internal investigators. All such inquiries are reported in a global system, which is reviewed periodically, to ensure that any sanctions imposed, or decisions taken are effective and justifiable. This campaign aimed mainly to reiterate the fact that we have a zero tolerance for retaliation at Unilever, and that any employee who decides to speak up and raise a code concern will not have to fear any form of retaliation within the company.

Our CEO Hajar speaking on non-retaliation at a company-wide townhall
Our chairman Hajar Alafifi addressing zero-retaliation at a company-wide conference

Speak-Up Campaign (2019)

This campaign was launched to create awareness on the code and how our employees can report code breaches. The main touch points of the campaign were e-flyers, pennants, cascades and workstation stickers that were distributed all around the company to gain maximum visibility.

Business Integrity Townhall

Code Awareness Campaign (2018)

This campaign mainly focused on raising awareness among our employees on the importance of living according to the values we aim to protect and promote at Unilever, especially in the areas of fair treatment of employees, avoiding corruption, and respecting employees in the workplace. We had wall stickers and pennants on display for the campaign, and also held a quiz to enhance engagement, and evaluate the level of awareness, so that we can further improve our future initiatives.

At Unilever, doing business with integrity is at the heart of what we do, as we continue our commitment to protect what we love.
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