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Unilever Sri Lanka; a local multinational

Fondly known to all generations of Sri Lankans as ‘The Sunlight Company’, we have been part of their daily lives since 1938. Today we produce 96% of our portfolio locally and positively impact the lives of 21 million Sri Lankans every day through local household favourites like Lifebuoy, Sunlight, Signal, Sunsilk, Knorr, Marmite, Vim, Horlicks, Pears, Surf excel, Glow & Lovely and many more.

Our history

Our manufacturing journey in Sri Lanka began with the setting up of our first manufacturing facility at Grandpass in 1940 with a small portfolio of brands.

Seeking an opportunity to grow, we relocated our operations to Horana in 2012 with an investment of LKR 5 billion. In 2017, our Horana factory was rebuilt as a state-of-the-art factory with a further investment of LKR 7.5 billion. Today Lifebuoy, Sunlight, Signal and many other loved brands are manufactured here.

 Unilever Horana Factory

Unilever Horana Factory

Our Ceytea factory in Agarapathana, also known as Premium Exports Ceylon Private Limited (PECL),was built in 1962 with an investment of LKR 2 billion. It is the largest instant tea powder supplier within the Global Unilever Group of Companies accounting for 80% of Unilever’s global iced tea supply. In 2020, PECL became the sole supplier for black instant tea powder for Pepsi-Lipton’s joint venture, manufacturing world renowned iced tea brands like Lipton and Brisk. Through its black tea and instant tea export business, Ceytea supports Sri Lanka’s tea industry through its sustainable sourcing policy, implementing good agricultural practices in the tea plantation sector by promoting and investing in the Rainforest Alliance (RA) Programme.

Unilever Ceytea Factory

Unilever Ceytea Factory

Our local partners

We channel 60% of our local manufacturing to our local partnership network of third-party manufacturers. Through this, we have generated employment opportunities, upskilled local supplier capabilities to international standards through knowledge sharing and technical support, and ingrained global sustainable policies.

90% of our packaging material requirements are sourced locally through approximately 40 local vendors. Functioning through a partnership-based approach of equal collaboration, we help uplift third party manufacturing standards to international standards. Through process innovation and strategic guidance, we support these local suppliers to become competitive in the local market.

Our strong links with our retail and distributor partners have always been core to our company. With a retail reach of over 100,000 outlets, we service the whole of Sri Lanka through our network of over 50 distributors island wide, 60% of whom have been engaged in business with us for over a decade. Through these partnerships, we have indirectly provided employment opportunities to 3,500+ people.

Unilever Sunshine Retail Partner

Unilever Sunshine Retail Partner

Our communities

Driven by our purpose of making sustainable living commonplace, we have launched several programmes and projects to address the priorities of Sri Lankan people in a sustainable way.

From our Saubhagya Women’s Empowerment Programme to our Sunshine Retailer Livelihood Development Programme and multiple youth initiatives, our projects have enhanced many livelihoods. Learn more.

’Doing good’ is an idea that sits squarely at the heart of many of our brands; from Lifebuoy’s commitment to teaching handwashing in schools, to signal educating Sri Lankans on good oral hygiene habits. Our brands have a strong sense of purpose and are working hard every day through many acts of good to make a positive impact in the country in a sustainable manner. By simply scrubbing, brushing, sanitizing or consuming any of our products, our consumers are in fact taking action to support these causes. Through our ‘Every Day U Does Good’ campaign, we have positively impacted close to 10 million Sri Lankans thanks to Lifebuoy, Signal, Sunlight and Knorr, who have committed to create a better Sri Lanka by being a force for good. Learn more.

Signal Sina Bo Wewa Programme

Signal Sina Bo Wewa Programme

Our environment

We ground ourselves in our deep-rooted purpose to protect the environment. To date we have taken many initiatives to reduce our environmental footprint.

Our facility in Horana is designed to tackle climate change by reducing our consumption of natural resources through rainwater harvesting, waste footprint reduction, heat energy recovery, greenhouse gas reduction and the usage of renewable energy. Read more.

Our Ceytea factory has significantly reduced our dependency of fresh water from our deep ground well, reducing our water footprint and making a positive effect on the way we approach manufacturing, climate change and the wellbeing of surrounding communities. Read more.

We are also forerunners in collecting plastic waste from our consumers and the environment, investing heavily behind diverse EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) projects and collaborating with stakeholders since 2013 to help collect and process plastic packaging from consumers, land and waterways. Read more.

Rainwater harvesting tanks at Ceytea Factory

Rainwater harvesting tanks at Ceytea Factory