Unilever Brazil

Brazil

Empowering women: from left: Ana Fontes, Lorrana Scarpioni, Maíra Habimorad, Camila Achutti and Fernando Fernandez


Unilever first came to Brazil 87 years ago, and its products are now consumed in 46 million Brazilian homes every month. The company has had eight decades of success, accomplishments, experience and relations with Brazilian consumers, anticipating their wishes, meeting their needs and building acclaimed brands such as Dove, Knorr, and Hellmann’s.

Some 51.1 % of leadership positions in Unilever are occupied by women, and the company promotes the importance of gender equality through internal and external initiatives.

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of food, home and personal care products with sales in over 190 countries, reaching 2 billion consumers a day. In 2010, the company launched Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan (USLP). The plan sets out three big goals:

- helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020;

- halving the environmental impact of the company’s products by 2030;

- enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.

A key target in the company’s sustainability plan is training five million women worldwide by 2020. In 2015 alone, 800,000 women had access to skills development initiatives delivered via diverse Unilever partnerships. Gender balance is a strategic priority for business growth in each Unilever company across the world.

In Brazil, Unilever’s Diversity Committee was launched in 2010 and, headed by Unilever Brazil President Fernando Fernandez, was dedicated for four years to developing measures to promote the rise of women within the organization. As a result, Unilever Brazil increased female participation at practically all levels. Currently, 51.1 % of leadership positions are occupied by women.

However, Unilever Brazil believes that it must now go beyond the boundaries of the company and foster women’s empowerment on a wider scale. As President Fernandez explained, “We will only be able to transform society if we are able to influence other spheres and audiences.”

Unilever Brazil fosters women’s empowerment on the following fronts:

- internally, by means of HR initiatives that promote the rise of women in the organization and provide an inclusive environment in which women and men may develop their potential globally;

- institutionally, by participating in the global #HeforShe campaign and the local movement named Associação Movimento Mulher 360;

- by means of the Unilever brands, with actions such as the global Dove Self-Esteem project and the Ciclo Brilhante Programme.

Good practice policies and initiatives on gender equality

A key target in the company’s sustainability plan is training five million women worldwide by 2020. In 2015 alone, 800,000 women had access to skills development initiatives delivered via diverse Unilever partnerships. Gender balance is a strategic priority for business growth in each Unilever company across the world.

In Brazil, Unilever’s Diversity Committee was launched in 2010 and, headed by Unilever Brazil President Fernando Fernandez, was dedicated for four years to developing measures to promote the rise of women within the organization. As a result, Unilever Brazil increased female participation at practically all levels. Currently, 51.1 % of leadership positions are occupied by women.

However, Unilever Brazil believes that it must now go beyond the boundaries of the company and foster women’s empowerment on a wider scale. As President Fernandez explained, “We will only be able to transform society if we are able to influence other spheres and audiences.”

Unilever Brazil fosters women’s empowerment on the following fronts:

- internally, by means of HR initiatives that promote the rise of women in the organization and provide an inclusive environment in which women and men may develop their potential globally;

- institutionally, by participating in the global #HeforShe campaign and the local movement named Associação Movimento Mulher 360;

- by means of the Unilever brands, with actions such as the global Dove Self-Esteem project and the Ciclo Brilhante Programme.

Unilever Brazil also promotes internal and external events, panels and workshops in order to achieve an in-depth knowledge of the issues, dilemmas and challenges experienced by women and to enable them to exchange information and experiences.

One such external event was the USLP Progress Report 2015. This had the theme “Women’s Economic Empowerment: Inclusion, leadership and entrepreneurship”, and a panel comprising Ana Fontes, entrepreneurship expert and founder of the Women’s Entrepreneurs Network; Maíra Habimorad, CEO of Talent Company; Camila Achutti, entrepreneur and creator of the “Women in Computing” weblog; and Lorrana Scarpioni, entrepreneur and founder of “Bliive”. Unilever Brazil President Fernandez also participated in the discussion and underlined the importance of men in boosting women’s economic empowerment. The event was covered by more than 20 media platforms and had an audience of almost 400 people.

In order to discuss the current situation of women in Brazil, looking at different experiences and perspectives and proposing ways of promoting gender equality, Unilever Brazil sponsored another external event, on October 18. The third edition of “Diálogos Transformadores” is a project carried out by the Folha de São Paulo newspaper and Ashoka, the international NGO that promotes social entrepreneurship. The purpose of the event was to bring together a team of women who are making a difference, to debate the theme “Women’s Empowerment”. The panel comprised Alexandra Loras, former Ambassador of France to Brazil; Tatiana Trevisan, vice-president of the Movement Women 360, which discusses business policies and practices for gender equality, and Alice Freitas, founder of Asta network, the first network of direct sales solidarity economy products made by women, which are aimed to improve their quality of life.

 

Making a difference: From left, Alice Freitas, Alexandra Loras, Eliane Tridade and Tatiana Trevisan




Internal events backed by Unilever include the #HeForShe campaign. Launched by UN Women in September 2014, #HeForShe movement is a global effort to involve men in removing social and cultural barriers preventing women from reaching their potential. Great business leaders were invited to act as “Impact Champion” in the campaign, taking over the task of promoting gender equality in and outside the workplace. This initiative was joined by Paul Polman, global President of Unilever.

The MM360 campaign, launched in October 2015, is aligned with seven of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles and aims to encourage gender equality in companies. The association, an evolution of the Business Movement for the Economic Development of Women – an initiative led by Walmart and launched in 2011 – is made up of several companies, including Unilever. The strategy of creating an independent business association and non-profit organizations to foster women’s empowerment and boost economic development of women is unprecedented in the world.

In order to empower women and encourage them to open or improve their own business, the Brilhante (Radiant) brand launched, in May 2015, the Ciclo Brilhante Programme. Based on the fact that many women want to start their own business, the programme was divided into three phases:

- Escola de Você (online platform for female empowerment courses);

- Escola Brilhante (online platform courses on entrepreneurship);

- Tempo de Brilhar (training and follow-up of 10 entrepreneurs).

The Ciclo Brilhante programme has reached more than 50,000 women. In 2016, the brand is continuing its commitment to women’s empowerment and aims to affect the lives of more and more women.

Unilever’s Dove brand has pioneered work on women’s self-esteem and is recognized for inspiring women to reach their full potential. In 2004, the brand launched the “Campanha pela Real Beleza”, which invited women from around the world to feel comfortable about themselves and, since then, Dove continues to promote thinking about the accepted standards of beauty. As part of this, in 2013 the brand launched its social mission projects to improve the self-esteem of millions of teenagers around the world. These projects have reached more than 30,000 people in Brazil. The brand also promotes an internal volunteering initiative for Unilever employees called Dove Day. In Brazil this was carried out from 3–7 October in 11 cities including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The action involved more than 5,000 children and teenagers.


Dove Day: Unilever Brazil employees taking part in the internal volunteering initiative




Photo credit: Courtesy of Unilever Brazil