Unilever’s commitment to ending GBV in South Africa began in 2013, when the company signed the CEO pledge to end gender-based violence. The pledge, initiated by the United Nations Global Compact, called on business leaders to take action to prevent and respond to GBV in the workplace, marketplace, and community. By signing the pledge, Unilever committed to implementing policies and programs to address GBV within its operations and supply chains.
In 2015, Unilever launched its Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), a blueprint for sustainable business that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of 1 billion people, reduce the company’s environmental footprint, and enhance livelihoods. One of the USLP’s key objectives is to promote gender equality and empower women and girls. Unilever recognizes that ending GBV is critical to achieving this objective and has integrated GBV prevention and response into its sustainability strategy.
Unilever has implemented a range of programs and initiatives to address GBV in South Africa. One of its flagship programs is the Unilever Foundation’s partnership with the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) to support the SAMRC’s Violence, Injury and Peace Research Unit. The unit conducts research on the prevalence, causes, and consequences of GBV in South Africa and develops evidence-based interventions to prevent and respond to GBV. The Unilever Foundation has provided funding to the unit since 2014, enabling it to conduct groundbreaking research and implement interventions to address GBV.
In addition to its partnership with the SAMRC, Unilever has launched several campaigns to raise awareness about GBV and promote gender equality. One such campaign is the #PutItOnTheTable campaign, which encourages people to speak out about GBV and break the silence surrounding the issue. The campaign features a short film that highlights the impact of GBV on women’s lives and encourages viewers to take action to end GBV.
Unilever has also implemented workplace policies to prevent and respond to GBV. The company’s Code of Business Principles explicitly prohibits discrimination, harassment, and any form of GBV in the workplace. Unilever has also developed a global policy on preventing and responding to workplace GBV, which outlines the company’s commitment to providing a safe and supportive workplace for all employees.
In conclusion, Unilever has taken a strong stance against GBV in South Africa and has implemented a range of programs and initiatives to prevent and respond to this pervasive issue. Through its partnership with the SAMRC, campaigns to raise awareness, and workplace policies, Unilever is working towards a future where women and girls can live free from violence and discrimination. As a global company with a significant presence in South Africa, Unilever has a unique opportunity to leverage its resources and influence to effect positive change in the country and beyond.