A new era of beauty for the people and the planet

April 2021, Manila, Philippines—Unilever announced its new Positive Beauty vision and strategy which sets out several progressive commitments and actions for its beauty and personal care brands, including its portfolio in the Philippines. Dove, Cream Silk, Lifebuoy, Closeup, Love Beauty & Planet and the rest of its brands will champion a new era of beauty which is equitable and inclusive, as well as sustainable for the planet.

Among the commitments, Unilever will not digitally alter a person’s body shape, size, proportion or skin colour in its brand advertising (already started by Dove in previous years); and will increase the number of advertisements portraying people from diverse groups who are under-represented, as part of its long-time support to the #UnStereotype global movement. The company will also eliminate the word ‘normal’ from all of its beauty and personal care brands’ packaging and advertising.

A 10,000-person study commissioned by Unilever, conducted across nine countries found that:

  • More than half of people (56%) think that the beauty and personal care industry can make people feel excluded.
  • People want to see the beauty and personal care industry focusing more on making people feel better, than just looking better (74%).
  • More than half of people (52%) say they now pay more attention to a company’s stance on societal issues before buying products.
  • Seven in ten people agree that using the word ‘normal’ on product packaging and advertising has a negative impact. For younger people – those aged 18-35 – this rises to eight in ten.

Driving positive change for people and planet 

Central to Positive Beauty is the ambition to do more good, not just less harm, for people and the planet. Here are the set of three commitments the company has made to create real and measurable impact:   

1. Taking action through brands to improve health and wellbeing, and advance equity and inclusion, reaching 1 billion people per year by 2030. They will focus on:

  • Helping to end discrimination in beauty and champion inclusion, by challenging narrow beauty ideals and building a more inclusive portfolio of products.
  • Driving gender equity, including stepping up brand programmes, advocacy to challenge the status quo and #unstereotyping advertising. 
  • Improving health and wellbeing through existing educational initiatives in handwashing and oral hygiene and expanding focus into new areas, including physical health and mental wellbeing.

2. Helping to protect and regenerate 1.5 million hectares of land, forests and oceans by 2030, which is more land than is required to grow the renewable ingredients in Unilever’s beauty and personal care products. 

3. Supporting a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics by 2023, working alongside lawmakers, animal protection organisations and like-minded companies. Twenty-three Unilever beauty and personal care brands are now PETA Approved, with more working towards certification.  

At the heart of the delivery of these commitments will be Unilever’s beauty and personal care brands, many of which have a track record of delivering impactful programs and purpose-led growth. 

Unilever Philippines Says Yes to Positive Beauty

“In the Philippines, Unilever continues to leverage on its scale to drive positive impact in its communities. In its effort to transform its portfolio of well-loved products to brands with purpose, Unilever Philippines says Yes to Positive Beauty, a movement not just for us, but for all Filipinos to champion a new era of beauty and personal care that’s inclusive, equitable and sustainable,” says Dorothy Dee-Ching, Unilever Philippines’ Vice President for Beauty and Personal Care. “As the number 1 beauty and personal care company in the country, we acknowledge the part we play in being a force for good, and Yes to Positive Beauty encompasses our commitment to do this through our brands,” she adds.

Four Steps to Positive Beauty

As the beginning of their commitment towards doing more good, Unilever Philippines identifies four key pillars of its purpose:

1. Yes to health and wellbeing

After a year that has heightened the importance of health and hygiene, Unilever commits to making hygiene more accessible and affordable for all Filipino families. Partnering with the Philippine Public Health Association, Unilever, through its trusted brands Lifebuoy and Closeup, launched the Hygiene 101 Campaign, a digital information drive equipping Filipinos with 101 hygiene practices to live by.

2. Yes to equal opportunities

Pushing forward the agenda on gender equity, Unilever makes a conscientious effort to provide opportunities for Filipinos across the country. Starting in 2020, Unilever partnered with Mano Amiga and Shopee to create a grant for up to 25 microentrepreneurs to start or restart their business. The grant included not just monetary funding, but also access to training programs for skills needed to sustain their enterprise, and the Shopee marketplace to give life to their business online.

Another partnership piloted in 2020, Cream Silk has teamed up with Edukasyon.ph, the largest education technology platform in the country, to provide Filipinas with the tools they need to be ready for the next opportunity. This 2021, they launched the #ConditionedForGreater Online Academy, a series of free one-hour certificate courses aligned with skills needed to land a new job, even during a recession. 

3. Yes to beauty inclusivity

As one of the top advertisers in the country, Unilever also recognizes how its brands can do their part in shifting beauty standards to combat discrimination and championing inclusion not just in their communications, but also across all efforts. The company’s flagbearer for all kinds of beauty, Dove has continued to create safe spaces for all Filipinos to embrace their unique beauty. This year, Pond’s is shifting its products and campaigns to veer away from whitening, empowering Filipinas to love and care for their skin.

Just this April, Unilever also launched its very own online portal www.BeautyHub.ph, a content hub celebrating a progressive, inclusive and tolerant world, representing all types of shapes, sizes, orientations, ages, religions and more. Your everyday beauty expert, www.BeautyHub.PH celebrates unique experiences through features and content that’s helpful, authentic and positive.

4. Yes to sustainability

In order to reduce their environmental impact and reinforce its commitment towards more sustainable practices, Unilever has taken key steps across its personal care brands to use less or better plastic. The company’s main champion towards showing more care for the environment, Love Beauty and Planet recently launched their partnership with local e-tailer Loopy and The Plastic Flamingo, a social company that aims to tackle marine plastic pollution. When you purchase Love Beauty & Planet products on Loopy, you can return the used bottles to Loopy on the following month. Loopy will then bring these plastic bottles to The Plastic Flamingo, who will turn these into eco planks that will be used to build emergency shelters for disaster victims.

Unilever also says yes to sustainability by saying no to bubble wrap and replacing it with sustainable eco-wrap for purchases from E-commerce platform Shopee. The company is taking this small step as they continue working with partners to optimize their packaging and further reduce plastic use.
Underpinned by multiple commitments and time-bound targets, Positive Beauty follows the launch of Clean Future, the sustainable business strategy of Unilever’s Home Care Division in September 2020, and Future Foods, the sustainable business strategy of Unilever’s Foods & Refreshment Division in November 2020 and marks Unilever’s pathway to realize its vision of being the leader in sustainable business globally.

As Unilever continues to build its portfolio of purpose-driven brands, its commitments will tackle the key challenges of our time, such as packaging and waste, gender equality, human rights and fair value, climate change and social inclusion.