Hindustan Unilever

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Hindustan Unilever Ltd
Type Public company
Traded as BSE500696
BSE SENSEX Constituent
Industry Consumer goods
Founded 1932
Headquarters Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Key people Harish Manwani (Chairman), Sanjiv Mehta (CEO and MD)
Products Foods, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products
Revenue INR221 billion (US$3.7 billion) (2011–2012)[1]
Net income INR26.91 billion (US$450 million) (2011–2012)
Employees 16,500 (2011)
Parent Unilever Plc (52%)
Website www.hul.co.in

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is an Indian consumer goods company based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is owned by Anglo-Dutch company Unilever which owns a 52% controlling share in HUL. HUL's products include foods, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products.

HUL was established in 1933 as Lever Brothers India Limited and, in 1956, became known as Hindustan Lever Limited, as a result of a merger between Lever Brothers, Hindustan Vanaspati Mfg. Co. Ltd. and United Traders Ltd. It is headquartered in Mumbai, India and employs over 16,500 workers,[2] whilst also indirectly helping to facilitate the employment of over 65,000 people.[3] The company was renamed in June 2007[dubious ] as "Hindustan Unilever Limited".[clarification needed]

Lever Brothers first commenced operations in India in the summer of 1888, when crates full of Sunlight soap bars, embossed with the words "Made in England by Lever Brothers" were shipped to the Kolkata harbour and it began an era of marketing branded Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG).[4]

Hindustan Unilever's distribution covers over 2 million retail outlets across India directly and its products are available in over 6.4 million outlets in the country. As per Nielsen market research data, two out of three Indians use HUL products.[5]

Brands[edit]

HUL is the market leader in Indian consumer products with presence in over 20 consumer categories such as soaps, tea, detergents and shampoos amongst others with over 700 million Indian consumers using its products. Eighteen of HUL's brands featured in the ACNielsen Brand Equity list of 100 Most Trusted Brands Annual Survey (2012), carried out by Brand Equity, a supplement of The Economic Times.[6]

The "most trusted brands" from HUL in the top 100 list (their rankings in brackets) are: Clinic Plus (4), Lifebuoy (10), Fair & Lovely (11), Rin (12), Surf Excel (13), Lux (14), Pepsodent (17), Closeup (19), Pond's (20), Sunsilk (26), Dove (37), Vim (43), Pears (79), Lakme (81), Vaseline (86), Wheel (87), Hamam (95) and Rexona (96).[6]

The latest launches for Hindustan Unilever include: Surf Excel Easywash; Lakmé eyeconic range; Vim Anti Germ bar;Pureit Marvella UV with Advance Alert System; TRESemmé: For Salon style hair at home everyday; Clinic Plus: Milk Protein Formula A++; Comfort 1 Rinse; Bru Exotica Guatemala; Closeup: Deep Action; Dove Hair Fall Rescue Treatment; Taaza: Taazgi bhari chaai, dimaag khul jaaye.[7]

The company has a distribution channel of 6.3 million outlets and owns 35 major Indian brands.[8] Its brands include:

Food brands:

Homecare Brands[10]

  • Active Wheel detergent
  • Cif Cream Cleaner
  • Comfort fabric softeners
  • Domestos disinfectant/toilet cleaner
  • Rin detergents and bleach
  • Sunlight detergent and colour care
  • Surf Excel detergent and gentle wash
  • Vim dishwash
  • Magic – Water Saver[11][12]

Personal Care Brands:[13]

  • Aviance Beauty Solutions
  • Axe deodorant and aftershaving lotion and soap
  • LEVER Ayush Therapy ayurvedic health care and personal care products
  • Breeze beauty soap
  • Clear anti-dandruff hair products
  • Clinic Plus shampoo and oil
  • Close Up toothpaste
  • Dove skin cleansing & hair care range: bar, lotions, creams and anti-perspirant deodorants
  • Denim shaving products
  • Fair & Lovely skin-lightening products
  • Hamam
  • Lakmé beauty products and salons
  • Lifebuoy soaps and handwash range
  • Liril 2000 soap
  • Lux soap, body wash and deodorant
  • Pears soap
  • Pepsodent toothpaste
  • Pond's talcs and creams
  • Rexona soap
  • Sunsilk shampoo
  • Sure anti-perspirant
  • Vaseline petroleum jelly, skin care lotions
  • TRESemmé[14]
  • TIGI

Water Purifier Brand:

  • Pureit Water Purifier

Leadership[edit]

HUL has produced many business leaders for corporate India, including Harish Manwani,[15] the non-executive chairman of HUL and currently the chief operating officer of Unilever. He is also a member of Unilever Leadership Executive team (ULE), which comprises the company's top management and is responsible for managing Unilever's profit and loss, and delivering growth across its regions, categories and functions.[16] Mr. Sanjiv Mehta was appointed as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HUL with effect from 10 October 2013. He has also been appointed as Executive vice-president, South Asia, Unilever and is also the executive head of the South Asia cluster for Unilever.[17]

HUL's leadership-building potential was recognised when it was ranked 4th in the Hewitt Global Leadership Survey 2007 with only GE, P&G and Nokia ranking ahead of HUL in the ability to produce leaders with such regularity.[18][19][20] A study conducted by Aon Hewitt, The RBL Group and Fortune in 2011, ranked the company number six in the list of 'Top Companies for Leaders 2011 Study Results'.[21] The company was awarded the CII- Prize for Leadership in HR Excellence at the 2nd CII National HR Conclave 2011 held on October 2011.[22]

Awards[edit]

Hindustan Unilever Limited was recognised as the 'Conscious Capitalist of the Year' at the 2013 Forbes India Leadership Awards.[23]

HUL won 12 awards overall with 4 Golds, 4 Silvers and 4 Bronzes at the 2013 Emvies Awards.[24]

HUL ranks number two on the on Fortune India's 2013 '50 Most Admired Companies list'.[25]

Hindustan Unilever Limited has emerged as the No. 4 'Most Respected Company in India' in a survey conducted by Business World in 2013.[26]

As per the latest Nielsen Campus Track-business school survey released in February 2013, Hindustan Unilever has emerged as the No.1 employer of choice for B-school students who will graduate in 2013, across functions. HUL also retained the 'Dream Employer' status for the 4th year running and continues to be the top company considered for application by B-School student in India.[27][28][29][30][31]

In 2012, HUL was recognised as one of the world's most innovative companies by Forbes. With a ranking of number 6, it was the highest ranked FMCG company.[32]

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) won the first prize at FICCI Water Awards 2012 under the category of 'community initiatives by industry' for Gundar Basin Project, a water conservation initiative.[33]

Hindustan Unilever Limited won 13 awards at the Emvies 2012 Media Awards organised by the Advertising Club Bombay in September 2012.[34]

The company bagged four awards at the Spikes Asia Awards 2012, held in September. The awards included one Grand Prix one Gold Award and two Silver Awards.[35]

HUL's Chhindwara Unit won the National Safety Award for outstanding performance in Industrial Safety. These awards were instituted by the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment in 1965.[36]

HUL was one of the eight Indian companies to be featured on the Forbes list of World's Most Reputed companies in 2007.[37]

In July 2012 Hindustan Unilever Limited won the Golden Peacock Occupational Health and Safety Award for 2012 in the FMCG category for its safety and health initiatives and continuous improvement on key metrics.[38]

Pond's Talcum Powder's packaging innovation has bagged a Silver Award at the prestigious 24th DuPont Global Packaging Award, in May 2012.The brand was recognised for cost and waste reduction.[39]

In May 2012, HUL & Star Bazaar bagged the silver award for 'Creating Consumer Value through Joint Promotional and Event Forecasting' at the 13th ECR Efficient Consumer Response Asia Pacific Conference.[40]

In 2011, HUL was named the most innovative company in India by Forbes and ranked 6th in the top 10 list of most innovative companies in the world.[41]

Hindustan Unilever Ltd received the National Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance 2011 of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) for excellence in corporate governance[42]

In 2012, Hindustan Unilever emerged as the No. 1 employer of choice for B-School students who will graduate in 2012. In addition, HUL also retained the 'Dream Employer' status for the 3rd year running[43]

Hindustan Unilever ranked No. 2 in Fortune India's Most Admired Companies list, which was released by Fortune India in partnership with the Hay Group. The company received the highest scores for endurance and financial soundness[44]

HUL was ranked 39th in The Brand Trust Report (2011) published by Trust Research Advisory.[45] Seven HUL brands also featured in the list: Lux, Pond's, Dove, Lakme, Axe, Sunsilk and Pepsodent.[46][47]

HUL emerged as the top 'Dream Employer' as well as the top company considered for application in the annual B-School Survey conducted by Nielsen in November 2010. This was the second successive year that HUL has been rated as the top 'Dream Employer' in India.[48] HUL has also emerged as the top employer of choice among the top six Indian Institutes of Management (IIMA, B, C, L, K and I).

HUL won three awards at the 'CNBC Awaaz Storyboard Consumer Awards' in 2011 – Most Recommended FMCG Company of the Year; Most Consumer Conscious Company of the Year and Digital Marketer of the Year.[49]

The company was felicitated in April 2010 for receiving the highest number of patents in the year 2009 at Annual Intellectual Property Awards 2010.[50][51]

In 2007, Hindustan Unilever was rated as the most respected company in India for the past 25 years by Businessworld, one of India's leading business magazines.[52] The rating was based on a compilation of the magazine's annual survey of India's most reputed companies over the past 25 years.

HUL is one of the country's largest exporters; it has been recognised as a Golden Super Star Trading House by the Government of India.[53][54]

Research facilities[edit]

Unilever R&D Centre in Bangalore

The Hindustan Unilever Research Centre (HURC) was set up in 1967 in Mumbai, and Unilever Research India in Bangalore in 1997. Staff at these centres developed many innovations in products and manufacturing processes. In 2006, the company's research facilities were brought together at a single site in Bangalore.[55]

Sustainable living[edit]

Unilever launched Sustainable Living Plan in on 15 November 2010 at London, Rotterdam, New York and New Delhi simultaneously.[56]

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan[57] has three major goals, which Unilever aims to achieve by 2020:

  • Help more than one billion people improve their health and well-being
  • Halve the environmental impact of their products
  • Source 100% of their agricultural raw materials sustainably

The plan also sets out over 50 social, economic and environmental targets.[58]

In 2012 Hindustan Unilever featured in BSE's Greenex – India's first environmental friendly equity index the first environmental friendly equity index, which will enable investors take more informed decisions in the green theme of India.[59]

Water

The company has reduced water usage in manufacturing operations by 10.1% when compared with 2010 and by 21.5% compared to 2008 baseline. Rainwater harvesting has been implemented in more than 50% of units. More than 75% of the company's manufacturing sites are zero discharge.

HUL has also been working for more than a decade in the area of water conservation in locations which face acute water shortage. By 2015, the Company expects hundred billion litres of water to be harvested through the projects they have undertaken. One million people in 180 villages across India will benefit. Most projects are expected to see a 50% rise in crop production.[60]

India Water Body

In May 2011, the company launched the India Water Body, an initiative aimed to address the challenge of water scarcity in India.[61][62] HUL has been working in the area of water conservation for more than a decade and has initiated projects in several states across India with the aim to create capacity towards conserving more than 50 billion litres of water in the next four years (by 2015).Water conservation has been a focus area for the company across its value chain. The company has not only reduced water consumption in its operations but also developed product innovations such as Surf Excel quick-wash[63] that helps consumers use less water while washing clothes.

Plastic recycling project

In July 2011, HUL and Bharti Retail started a three-month campaign called "Go Recycle"[64] to promote plastic recycling among consumers in the National Capital Region (NCR) in 2011. Consumers were encouraged to bring empty plastic bottles and pouches, for which they were given discount coupons in return.

Creating financial inclusion

The company joined forces with the State Bank of India (SBI) to introduce banking services to people from low-income groups in rural areas.[65] The project was piloted in the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

HUL also renders services to the community, focusing on health & hygiene education, empowerment of women, and water management. It is also involved in education and rehabilitation of underprivileged children, care for the destitute and HIV-positive, and rural development. HUL has also responded to national calamities, for instance with relief and rehabilitation after the 2004 tsunami caused devastation in South India.

Health and hygiene

Lifebuoy took handwashing messages to remote areas, reaching out to 30million people directly in 2010–11 through HUL's rural outreach programme,Khushiyon Ki Doli' (Caravan of Happiness). The Company entered into a partnership with UNICEF and Department of Rural Development, Government of Madhya Pradesh, to implement hygiene awareness programmes in over 5,000schools in 2012. This will further strengthen the Lifebuoy handwash programme in India and contribute to the global target of reaching one billion consumers by 2015 across Asia, Africa and Latin America.[66]

As many as 30 million people in India have gained access to safe drinking water from Pureit, in-home purifier which provides water 'as safe as boiled water', without needing electricity, or running water. Pureit is affordable – with an upfront cost starting at Rs. 900, and an ongoing cost that provides approximately four litres of safe drinking water for about one rupee. Globally, Unilever aims to reach 500 million people through Pureit by 2020.[67]

Nutrition

The company's food and beverage brand labels carry information on energy, protein carbohydrate, sugars, fat, and where relevant, on saturated fat, fibre and sodium. HUL also participates in 'The Choices Programme.' It is a front-of-pack labelling programme aimed to help consumers make a healthier choice. Around 60% of our major food and beverage brands comply with the guidelines as against the global target of 100% by 2015.[68][69]

Greenhouse gases

The Company is on track to meet the global 2012 target, which is to reformulate the products to reduce GHG emissions by 15%. The process of reformulating products started in 2009. A significant reduction has been achieved with the reduction in detergent powders of Sodium Tri Poly Phosphate, an ingredient that neutralises the impact of water hardness.[70]

In 2011, the Company reduced C02 emissions per tonne of production in India by 9.9% compared to 2010 and by 14.7% compared to the 2008 baseline. This was achieved due to the installation of biomass[71] boilers to reduce CO2 emissions at Chiplun, Puducherry, Goa, Nasik and Mysore factories. The biggest challenge was to deliver reduction in CO2 emissions from transport despite significant volume increase. In 2011, the Company delivered 17.8% improvement in CO2 efficiency in logistics over 2010.

Sustainable Sourcing

In 2011, 60% of tomatoes used in Kissan Ketchup in India were from sustainable sources. The Company is working with a select group of tomato farmers to help reduce water usage through drip irrigation and at the same time reduce the use of fertiliser and pesticides while improving yields.[72]

More than 16% of the tea sourced from India for Unilever's brands was from sustainable sources in 2011 About 800 smallholder farmers in India are growing gherkins for Unilever's Amora and Maille brands using drip irrigation. Trials have produced average water saving of 40%. Unilever now aims to help up to 1,000 gherkin farmers transition to drip irrigation by 2015.Unilever also focuses on helping farmers use composting to cut water use. By 2020, we will source 100% of the raw materials sustainably.[73]

Enhancing Livelihoods[74][75]

Project Shakti, a unique initiative by the Company to build and support a network of women entrepreneurs in small villages was strengthened in 2010–11 with the Shaktimaan initiative, under which men from Shakti households were given a bicycle to cover a cluster of villages in their vicinity. There are now 30,000 Shaktimaans across India.

The company's Kwality Wall's mobile vending operations provide entrepreneurship opportunities to over 6,500 migrant labourers across India.

Marketing Initiatives[edit]

Khushiyon Ki Doli

The company launched a multi-brand rural marketing initiative called Khushiyon Ki Doli,[76] in 2010 in three states – Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Through this initiative more than 10 million consumers were contacted directly in more than 28,000 villages across these three states. Through this initiative, the company also reached out to 170,000 retailers in these villages.Through this initiative HUL engaged with 25 million rural consumers in media dark areas in 2011.[77]

In 2011, HUL extended this initiative to cover five states – West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, covering over fifty thousand villages across these five states.

In 2012, Kushiyon Ki Doli has been extended to Karnataka to cover a total of six States: Maharashtra, UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The initiative aims to cover over Fifty five thousand villages in 2012.

Various personal care and home care brands of HUL have participated in this initiative including: Wheel, Surf Excel, FAL, Sunsilk, Vim, Lifebuoy and Closeup.

The module follows a three-step process, starting with awareness, moving on to consumer engagement and finally retail contact. The first step of spreading awareness is achieved through a team of promoters who head to each village and invite the villages to what is known as 'Mohallas' to make them aware of the company and its products. In every village, there are about 4–5 teams that conduct these events in local language for small focused groups so that it allows for greater engagement and involvement for the consumers. During this activity, brands are introduced with the help of TVCs that are played continuously. And the promoters by way of 'live' demonstrations bring alive the hygiene benefits of using such brands and improving the quality of daily life. To increase the 'fun' element and enhance involvement, promoters also conduct simple quizzes and games around the brands and daily hygiene habits. As part of this activation,the company offers schemes both for the participating consumers and also local retailers for generating trial among consumers as well enhancing availability at retail. Post the 'mohalla' activity, the promotes go home to home and conduct consumer home visits to generate trial where they offer attractive promotions to the consumers.[78] Similarly, there is another team which visits all the shops in the village which ensures improved availability and visibility of HUL brands. Technology has been used to advertise and market HUL's brands. At the same time, the company has utilised traditional symbols to bolster Public Relations. For example, the brand films and hygiene messages are shown to the consumers through the use of Palki.[79]

Lessons in Marketing Excellence

The company tied up with CNBC TV18 in 2009 to launch a television show titled, 'Lessons in Marketing Excellence',[80] a marketing case-study competition for management students in India. Some of the participating institutes include: IIM Calcutta, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Lucknow, Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi, IIM Indore, XLRI, Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development, Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, SP Jain Institute of Management and Research and National Institute of Industrial Engineering.

The show has completed four seasons and a fifth season will air soon.[81]

Perfect Stores

The 'Perfect Stores' initiative was launched by HUL in May 2010 with the aim to increase the availability and visibility of its products in retail stores across the country.[82][83] In May 2010, four thousand HUL employees from across functions launched the initiative through 'Project Bushfire' and created 16,000 'Perfect Stores' in 130 towns in India in a span of 6 days. The employees not only laid out various products on the stores' shelves but also dusted them, thereby increasing the public appeal of the stores retailing their brands. The company is constantly increasing the number of stores included in the 'Perfect Stores' programme.

Technology has played a key role in this initiative. The company's salesmen have been provided with a hand held terminal called iQ, which gives customised recommendations for each store – which products to sell, when to sell them and in what quantity. The salesman just has to sync the iQ device when visiting the distributor and download data from the centre to retrieve information on the market. To strengthen this initiative, HUL launched POPeye[84] – an initiative that puts the power of iQ in the hands of the employees. When an HUL employee visits an outlet and finds the company's product out of stock, he can log stock calls either by logging on to the POPeye site,[85] or report the information by phone or email.

Headquarters[edit]

Hindustan Unilever's corporate headquarters are located at Andheri (E), Mumbai. The campus is spread over 12.5 acres of land and houses over 1,600 employees. Some of the facilities available for the employees include a convenience store, a food court, an occupational health centre, a gym, a sports & recreation centre and a day care centre.[86]

The campus received a certification from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)[87] Gold in 'New Construction' category, by Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), Hyderabad, under license from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC)

The company's previous headquarters was located at Backbay Reclamation, Mumbai at the Lever House, where it was housed for over 46 years.[51]

Direct Selling Division[edit]

HUL also runs Hindustan Unilever Network (HULN), a direct selling business arm. Under HULN, health products are marketed by Ayush Therapy in collaboration with Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, Coimbatore; beauty products by Aviance; home products by Lever Home; and male grooming by D.I.Y. There are also premium products for beauty salons and others.

Controversy[edit]

Mercury pollution[edit]

In 2001 a thermometer factory in Kodaikanal run by Hindustan Unilever was accused of dumping glass contaminated with mercury in municipal dumps, or selling it on to scrap merchants unable to deal with it appropriately.[88][89][90]

Skin lightening creams[edit]

Hindustan Unilever's "Fair and Lovely" is the leading skin-lightening cream for women in India.[91] The company had to cease television advertisements for the product in 2007. Advertisements depicted depressed, dark-complexioned women, who had been ignored by employers and men, suddenly finding new boyfriends and glamorous careers after the cream had lightened their skin.[92] In 2008 Hindustan Unilever made former Miss World Priyanka Chopra a brand ambassador for Pond's,[93] and she then appeared in a mini-series of television commercials for another skin lightening product, 'White Beauty', alongside Saif Ali Khan and Neha Dhupia; these advertisements, showing Priyanka's face with a clearly darker complexion against the visibly fairer Neha Dhupia, were widely criticised for perpetuating racism[94] and lowering the self-esteem of women and girls throughout India who were misled by HUNL to believe that they needed to be white to be beautiful.

Triclosan[edit]

Several academic papers have pointed out the firm's continued use of the antibacterial agent Triclosan ('Active B') in India because it is under review by the American Food and Drug Administration (US FDA).[95]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

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  73. ^ "Sustainable Sourcing". 
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