Taking a stand against Unilever

I watched the new Unilever advert last night in a fury. Using the voice of a child, and images of children to suggest to consumers, you are saving the planet by buying their products.
Misleading at the very least.

Here is my response, sent to Unilever today.

Dear Unilever,

I watched your new advert on television last night with disbelief.
It suggests that through buying your products, consumers will be assisting you in saving the world for the future of our children, no less, one product at a time.
If only that were true.

From that small selection of Unilever products swirling around the screen in your advert, I have the following concerns regarding those products and about the conduct of your business:

Dove soap.
It contains at least 14 ingredients, most of which are known irritants (1), some of which have no benefit at all to the skin. It is made using Palm Oil, – sorry, I don’t believe that your palm oil is sustainably sourced, based on the scale of your business (2). Despite your pledge in 2010 to remove harmful ingredients from your skin care products (3), the formula remains the same. Ingredients are tested on animals. If you are truly committed to producing ‘kind to skin’ products, stop using ingredients that need to be tested on animals to prove their ‘safety’. Sign up to PETA and BUAV to prove your commitment.

Persil
The ingredients that make up your soap powders are know to disrupt the natural balance of our water systems and the micro organisms that live within it. Water management systems have to use complex processes and chemicals to remove the toxic compounds used in laundry products like the Persil range. The by-products; waste water and solids, are put back into the environment, water into our rivers and solids onto farm land, which subsequently find their way into our food chain.
Doesn’t sound too good for our children’s future to me.

Domestos
Bleach is known to be harmful to humans, pets and the environment, it remains in our water systems, taking centuries to break down (4)

Liptons
Scandal after scandal for Liptons over the years.
Appalling human rights abuse (5a, 5b)
Refusing your workers rights of association and decent employment security (5c)
Most Unilever tea pickets can’t even afford to drink the tea they pick (5d)
You have demonstrated inadequate monitoring of your manufacturing centres to ensure consumer safety (6)

Unilever ethics and conduct
You have been identified in using bullying tactics to put smaller companies out of business (i).
There have been reports by employees that you use bullying tactics within your company (ii).
You are connected with ex-Conservative politician Mark Clarke whose scandalous behaviour has recently been widely reported in the news (iii)

If I were to look at every product Unilever produce, I can quite easily find examples of corruption, exploitation, (5e) environmental destruction, even child labour (5f).
As a huge, multi-national brand, you have massive resources to ensure the safety and fair treatment of your wider workforce and the global environment. You are simply failing in this, you are not doing enough.
I see your use of children in your new advert, and the message you are attempting to get across, cynical and tasteless.

This misleading advert, I would suggest, continues the perpetual programme of false advertising the British public have become accustomed to. (iv)

Your pitiful attempt to hitch a ride on the Green Credentials Bandwagon, do not fool me. It is overdue time for you to get your house in order.

Yours Faithfully,
Mrs Helen Casey-Green

Fairtrade campaigner

1. http://www.alabu.com/dove-ingredients/
2. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/apr/09/ioi-malaysian-palm-oil-company-unilever-mars-kellogg-rspo-deforestation
3. https://prezi.com/m/ufpwbg5xlwjj/proposal-to-remove-detrimental-ingredients-from-dove-persona/
4. http://www.livestrong.com/article/28302-skin-problems-following-chlorine-contact/
5a http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-34173532
5b. https://business-humanrights.org/en/the-real-price-of-a-cup-of-tea-kenya
5c. http://old.laborrights.org/end-violence-against-trade-unions/unilever-lipton-workers
5d. http://culcura.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/lipton-tea.html
5e. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/unilever-labour-practices-vietnam-oxfam-report
5f. http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/companystories.aspx?CompanyId=560872&CategoryId=421
6. https://www.ft.com/content/378f686e-0c55-11e1-8ac6-00144feabdc0

i. https://www.change.org/p/tell-unilever-to-stop-bullying-sustainable-food-companies
ii. https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Reviews/Employee-Review-Unilever-RVW10339247.htm
iii. http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/man-u-k-scandal-a-unilever-social-media-analyst/302151/
iv. https://corporatewatch.org/company-profiles/unilever-corporate-crimes

One thought on “Taking a stand against Unilever

  1. Sadly this post from Helen is all too true. Surely such blatant manipulation of the facts presented by Unilever flies in the face of honest advertising. Pull the adverts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *