The Unilever Global Development Award, supported by Business Fights Poverty

Recognising businesses that can demonstrate positive impact against one or more of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Unilever Global Development Award graphic


Adopted by world leaders in the year 2000, the MDGs are, to date, the most broadly supported, comprehensive and specific development goals in the world, that aim to:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;

  2. Achieve universal primary education;

  3. Promote gender equality and empower women;

  4. Reduce child mortality;

  5. Improve maternal health;

  6. Combat HIV, AIDS, malaria & other diseases;

  7. Ensure environmental sustainability; and

  8. Develop a global partnership for development.

Since the launch of the MDGs in 2000 great progress has been made on the global development agenda including:

  • A decline in the number of people living in extreme poverty by more than half.

  • A fall of almost half in the proportion of undernourished people in the developing regions.

  • The primary school enrolment rate in the developing regions has reached 91 percent, with many more girls are now in school compared to 15 years ago.

  • Remarkable gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

  • A decline of more than half in the under-five mortality rate, with maternal mortality also down 45 percent worldwide.

  • The target of halving the proportion of people who lack access to improved sources of water was also met1.

With the culmination of the MDGs taking place at the end of this year and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) starting on 1 January 2016, these awards come at an important point in the journey for global development. More and more businesses recognise that it is in their long-term interest to invest in building safer and securer societies. Global challenges can also be a driver of innovation and new market opportunities in developing countries. 

Businesses are a key enabler of global development, be this through helping achievement the MDGs or future contribution to the SDGs. The Unilever Global Development Award identifies those businesses that are demonstrating a positive impact on global development.


Successful entries will be able to demonstrate:

  • A specific country or global programme which positively addresses one or more of the key social, environmental and economic challenges facing global society;

  • That this is integrated into the business model;

  • A focus on one goal or more of the MDGs, on a local or global scale;

  • Positive impact evidenced through quantitative and qualitative data;

  • Benefits back to the business which may include product and service innovation, reaching new customers, employee engagement and enhanced reputation;

  • Work with wider stakeholders to leverage their combined expertise e.g. government bodies, NGOs and civil society groups.


  • This award is open to any private sector company, firm, LLP or partnership globally. This may include social enterprises but does not include charity organisations or NGOs unless they are tied to a corporate entity in a joint application. E.G. Unilever and Unilever Foundation

  • We recognise that due to the nature of development programmes, the impacts realised tend to be long-term and can be difficult to evidence in the early years. We recommend that applicants entering this award have at least a two-year track record of measuring the social impacts of their programme and the benefits for the applicant’s business.  Programmes with a shorter track record may still apply but an inability to evidence longer term impacts may make them less competitive against other entries.

  • Any size of business can enter and will have an equal chance of winning, as scale will be taken into consideration and assessed as relevant to your business’ operational scope.

  • If your programme focusses on recovery from and resilience against international disasters, please enter the International Disaster Award.

For more details, please contact Katherine Rusack at