The Barclays Developing Resilience Award: Unilever

Unilever has trained a thousand business owners to build resilience and protect the supply chain in the Philippines.

Winner of Business in the Community’s The Barclays Developing Resilience Award 2019.

Unilever: A thousand business owners in the Philippines trained to build resilience and protect the supply chain 

  • More 1,000 small business owners trained 
  • 57% owned by women 

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan underpins the company’s strategy and commits the business to enhance the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020. 

“It is essential that businesses prepare their extended value chain in advance of an emergency and help ensure their resilience afterwards. At scale, this initiative has the potential to considerably reduce the demands on the global humanitarian system.” 

​Rebecca Marmot, Global VP Partnerships & Advocacy, Unilever 

One of many responses to this challenge is the consumer goods business’s partnership with the Humanitarian Leadership Academy. Together they have developed a programme to provide business continuity training to micro-, small and medium-sized companies in the Philippines. 

Over the past two decades, the Philippines has endured hundreds of natural disasters, making it the fourth most disaster-prone country in the world1. Small businesses are often hit the hardest. According to Unilever, cash flow is a major challenge in times of disaster, with a small business having just one week to survive. 

So far, more than 1,000 people have been trained through the programme – of which 57% were women – who would not have otherwise been able to access or afford such training. In addition, 25 ‘master trainers’ have been given the tools to facilitate the training beyond the life of the pilot programme. 

The training helps small-business owners to identify the risks and challenges it may face in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, such as loss of stock or interrupted sales. 

Having this understanding can then help the businesses work out how to get back up and running quickly following a crisis. This can help them to minimise the cost and impact of disasters – issues that can have an impact on Unilever, which sources from many of the communities it is helping. 

What the judges said…

“The initiative evidenced that it is truly developing resilience in the broadest of terms

Lee Webb, Director, Group Resilience, Barclays

Business in the Community is building thriving communities where people want to live and work

  1. Dr Murphy P. Mohammed. Disaster Risk Reduction and Management of Tarlac City. Available at