Unilever Nepal with People at Pandemic

Unilever Nepal Limited (UNL) is Nepal’s largest pure play fast-moving consumer goods company with a heritage of over 27 years. It is a subsidiary of Hindustan Unilever Limited (India’s largest Fast-Moving Consumer Goods Company). Nine out of ten Nepali households use our products every day to feel good, look good and get more out of life; giving us a unique opportunity to build a brighter future.

Main Products

Unilever manufactures Personal care/personal wash products and Hair care products like clinic care shampoo, Sunsilk shampoo, Dove shampoo. It also has Skin care products like Ponds cream. Other products are Red Label Tea, Tooth paste like close up and Pepsodent, soaps like lifebuoy, Liril, Lux etc. Most of the portfolio qualifies to be essential items of daily use in Nepal.

UNL in true sense is a company with national presence across Nepal through its array of brands. Almost the entire geographical expanse of Nepal, including upper hills of Humla, Kalikot and Jajarkot districts is serviced by the Company through its distributors. It has produced approximately 33000 metric tons for 2019-20 (FY 2018-19 32871 MT).

Unilever Nepal at Lockdown

Keeping in mind the situation of the country, UNL halted all the planned promotions for its brands except for core categories relating to cleanliness and hygiene i.e. Soaps, Shampoos, Toothpaste and Detergents. Personal Cleanliness being the primary defence till a Vaccine is found, we tried educating people through various mediums like videos, Influencers the importance of Handwashing in this hour of Pandemic.

Because of lockdown and Covid-19, every sector is adversely affected including FMCG industries as well. The unprecedented situation after lockdown created an imbalance in the overall process of demand and supply. Imposition of the lock down to curtail the spread of virus disrupted business operations which included factory operations as well as rotation of stocks.

Due to disruption in input movement of Raw & Packing material in the last 5 months (Mar-July) Sales have considerably reduced as compared to last year. Besides with extended lockdowns in certain districts the issues of servicing stock to the outlet and manufacturing in bulk have become a cause of concern. UNL however is approaching the local governments for their support and guidance.

Essential products of daily use such as Soaps, Shampoos, Skin Care products and Detergent Powders were high in demand. Due to disruption in operating our manufacturing unit in full capacity due to the local restrictions and other issues in sourcing of Raw & packing material, goods production is badly impacted. We can sell goods from existing inventory only, of which we have a thin cover.

Management of employees

 UNL is committed to ensuring a safe working environment for all its employees always with COVID being no different. Some of the early measures the company took was to move to remote working across its Head Office and other locations which could be done remotely across Nepal beginning 14th March itself.

In our factory situated at Hetuda, Unilever implemented Tier-5 Protocols as per Unilever Global Safety Requirements with Enhanced Sanitation and Deep Cleaning Program. A rigorous monitoring of daily temperatures and flu like symptoms were introduced at our factory with arrangements made to ensure proper social distancing and even an arrangement of a 20 bed quarantine facility within the site with an option to enhance to additional beds externally.

A testament to our standards of safety has been the regular visits and audits done by the local administration who have been very satisfied with our preparations. Further our medical team identified through consultation with employees those were at high risk and ensured that their work is restructured in a manner so that they are not at any risk due to their nature of work.

Additionally, through internal systems and app led, daily review of employees’ travel movement, status check of their health and providing access to early advise from doctors at any time ensure employees felt safe. Further whenever the risk perception in our factory region has gone up Unilever has taken strong actions such as partial or full closure of our factory operation to reduce the risk to our people and our business partners who are working with us. Thus, Unilever Nepal would continue to monitor the environment and ensure we recover from this situation stronger and better.

Sharing of Pain          

Unilever Nepal has reached out in an inspiring act, as a part of their social corporate responsibility program, in the fight against the common challenge of COVID-19 pandemic. The company has independently undertaken the activities mentioned below during the COVID-19 crisis. The consolidated relief package amounts to NPR 37.8 million.

Collaborating for better medical infrastructure:

Unilever has procured and donated 5 ventilator machines (BiPap) to be used for critical patients, to the Ministry of Health. They have further donated to the Ministry of Health a Nucleic Acid Diagnostic for performing 2880 COVID-19 tests containing swabs, sample storage reagents and PCR tubes.

Unilever Nepal has committed to provide medical equipment worth 15.7 million to four key hospitals in their region of operations which are Hetuda Hospital in Makwanpur, Bharatpur Hospital in Chitwan, Narayani Hospital Birgunj and Bir Hospital Kathmandu to improve their healthcare facilities.Their factory team have handed over PPEs, such as N95 Masks, Surgical Masks, Sterilized Gloves and Medical goggles to authorities in Hetauda

Donating products for better health and hygiene:

As we know hand-washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The company has  distrubuted over 1,54,000+ units of Lifebuoy Soap, Lifebuoy Liquid Handwash, Lux & Dove soap to government institutions such as Ministry of Health & Population, Department of Industry, Nepal Police, Nepal Army, Ward Offices and other bodies.

Donating essential supplies to public as ‘Rahat package’:

Unilever extended their support to nearly 4200 families with ration relief packages (2200-Hetauda, 1000-Birgunj, 1000-Chitwan) in partnership with the local ward officers worth NPR 6.8 Million. Their factory team has also donated a month worth of ration to the Manab Sewa Ashram in Hetuda, an organization with supports nearly 150 children and elderly.

Return of contribution paid by Government as relief to industry towards SSF:

Unilever Nepal has decided to return the financial support provided by the government for the months of April, May and June, 2020 in the form of SSF relief, by returning back the employer share so that these funds can accessed by smaller businesses who require these support more.

Creating awareness:

Unilever, to promote handwash, created a large scale handwash awareness campaign on social media led by major influencers like Mr. Rajesh Hamal. Beside these, Unilever did a purposeful communication to reach out to the public to propagate the true spirit of social distancing.

Unilever Nepal as a responsible multinational has partnered with UNICEF and created the social initiative #HamroNamaste, a campaign with the mission to make people wake up to their humane side in their behavior towards their less-fortunate brothers and sisters, who are all coming back home to uncertain futures, unseen challenges and hardships. The only hope they have are their homes, and the support of the people of their own country.

#HamroNamaste campaign found the support of Rajesh Hamal, the undisputed super star and ilfluencer of Nepal. The message of this campaign was formed as a poem. At its core was empathy – to remind every one of us that at this juncture, we need to be together, act unitedly and welcome our own hard-working brothers and sisters.