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The Unilever Global Company’s Business Ethics Essay



The Unilever Global Company is one of the worlds leading manufacturers and it owns many of the World’s consumer brands. Among the brands that it owns include those in food, cosmetics, beverages and many other products. The company owns over 400 brands, 13 of which deliver to the company sales of over € 1 billion each year. The Unilever Global Company has branches in more than 150 countries across the world. Its headquarters are in the Netherlands and in the United Kingdom. The company has well over 265,000 employees and earns annual revenue of approximately $ 57 billion (Maljers 7). Unilever purposes to attain the highest standards of integrity towards everyone it influences, which include its workers and the global society, and the environment which it impacts. This level of integrity in corporate behaviour together with its key principles and approaches to business ethics explains its high level of performance and success.

Key principles and approaches of business ethics

The Unilever Global Company believes in performing all its activities with high levels of integrity and does this in a way that portrays its respect for the society, other organizations and the environment it impacts. The business ethics that the company incorporates in its activities has always been in the core of its corporate responsibility. The company also aims at positively impacting the society in various ways. Some of its activities which include making voluntary contributions to the society bring a positive impact to the society. Through its brands that deliver quality to the people also contributes greatly to the success of the company. The company’s operations and relationships with other companies and the corporate society as a whole build good business ties and positive relationships.

Unilever’s long-term goal is to develop a sustainable business. So as to reach this goal, it is constantly working on the various ways of improving the way it manages its activities so as to be environmentally friendly and be sustainable. The company has code of business principles that gives an account of the various ways in which its activities are to be carried out and it ensures that everyone working in the company follows it to the latter. This code of business principles is also in line with its type of governance (Maljers 3).

So as to maintain its integrity in governance and corporate responsibility, the Unilever Global Company only works with companies and organizations that have similar values as its own and attain the same standards. These partnerships are governed and managed by their Business partner code which contains certain principles. It ensures that its suppliers maintain business integrity and attains a certain standard in relation to employee relationships, relationships with their customers and their impact to the environment. These well organized partnerships ensure that it meets its business goals and the company has been confirmed to be a success in the business venture.

In its Code of business principles it outlines its standard of conduct. It ensures that all its activities are conducted with high levels of integrity and with honesty. Unilever Global Company has the quality of being open in its operations and this ensures that it gain trust from the society it influences. The company also respects the human rights of their employees and has their interests at heart. It also respects the relationship it has with its partners in business.

Among its principles, the Unilever Global Company respects and obeys the law. Since the company has established itself in over 150 countries of the world, it meets various challenges in adjusting to the different laws of the lands. Despite the challenges, the company has been able to respect and adhere to the laws of the land. It also ensures that its employees understand and comply with the laws.

The Unilever Global Company embraces diversity since it understands that its working environment is diverse due to the different countries it has established itself. Due to this, its employees have the responsibility and mandate of protecting the reputation of the company wherever they are. The company is strict and careful in the recruitment exercise as it only aims at recruiting employees based on merit and nothing less. Its potential employees need to have a reasonable amount of experience in the field of business and personal relations. This stringent exercise of recruitment is necessary to ensure that all its activities and operations meet a certain standard that positions the company in international standards.

The company is responsible for its employees well being and provides a conducive working condition for them. Its employees’ health and safety is paramount and the company ensures that the working environment is safe for the employees. The company is against the use of force on the employees and despises child labour. It values employee growth and therefore works together with its employees to develop and promote their skills. The company respects the need of the employees to associate freely with each other and with the society at large.

The Unilever Global Company is dedication and loyalty to its cause of providing goods and services that are of high quality. It ensures that its branded products are safe for use and consumption by the customers. It ensures that they are labelled appropriately to give accurate information about the product. Advertisement and communication about the company’s products and services are done in a way that ensures that as many potential customers as possible are reached and their interest captured.

The Unilever Global Company maintains good relationships with its stakeholders by working as required and dictated by the principles of proper corporate governance. All of its stakeholders receive information about the company’s performance and financial position. Well organized and structured information about the company’s activities are communicated to the stakeholders in good time. This depicts its openness in the way it conducts its activities and this has earned its respect among the stakeholders.

As the company hires qualified people from its diverse environment, it ensures community involvement which fosters unity and promotes trust. Unilever Company is ready to be involved with the government in developing the required legislations and other administrative legislation that contain or restrict rights and allocates responsibilities and likely to influence business interest that are in accordance with the law. It’s, therefore, ready to work hand in hand with the government to ensure that this happens. Nevertheless, the company is not involved in the political affairs of the country and does not support any particular party. It also does not fund any activities that depict support for any political party.

Since the Unilever Global Company is involved with producing and packaging products using materials which are not biodegradable, it ensures that it provides the customers with various directives to ensure that they are well disposed off. This ensures that they do not pollute and have negative impacts on the environment. The chemicals used in the products are also environmentally friendly. This initiative shows the company’s commitment to continuously deal with the issues of the impact they have on the environment.

In coming up with the goods, Unilever Company is involved in research that uses sound science and come up with quality products. It also meets the required standard in terms of quality and safety. This ensures that the company produces goods and services that can be entrusted to its customers. This has led to the high sales that Unilever has made throughout the years and it is still experiencing substantial growth.

The company embraces competition and has been involved severally in the coming up of proper competition laws. These competition laws are applicable to all of its employees throughout the world. Unilever maintains its business integrity as it is not involved in giving or receiving bribes so as to get business advancement. All its employees are governed by the same principle as they are not allowed to give or take any payment or product for free and in a way that suggests bribery. Any individual that has been offered a bribe is required to reject it and report to the relevant authority. Every records of business transaction that is done within the company are required to be accurate. Employees from the company are condemned from trying to get advancements in the expense of the company. The senior management, which include the Chief Executive Officer together with the Chief Legal Officer of Unilever, is responsible for the implementation of its code of business principles.


For every business to be successful, it needs to be governed by business ethics that should be part of the company’s culture. The Unilever Global Company is governed by ten key principles which are adhered to by all its employees. Their code of principles and their approaches to business has made Unilever one of the leading companies in the world.

Works Cited

Anand, Vikas, Blake Ashforth and Mahendra Joshi. Business as usual: The acceptance and perpetuation of corruption in organizations. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2003. Print.

Heijer, Den and Lee Grobler. “Greenhouse gas emissions during the 2003 World Summit”. Journal of Energy in Southern Africa 16.4 (2005): 1-7. Print.

Hofstede, Geert. Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1980. Print.

Houston, Rika and John Graham. Culture and corruption in international markets: implications for policy makers and managers. London: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 2001. Print.

Howarth, Richard. “Against High Discount Rates.” Working Papers in Economics (2003): 1-32. Print.

Maljers, Floris. Inside Unilever: The Evolving Transnational Company. Oxford: Elsevier Science Ltd, 1990. Print.

Maljers, Floris. Strategic planning and intuition in Unilever. Oxford: Elsevier Science Ltd, 2000. Print.

Nordhaus, William. “After Kyoto: Alternative Mechanisms to Control Global Warming.” American Economic Review 96.2 (2006): 31-34. Print.

Segon, Michael and Chris Booth. “Managerial Perspectives of Bribery and Corruption in Vietnam.” International Review of Business Research Papers 6.1 (2010): 574-589. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "The Unilever Global Company's Business Ethics." April 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-unilever-global-companys-business-ethics/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Unilever Global Company's Business Ethics'. 4 April.

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