Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 21:23 EDT

Unilever Launches New Open Innovation Space to Support Sustainable Growth

March 19, 2012

LONDON, March 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –

Unilever’s Open Innovation team today launched a new online platform which offers
experts the opportunity to help the company find some of the technical solutions it needs
to achieve its ambition of doubling the size of its business while reducing its
environmental impact.

The global consumer goods manufacturer has extended its collaborative approach with
partners to help it deliver a range of important innovation projects which support the
company’s sustainable growth strategy.

The details of a range of research projects have been published online
[http://www.unilever.com/innovation/collaborating-with-unilever ] to invite potential
collaborators to work with Unilever’s Research & Development team to design the innovation
breakthroughs which will create a better future for its consumers, the environment, its
business and its partners.

While Unilever has a long track-record of partnering to develop products, it is the
first time that its research projects have been shared so publicly in an open forum.

Each Open Innovation project at Unilever is defined by its “Want” – the technical
solution the company is looking to work with external collaborators to develop. The
“Wants” listed on the new platform span across Unilever’s commitment to both reduce its
environmental impact and increase its positive social impact. For example:

        - Technologies that can bring safe water to the world's poorest people - for
          less than one cent per litre.
        - New active ingredients for our cleaning products which inactivate viruses -
          without relying on bleaches, strong acids, or alcohols.
        - Lighter and more sustainable packaging which will cut the weight, quantity and
          waste of our product packaging.
        - Laundry products and technologies that allow consumers to get superior washing
          performance using lower temperatures and less water
        - Technology which allows us to further reduce the amount of sodium in food -
          without affecting our products' great taste.

Roger Leech, Unilever Open Innovation Scouting Director said: “Our global research and
development teams consistently make innovation breakthroughs which keep Unilever at the
forefront of product development and design.

“But we know that the world is full of brilliant people with brilliant ideas, and we
are constantly looking for new ways to tap into this potential by working with partners
who have a fresh, serious approach to developing exciting new technology.

“Smart collaboration with partners gives both parties the freedom to do business in
new and invigorating ways – creating shared value along the way. It brings together the
expertise and experience of our sustainable innovation capability with new thinking and
creativity from partners, creating new business models in which ideas flourish.

“A successful Open Innovation model will be absolutely fundamental to us achieving our
ambition of doubling the size of our business while not only reducing our environmental
impact, but increasing our positive social impact too.”

Some of the Unilever’s most important innovations have been developed through the Open
Innovation model, and in 2011, the company had one or more activities under development
with more than 500 innovation partners.

An example of Unilever Open Innovation in action is the company’s Pureit range of
water purifying products, which was developed in collaboration with a range of technology
partners and scientific and public health institutions.

Pureit has now been rolled out to all 28 states in India, bringing safe drinking water
to more than 30m people. The device has also been launched in Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia,
Bangladesh, and other countries facing a shortage of affordable clean water.

Notes for the editor

For more information, please contact Paul Matthews, Unilever Corporate Media Relations
Manager on 0207 822 6605 or paul.matthews@unilever.com

The Open Innovation site can be found at:


About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with
operations in over 100 countries and sales in 190. Consumers buy 170 billion Unilever
packs around the world every year, and our products are used over two billion times a day.
We have more than 171,000 employees, and generated annual sales of EUR46.5 billion in

Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and
get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others.
Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most loved brands including
thirteen EUR1 billion brands, and global leadership in most categories in which we
operate. The portfolio features iconic brands such as: Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Dove,
Vaseline, Persil, Cif, Marmite and Pot Noodle.

Unilever’s ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall
environmental impact (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal). We are also
committed to doing what we can to improve health, nutrition and hygiene, with a target to
help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, as
well as sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020. All of these
goals are itemised in around 60 time-based commitments in our Unilever Sustainable Living

Unilever has led the Food Producers sector in the Dow Jones Sustainability World
Indexes for 13 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and
attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good
Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. In 2011 Unilever led the Climate Counts Company
Scorecard and was named #1 in the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders
according to the latest survey findings from GlobeScan Inc. and SustainAbility Ltd.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit


Unilever R&D involves over 6,000 professionals, six strategic centres for global R&D
and 31 major product development centres. The strategic centres are located in Trumbull,
US, Port Sunlight and Colworth in the UK, Vlaardingen in The Netherlands, Bangalore in
India and Shanghai in China. In 2011, our investment in R&D was around EUR1bn.

Web: http://www.unilever.com

SOURCE Unilever

Source: PR Newswire