UNILEVER - Profits: 6,0 billion USD (2007)
UNILEVER - biggest owner of coffee plantations in Africa with a turnover of 40 billion USD in 1990. UNILEVER turnover exceeds the gross national product (GNP) of all countries in the so-called third world and less developed countries. UNILEVER is one of the world’s top makers of packaged consumer goods and moves countless products like deodorants, fragrances, soap, margarine, tea and frozen foods all over the world. Child labor, unsustainable terms of trade, and corporate influence are among the most troubling offenses carried out by the company. The corporation sells products in over 150 countries and has annual sales of approximately 46 billion USD. UNILEVER is one of the world’s top three food firms -after Nestle and Kraft- and the world’s second largest packaged consumer goods company – behind Procter & Gamble.
UNILEVER was formed in 1930 when the Dutch margarine company Margarine Unie merged with British soapmaker Lever Brothers. Since they 1984 take over the tea company BROCKEN BOND including its plantations in Kenia, Malawi and Tansania, UNILEVER became the biggest owner of tea plantations in Africa. Workers (mainly women) on tea plantations in general get extremely low wages and their living conditions are appalling. Meanwhile companies, like UNILEVER, which do the blending, packaging and marketing of the tea (in the consumer countries) cream off 30-50% of the retail price.
In 1988 UNILEVER locked out 3800 striking workers from their
plant in Bombay in India who struggled for their salarys and their jobs.
In September 2004 more than 140 production employees at UNILEVER BestFoods margarine factory in Johnson City, Kansas returned to work after a new contract was reached. The workers were on strike for nearly two months over wage increases and health insurance.
In March 2001, residents of Kodaikanal, a pretty hill retreat in Southern India, caught the Anglo-Dutch multinational UNILEVER red-handed when they uncovered a dumpsite with toxic mercury-laced waste from a thermometer factory run by Unilever's Indian subsidiary Hindustan Lever. The 7.4 tons of crushed mercury-containing glass was found in torn sacks, spilling onto the ground in a busy scrap yard located near a school. Despite the visible evidence, Mr. Subramaniam, Hindustan Lever's export marketing manager, dismissed charges of indiscriminate dumping. "No hazardous wastes have left the factory site," he said. The expose, which led to a march to the factory gates by more than 400 residents from the area, joined by Greenpeace India, marked the beginning of an ongoing saga of dishonesty and botched cover-up efforts by UNILEVER. "It's been a learning experience that a reputed multinational could behave this way," says Minoo Awari, an old-time Kodaikanal resident. "As a host community we feel cheated." Mercury, the substance that UNILEVER is accused of handling without taking environmental or worker safety precautions, is a toxic metal that converts to deadlier forms such as methyl mercury when released into the environment. Mercury accumulates in the liver, kidneys, brain and blood and can cause birth defects and serious disorders of the nervous system and kidneys.
According to ActionAid, in 2003-4 over 80,000 children were employed in cotton seed production in southern India. According to the organization, children as young as nine years old are working 12-14 hours a day on the cotton seed farms. They are paid only 30p a day and are exposed to dangerous pesticides. They are supplying multinationals such as UNILEVER, Monsanto and Syngenta with cotton seed.
Expansion of palm oil plantations is the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Indonesia. Unilever, as the world’s biggest consumer of palm oil, is driving this expansion and as a result is fuelling rainforest destruction. For every 20 litres of palm oil produced in Indonesia, one litre ends up in Unilever’s hands. The main problem is that Unilever continues to buy palm oil from suppliers (Sinar Mas, ADM-Kuok-Wilmar and IOI) who burn rainforest and drain peatlands that are protected under Indonesian law to clear space for more plantations. Having lost their homes, orang-utans are forced to look elsewhere for food and often palm plantations are the nearest source. It’s estimated that over 1600 orang-utans were killed on palm oil plantations in 2006 alone.
UNILEVER is basically an "Armada of brand names". The multinational owns many subsidiaries all over the world. Unilever’s famous brands include Dove, Knorr, Lipton, Magnum, Omo, Cif, Slim-Fast, Birds Eye, Becel, Blue Band, Unox, Calve, Conimex and Lever2000.DO YOU STILL WANT THAT SHIT? SEE THIS LIST
|FINDUS frozen food, only in Italy owned by Unilever|
|SLIM-FAST: Slim-Fast sells shakes (milk- or soy-based), drink powders, and snack bars through retailers in the US and Europe under the Slim-Fast and Ultra Slim-Fast names. As these names suggest, Slim-Fast capitalises on the needs of weight-conscious consumers. On 3 August 2000, Slim-Fast (voluntarily) recalled more than two million milk-based shakes, saying they may present a low risk of temporary gastrointestinal sickness and should not be consumed. The shakes were being pulled off supermarket shelves due to a "manufacturing problem".|
|ADES (soy-based drinks)|
|soups - sauces|
|LIPTON soups and sauces|
|RAGU pasta sauce|
|margarine - vegetable oil - butter - spreads|
|BLUE BONNET BLUE BAND (sauces and soups)|
|Rama is world's most known brand of maragarine.|
|BEST FOODS (mayonnaise)|
|CREME BONJOUR (Sweden, Finland)|
|SKIPPY peanut butter|
|The Heartbrand companies (ice cream): ALGIDA (Greece/Hungary/Italy/Poland/Turkey) ESKIMO (Austria/Czech Republic) FRIGO (Spain) FRISKO (Denmark) GB GLACE (Sweden/Finland) GOOD HUMOR (USA) HB (Ireland) LAGNESE (Germany) LUSSO (Switzerland) MIKO (France) OLA (Belgium/Netherlands/Portugal/South Africa) WALL'S (Great Britain and parts of Asia)|
|LIPTON TEA Lipton, world's biggest tea brand.|
|OMO (Persil): Unilever’s international-brand washing powder. Omo is a blue detergent powder launched in 1954, and became the Unilever spearhead in the synthetic detergent market. New Blue Star Omo was introduced at the end of March 1963. Today, Unilever is aggressively promoting Omo all over Asia and Africa, packaged in quantities down to 35 gram. Other washing powder brands of UNILEVER are: Persil, Skip, Sunlight, Sun, Vim and Surf.|
|skin care - deodorants|
|FAIR & LOVELY: Unilever’s subsidiary based in India, Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL) markets Fair & Lovely Skin Cream and Lotion, the largest selling Skin Care Product in India; a brand developed in India, and now exported to over 30 countries. Fair & Lovely is being promoted as a "fairness face cream" that will lighten your dark skin. Through their advertisements, Hindustan Lever spreads the message that a light skin is better than a dark skin. This type of advertisement promotes racism. It sends out the message that dark-skinned people are inferior.|