Food & Beverage

Unilever eyeing global hub in PH


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British consumer goods manufacturer Unilever plans to set up a global shared services center in the Philippines to support the company’s expansion in the country.

“We have shared services in other countries. We’ve considered doing this in the Philippines but we have to see if there’s a good thing going for us here before we make any commitments,” Unilever chief executive Paul Polman said in a briefing at the company’s Philippine headquarters in Paco, Manila.

The global shared services center will handle all jobs within the company such as accounting, human resources, payroll, legal, IT, compliance, purchasing and security.

Polman met with President Benigno Aquino III Friday at Malacañang Palace in Manila to affirm the company’s commitment to support the inclusive business agenda of the government.

Polman, who is known for his advocacy on sustainable and inclusive growth, also committed  to create opportunities for at least 30,000 Filipino farmers engaged in the coconut sector. 

He said Unilever’s sustainable living plan was aligned with the Philippines government’s agenda.  Unilever was chosen as a candidate for the Inclusive Business initiative of the Board of Investments and the Asian Development Bank for its $120-million manufacturing expansion program that seeks to obtain as much as 100 percent of raw ingredients for food products from the local market.

Unilever said its local sourcing of ingredients for food line-up was a part of the company’s $120 million expansion dubbed as “Unilever sustainable living plan” that was approved for incentives on pioneer status in 2014 by the Trade Department.

The expansion project aims to increase production capacities and capabilities across all product categories.

Unilever currently manufactures 85 percent of its product line-up line up in the Philippines with local materials accounting a significantly high ratio from imported ingredients.

“Our Unilever sustainable living plan is really an expression of the business model of the future where only businesses that create a positive social impact will prosper. We need private, public and civic sectors to collaborate as the major challenges the world faces need all of us to join with a common purpose,” Polman said.

Unilever draws a major part of their turnover from emerging markets and considers the Philippines as an important market due to its strong consumption story.

Polman said the company was expected to grow as a part, if not ahead of the Philippines’ strong and sustained GDP growth.

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