Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), India’s largest FMCG company with a heritage of over 75 years in India chooses social media to drive its movement towards sustainable living. With over 35 brands in its portfolio like Lux, Sunsilk, Surf Excel, Dove among others, the company had embarked on an ambitious journey towards sustainable growth – the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan in 2010, wherein each of these brands would work towards reducing their environmental footprint and increasing positive social impact.
On the road to sustainable living, HUL is picking and showcasing individual stories that have made a big difference through their small actions of social change. Named as the Do-Gooders initiative, here is the story of HUL employee, Bhupesh Gouniyal who cleans the streets outside his Mumbai neighbourhood. Based on the belief that cleanliness begins at home and then extends outside, he inspires by example.
Involving consumers through social media
This and four more stories like this on planting trees, composting kitchen waste and repairing leaking taps to save water form the Do-gooders team of people inspiring good. Stories of their social change are being driven beautifully through the HUL Facebook page. Beginning this May with sharing the progress of the sustainability drive, the page then began building a platform for the community of Do-Gooders. Videos of the Do-gooders describing what drives them, why they started and the change brought about by the good they’ve been spreading, were then shared on the page.
The Facebook page is also encouraging its 1.4 million strong fan base to participate in this initiative towards a greener planet. Fans have been invited to share their ideas to save water, for better waste disposal and other issues that are taking a toll on the planet. HUL is also inviting ideas for saving water in daily activities like brushing your teeth, washing clothes or shampooing your hair. The Facebook pages of each of the HUL sub-brands are also adding their bit to the movement and involving their fan base that is close to millions each.
For an FMCG major with sub-brands in 20 distinct categories ranging from soaps, detergents, shampoos, skin care, toothpastes, deodorants, cosmetics, tea, coffee, packaged foods, ice cream, and water purifiers, a sustainability drive is sure to create a deep impact on the planet. It is interesting to note how social media is being blended to multiply the impact. The most recent one was by Lifebuoy, the soap brand that created quite an impact with its film ‘Help a child reach 5’. It highlighted the disturbing truth about children not surviving till age 5, due to unhygienic handwashing behaviour and asked us to pledge our support to promote handwashing education.
HUL’s sustainability endeavours coupled with community involvement through social media and the Do-gooders initiative has certainly taken it beyond positive brand building.