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 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 [email protected]
The Open Innovation site can be found at: http://www.unilever.com/innovation/collaborating-with-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 €46.5 billion in 2011.
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 €1 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 Plan.
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 http://www.unilever.com.
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 €1bn.