FDI and Unilever – Towards a sustainable improvement of oral health

April 26, 2013

unilever-chart-contextUnder the invitation of Paul Polman, Unilever CEO, I participated at a roundtable event in London to discuss the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

The roundtable focused on five themes: Sustainable Business Models, Improving Livelihoods, Health and Hygiene, Sustainable Sourcing and Sustainable Consumption & Marketing.

I joined the discussion on Health & Wellbeing hosted by Dave Lewis, President Personal Care. I was asked to share my views in three key areas:

  1. How do we accelerate progress on affordable public health interventions to reduce levels of diarrhea and malnutrition, and to increase access to basic sanitation and safe drinking water?
  2. We all feel businesses, NGOs and governments should be working together to deliver greater scale impact. Yet successful examples are not as numerous as you might expect. Why is this? What is holding us back?
  3. Given Unilever’s footprint in certain geographies, are there other areas of public health concern where you believe we have the opportunity to make a positive impact?

It was a challenging to accept this invitation which I enjoyed very much. I hope that my inputs to the discussion will help Unilever to make progress towards becoming a sustainable business.

From the Unilever report:

“We continue to work in a global partnership with the FDI World Dental Federation. In 2012, 28 local oral health promotion projects with national dental associations focused on communicating the importance of twice-daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste through dental practices, schools, hospitals and communities across 25 countries. We are evaluating the impact on over 28,000 people involved in these programmes around the world. A new campaign in 2013 is designed to address parents as the primary target to encourage behaviour change.”


I would like to thank Marie-Anne Aymerich (Unilever senior vice president for oral care) and Analia Mendez (Unilever global director of health programmes and partnerships for oral care and household care categories), and Unilever team with whom we had several meetings and a farewell dinner with a view (below) to the Unilever headoffice in London.