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Lifebuoy production returns to Australia as Unilever switches focus to sanitisers

Unilever’s Australian deodorant production facilities are being redirected to produce Lifebuoy aerosol hand sanitiser to meet the surge in demand for hygiene products during the COVID-19 outbreak.

After ceasing production of Lifebuoy locally over seven years ago, the 150ml alcohol-based hand sanitiser will now be manufactured in NSW and will hit supermarket shelves by the end of May.

Lifebuoy is considered the world’s leading health soap and runs one of the world’s largest handwashing behaviour change programmes in the world.

Recently appointed CEO of Unilever Australia & New Zealand, Nicky Sparshott, said the company has a long history of contributing to personal hygiene and has an obligation to take action under the current circumstances.

“We believe we have a social, medical, and moral obligation to make hand
hygiene readily available. That’s why we’re responding to Government calls to action to increase supply of essential products by rapidly innovating and re-directing some of our Australian manufacturing,” Sparshott said on Monday.

“We’ll continue to monitor the market closely and ensure we have the agility to respond as best as we can to what our consumers are looking for. Our ability to re-direct production capacity so quickly to introduce a completely new brand to our lines is testament to this agility and I’m really proud of what the team has been able to deliver.”

Unilever ANZ will donate $1 million worth of Lifebuoy sanitiser to Australian charity Foodbank, along with $1 million worth of essential homecare, personal care and food products such as Comfort, Sunsilk, Love Beauty and Planet, Simple and Continental.

“Foodbank has seen a 50 per cent increase in demand for food and grocery relief due to job loss and small business closures across the country and donations such as food, personal care and cleaning products are critical,” Brianna Casey, CEO of Foodbank Australia said.

The FMCG giant has also contributed funds to help Foodbank’s NSW & ACT branches with contingency staff costs, following a reduction in volunteer number as a result of social distancing measures.

The consumer goods giant also recently partnered with online marketplace Yume, to support food service distributors to sell excess stock as a result of COVID-19 cancellations.

“At Unilever, we have a firm belief that business must make a positive contribution in addressing the challenges the world faces, and this has never been more pertinent than right now. Our longstanding heritage in serving the community has enabled us to act quickly at a time of need and it has been inspiring to see what the power of collective action can achieve in the face of such unprecedented challenges,” Sparshott added.

Sparshott took up the CEO role this month following the retirement of Clive Stiff. She also continues to lead the T2 business as global T2 CEO.

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