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Updated: July 7, 2012 22:57 IST

HUL places thrust on innovation

Ramnath Subbu
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Nitin Paranjpe
The Hindu Nitin Paranjpe

Sustainability is at the heart of our business, says Paranjpe

Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUL) has been increasing focus on innovation and innovative products with an eye on meeting goals set by Anglo-Dutch parent Unilever’s Global Sustainable Living plan.

“For us, sustainability has always been integral to our way of doing business, and the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan puts sustainability at the heart of our business,” said HUL CEO & MD Nitin Paranjpe in a recent interaction with The Hindu.

The plan, put in place by Unilever plc in November 2010, is looking to achieve three significant outcomes by 2020 — help more than a billion people to improve their health and well-being, halve the environmental footprint of its products and source 100 per cent of its agricultural raw materials sustainably.

Towards these objectives, HUL has stepped up its intensity on innovation. “Most people de-code innovation with spend. But innovation is a combination of science which backs it and consumer insight which guides it. Insight must guide where we innovate and what we do and science must support it with differentiated offerings. Almost 60 per cent of HUL’s portfolio was touched by innovation in the last 12 months,” said Mr. Paranjpe.

HUL is test-marketing an after-wash laundry brand ‘Magic’ liquid in Andhra Pradesh. Used to rinse clothes, HUL claims it can reduce water usage by two-thirds. Magic is the first product to have emerged from India as a part of the Global Sustainable Living plan. In other markets, Unilever plc has launched a dry shampoo that does not need water and a conditioner that does not need to be washed off. “The plan opens up new business opportunities by catalysing innovation. This sort of thing is good for our business, the environment and the consumer also benefits,” said Mr. Paranjpe. “I would like every brand to find a space which is great for growth, consumer, environment and society. We need to find more such models. That will be the ‘sweet spot’ in which companies will require to operate going forward. That is the heart of our Sustainable Living Plan and we believe that it will be a source of competitive advantage for us.”


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