Unilever gets vaccine partnership offers as it plots worker safety strategy

By Martinne Geller LONDON (Reuters) - Unilever is strongly encouraging employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus as soon as possible and floated the idea that it could buy shots to share with people in poorer countries. 'There are one or two countries in the developing world, where the public purse is not so strong and they have approached us on a 'buy two, keep one' basis,' Unilever Chief Executive Alan Jope told Reuters on Wednesday in an interview at the Reuters Next conference.

Reuters January 14, 2021 02:05:41 IST
Unilever gets vaccine partnership offers as it plots worker safety strategy

Unilever gets vaccine partnership offers as it plots worker safety strategy

By Martinne Geller

LONDON (Reuters) - Unilever is strongly encouraging employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus as soon as possible and floated the idea that it could buy shots to share with people in poorer countries.

"There are one or two countries in the developing world, where the public purse is not so strong and they have approached us on a "buy two, keep one" basis," Unilever Chief Executive Alan Jope told Reuters on Wednesday in an interview at the Reuters Next conference.

"So imagine in a country where we purchase 200,000 vaccine doses, we donate 100,000 to public efforts and we use the rest for our employees and their families."

He did not give further details. Emerging markets contribute about 60% of Unilever’s revenue.

Costing as much as $19.50 per dose, 200,000 doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech could cost nearly $4 million.

More broadly, Unilever is "strongly encouraging" its workers to get the vaccine as soon as it is available to them.

"We want to make sure that vaccine hesitancy is not alive and well in Unilever," Jope said.

Jope, whose company is one of Britain's biggest, said that the maker of Dove soap, Lipton tea and Ben & Jerry's ice cream would do what it can to make vaccines available to its workers, but "in a very principled way."

"I don't want any of my employees to be jumping the queue on frontline medical workers or vulnerable people," he said.

For employees who decline the vaccine, rapid testing could be used to keep workplaces safe.

"We will not be mandating vaccines for anyone. We don't believe that is right," he said.

Unilever's office workers will be largely working from home during the current first quarter and then moving to a hybrid model where workers split their time between the office and home.

"We anticipate never going back to five days a week in the office, that seems very old-fashioned now," Jope said.

Unilever is testing a four-day work week this year in New Zealand. The company said it was giving the trial a year before assessing it.

For more coverage from the Reuters Next conference please click here or www.reuters.com/business/reuters-next

To watch Reuters Next live, visit https://www.reutersevents.com/events/next/register.php

(Additional reporting by Keith Weir in London and Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru, Editing by Nick Zieminski)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Republicans face growing corporate backlash after Capitol assault
World

Republicans face growing corporate backlash after Capitol assault

By Andy Sullivan and David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. Congress faced growing blowback on Monday from businesses that said they would cut off campaign contributions to those who voted last week to challenge President-elect Joe Biden's victory. The announcements by Dow Inc., AT&T Inc.

Guardians of Congo's gorillas unbowed as ambushed colleague is buried
World

Guardians of Congo's gorillas unbowed as ambushed colleague is buried

By Djaffar Al Katanty GOMA, Congo (Reuters) - A line of Congolese park rangers raised their guns in salute on Monday as the coffin bearing their colleague Burhani Abdou Surumwe, a 30-year-old father of four, was buried in the black volcanic soil of a Muslim cemetery outside Goma.

COVID-19 fuelling education's tech disruption, deepening digital divide
World

COVID-19 fuelling education's tech disruption, deepening digital divide

TORONTO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - The COVID-19 pandemic deepened inequities in accessing and benefiting from education but the future of learning could be a more equal one, participants told Reuters Next panels on Monday.