UNILEVER and DBSA join hands to build sustainable communities

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					UNILEVER AND DEVELOPMENT BANK JOIN HANDS TO BUILD
SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES

Durban, Wednesday 16 May 2007

An innovative partnership in the fight against poverty has been launched jointly
by Consumer Goods company, Unilever and the Development Bank of Southern
Africa (DSBA) to promote sustainable development in communities.


Today, Wednesday, 16 May 2007, the two partners signed a Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) which formalises their agreement to work together to
maximise the development impacts of Unilever’s Reach the People Campaign as
part of DBSA’s Sustainable Communities Programme.


According to Gwede Mantashe, Executive Manager: Strategic Operations at the
DBSA, the initial scope of the MoU will focus on identifying and implementing a
range of short, medium and long-term projects which aim to provide lower LSM
(Living Standard Measure) communities, particularly in the rural areas, with
business and income-generating opportunities. This includes establishing
community-owned and run packaging, distribution and sales infrastructure that
could be supported by and contracted to Unilever and its business partners.


In terms of the agreement, DBSA will assist Unilever in developing and
implementing the various projects by making funding available, and by
integrating Unilever’s Reach the People Campaign with its Sustainable
Communities Programme. This will allow Unilever to leverage on the
relationships DBSA already has in place at local government and community
level. The Bank will also assist in obtaining and managing community support
through its established, structured community and stakeholder management
strategy.


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Gail Klintworth, Chairman of Unilever, said the company’s involvement in the
project was aimed at making it possible for those communities which would
otherwise not have been able to engage in business activities to receive financial
and project management expertise and thereby empower themselves.


“Unilever brings a deep understanding of consumers and their needs, conceptual
development of new business ideas relevant for community development, and
business skills, knowledge and training opportunities to the partnership.


“We are excited at the new opportunities that this partnership will bring to help
build successful communities.”


Mantashe added, “DBSA strongly believes that development is created through
cooperation with others and that by working together, we can produce real,
tangible development impacts that make a meaningful difference in the lives of all
South Africans.


“Our partnership with Unilever is testimony to this belief and we are confident that
by pooling our resources and sharing knowledge and expertise, we can make
Unilever’s products and services accessible to a greater number of South
Africans while at the same time, ensuring that benefits of the manufacture,
distribution and sale of Unilever’s products are transferred to communities
through sustainable enterprise development initiatives.”


Klintworth concluded that the economic development plan would also give true
meaning to Unilever’s mission which is to add Vitality to life.


“Vitality is at the heart of everything we do. It's in our brands that help people look
good, feel good and get more out of life; it’s in our people and our values. Our job
is to help improve the quality of life of all South Africans and in so doing grow our
business.
“Our culture also embodies Vitality. Adding Vitality of life requires the highest
standards of behaviour towards everyone we work with, the communities we
touch and the environments on which we have an impact.”


Ends




About DBSA’s Sustainable Communities Programme
Sustainable development can be defined in terms of the “triple bottom line” of
economic development, enhancing social being and maintaining environmental
integrity and biodiversity. The approach is founded in the principle that people
are at the centre of the development effort. A brief description of each
component would be:

1.     Economic development as increasing the opportunities for people to
       enhance their quality of life by participation in the production and
       consumption processes of the economy. Development of the economy
       and specifically economic growth provide necessary, but not sufficient,
       conditions for economic development of the people. Certainly, the focus
       needs to be on inclusion of the marginalized and empowerment of the
       poor. “Economic justice” in terms of levels of participation in- and
       ownership of the economy are paramount.

2.     Social well-being as a person’s sense of belonging and leading a useful
       life. The complexities of social exclusion and limitations placed on people
       to “become the best they could be” by continuing deprivation of life skills,
       education and other social support mechanisms need to be addressed.

3.     Environmentally integrity is not about conservation per se, but use of the
       environment and its resources in a way that enhances the quality of life of
       the current generation without compromising the same for future
       generations.

This definition underpins the core values of the DBSA and reflects on the DBSA
vision of “An empowered and integrated Region, free of poverty, inequity and
dependency” and offers an opportunity for the DBSA to maximize our
contribution towards development by providing finance, expertise and using
partnerships to improve the quality of life of the people in a demonstrable way.

				
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