27 years of Unilever care-for-people initiatives in Vietnam

In 1995, when Unilever entered Vietnam, the country had barely opened its economy to the world. Over the past 27 years, Unilever’s business strategies in Vietnam have focused on more than just market penetration.

Unilever’s presence has helped the economy and improved people’s health and quality of life through awareness and direct support through personal care products.

The primary goal of Unilever’s sustainability initiatives in Vietnam and around the world is to demonstrate how improving people’s health can lead to better performance.

Every healthy individual is considered to support a healthy community and economic prosperity.

Brushing teeth with P/S has become a daily oral care habit among Vietnamese people over the past decades. Photo by P/S

Nationwide impact

Through its goods and services, Unilever has improved Vietnamese consumers’ understanding of health and hygiene.

“The ‘For a Healthier Vietnam’ campaign exemplifies Unilever’s compass, which combines the company’s business strategy with its commitment to improving the health of the world and the lives of those we serve,” noted Garcia.

Unilever’s personal care president emphasizes the strategy, which involves long-term partnerships, for these personal care programs to have a national impact.

For many years, Unilever Vietnam has worked closely with the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Health.

Since 2007, the “For a Healthier Vietnam” program, run in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Training, has helped more than 22 million people through a variety of social activities through its helpful brands.

Since its inception in 1998, the “P/S-Protect Vietnamese Smiles” program has educated 25 million students, reached 10 million people through communication campaigns and organized free dental examinations for more than seven million children.

The “Lifebuoy – Washing Hands with Soap for a Healthier Vietnam” program has helped 35 million people nationwide develop the habit of handwashing with soap through education, communication and the provision of free soap.

Since 2012, the “Green-Clean-Healthy School” program has been working to improve school facilities while raising students’ awareness of cleanliness and health.

The program has helped build 445 safe playgrounds for children; upgraded and built 1,000 clean toilets in 762 primary schools; provided dental care to 617,000 students; and educated 7.2 million students nationwide on proper handwashing habits.

During Covid-19, Unilever’s “Stay Strong Vietnam” initiative launched a national communication campaign on personal cleanliness and Covid-19 prevention to the community, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health to reach nearly 750 million people through the media.

More than 2.6 million people in Vietnam received 2.5 million sanitary products from Unilever Vietnam and its brands.

Product support to millions of people nationwide to fight Covid-19.  Photo by P/S

National P/S product support helped fight Covid-19. Photo by P/S

Next trip to Vietnam

According to Garcia, as the country expands and develops, Unilever is working to find ways to facilitate even greater impact.

The company recently signed a collaboration agreement with the Vietnam Association of Odonto-Stomatology (VOSA) to conduct collaborative communications and oral hygiene education, provide millions of people with better dental care and encourage more scientific research for dentistry in Vietnam.

This will help VOSA achieve its goal of increasing the number of dentists in the country.

P/S and Unilever Vietnam will sign a strategic partnership with VOSA.  Photo by P/S

P/S and Unilever Vietnam sign a strategic partnership with VOSA. Photo by P/S

The company also uses technology to help reach more people. The “Green-Clean-Healthy School” initiative is already online. The program is now accessible digitally, so more schools can use the training materials. The program will still be physically available in schools.

More people will have access to dental care across Vietnam through the free digital oral consultation provided by the tele-dentist hotline of the “P/S-Protection of Vietnamese Smiles” program. As a result, national brands such as Lifebuoy and P/S can reach even more consumers.

“Building a common understanding of the development mindset among businesses and communities has taken a decade. Long-term dedication to ‘For a Healthier Vietnam’ efforts will continue to be a key part of Unilever’s business going forward, Garcia said.

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