Castlefield co-files resolution with ShareAction calling for increased Unilever healthy food sales

Castlefield, along with an international group of institutional investors and over 100 retail investors, has co-filed a health-related shareholder resolution to be voted on at Unilever’s AGM.

The resolution, organised by ShareAction and the Healthy Markets Initiative aims to encourage the company to adopt ambitious targets to increase the share of healthy foods in its sales and asks Unilever to consider a number of specific actions. These include:

  • Disclosing the proportion of total food and drink annual sales by volume and revenue made up of healthier products, globally and disaggregated for major markets;
  • Using government-endorsed nutrient profiling models to define healthier products (i.e. UK Food Standards Agency, Nutri-Score and Australian/New Zealand Health Star Rating);
  • Setting and publishing targets to significantly increase those sales by 2030;
  • Publishing an annual review of progress on delivering the abovementioned strategy.

Through this resolution, we hope to bring awareness to the rising investor expectations on the vital role that major food manufacturers like Unilever can play in supporting healthy eating. In line with best practice in the sector, food manufacturers are being asked to publish comprehensive strategies to increase their sales and production of healthier food and drink products.

Chief Executive at Unilever, Alan Jope, recently stated that his goal is “to prove incontrovertibly that sustainable business does drive superior financial performance”.

Ignacio Vazquez, Senior Manager of Healthy Markets at ShareAction, said: “Unilever has long been a sustainability leader. Some even criticise it for being too focussed on ESG. Yet the health profile of the food and drink products it sells remains a blind spot. This is surprising, as the rapid growth of regulation means that health is a critical ESG issue presenting a real financial threat to its business.

“By voicing their support for this resolution, Unilever’s investors can help to drive change at the heart of one of the biggest foods and drink manufacturers in the world while also shielding themselves from regulatory and reputational risks.”

Unilever is widely seen as a leader in sustainable business. It aims to achieve net zero emissions in its supply chain by 2039 and to ensure all workers supplying the company receive a living wage by 2030.