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You won’t believe what students can do with our products

Unilever Turkey has come up with a novel way of spreading our sustainability message by extending a successful initiative into universities.

Competition proves to be triple win

We funded four groups of university students to design and build a campus shop, then got them to compete against each other to sell as many of our sustainable living brands as they could. This proved a triple win. We promoted our sustainability agenda and employer brand to thousands of students. The students gained experience tackling a real-life business challenge. And the universities were given all profits from the stores to put towards a scholarship fund.

It all started with Green Points

The idea began with our Green Point initiative, set up with WWF in 2012 to decrease our environmental footprint among our customers and distributors. The initiative is a collaboration that aims to save energy, manage waste and educate consumers. It is also about cutting the use of non-recyclable shopping bags: a huge problem in Turkey and a big expense for supermarkets.

Murat Derindere, National Account Manager, Customer Development, explains: “Sustainable consumption is a growing trend for shoppers in Turkey. People are more aware of how their choices impact the world, and they are demanding responsible retailers and brands. Through this initiative, we are helping make sustainable living commonplace.”

Getting students involved

We then extended the Green Point concept to an inter-university competition in which groups of students were tasked with designing and building a campus store. Teams from four universities battled it out to be named overall winner, judged on the sustainability of their store design – including aspects such as energy use, waste management and construction materials – as well as the highest sales and most creative product promotion.

With €2,300 for construction, promotion and stock allowance, each team was given access to a portfolio of products – Lipton tea, Knorr soup, Dove soap, Omo washing liquid, Domestos bleach and Rexona deodorant – which they could select according to their shopper profile and sales strategy. They were also mentored by members of our Customer Development function who gave advice in areas such as creative promotion, sustainability solutions and budget management.

The winning team – from Istanbul’s Ozyegin University – was invited to our company headquarters in London to present their project and each member was offered an internship. Next year, the team plans to open up the competition to more universities.

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