British firm Unilever PLC, one of the world’s largest fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies, has reaffirmed its belief in the Philippines as an attractive manufacturing hub by investing Php4.8 billion thru its Philippine subsidiary, Unilever Phils. Inc. (UPI) in putting up a new plant in Gateway Business Park, General Trias, Cavite.
“We expressed to President Marcos our long-term commitment to sustainable and responsible growth in the country and we are optimistic that our new Php4.8 billion investment in a future-fit personal care factory in Cavite will contribute to the Philippine manufacturing sector’s competitiveness as we employ highly advanced technologies, with the potential to qualify the facility for the World Economic Forum’s ‘Advanced Fourth Industrial Revolution Lighthouse’,” said Benjie Yap, Unilever Philippines Chairman.
Trade Undersecretary and Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo meanwhile said the manufacturing expansion plan of UPI further amplifies the company’s vision to be one of the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) that has retained its manufacturing base here in the Philippines while upgrading its manufacturing operations to become a world-class leader in the production of personal care products. “Unilever’s investment is in line with Philippines vision to be a hub for sustainable manufacturing products powered by renewable energy,” he said.
Unilever’s expansion plan involves the manufacturing of personal care products which includes hair care and skin care products as well as deodorants. The BOI recently approved the plan with an annual capacity of 88,000 tons. It will employ up to 130 people. Commercial operations are expected to begin this December 2022 with the formal inauguration of the plant expected in the first quarter of 2023.
The company, with global revenues of around US$60 billion annually, has recognized the need for comprehensive solutions to address plastic pollution in the country. As one of the leading consumer goods companies, it has already introduced initiatives to spur community action toward reducing plastic pollution by advocating zero-waste management which is focused mainly on plastic packaging waste utilization. It has a community-based sachet recovery program, along with office and factory solid waste management programs, packaging innovations, as well as collaboration with industry coalitions. Unilever has pledged to have all of its packaging reusable, recyclable, and compostable by 2025.
Originally, the company’s personal care products are being produced in its Manila plant specifically in Paco, Manila. With the development in Manila shifting towards commercial and residential use and considering its limited area, the Manila plant will be closed and UPI will have a new, bigger, and more technologically advanced plant in Cavite, with additional 15% production capacity. Ninety five percent (95%) of ALL Unilever’s products in the domestic market is made in the Philippines.
The Cavite plant utilizes modern technology equipment and facilities to complement the company’s capabilities and digitization opportunities for its manufacturing operations. An automated manufacturing system for personal care products would further improve and enhance Unilever’s production efficiency rate, leading to faster and larger production capacities for their products as they have adapted criterion 3 which manufactures or processes products utilizing new technology and/or world-class design.
UPI has said that the new plant is expected to become one of Unilever PLC’s biggest Personal Care factories globally with 15 percent more capacity than its existing plant. Moreover, the new plant has the potential to be Unilever’s hub for manufacturing technology and be recognized by the World Economic Forum as an ‘Advanced Fourth Industrial Revolution Lighthouse.”
With the Cavite plant in place, UPI will allot 90 percent for the domestic market with the remaining 10 percent for export to other markets in Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. (END)