Unilever is a British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company. Its products include food, beverages, cleaning agents, and personal care products. It is the world’s third largest consumer goods company measured by 2011 revenues (after Procter & Gamble and Nestle) and the world’s largest maker of ice cream.
Unilever is a dual-listed company consisting of Unilever N.V. in Rotterdam, Netherlands and Unilever PLC in London, United Kingdom.
Unilever was founded on the 1st of January 1930 by Antonius Johannes Jurgens (whose grandfather was the founder of butter 1867), Samuel van den Bergh (a primary European margarine and soap manufacturer of the 20th century), and William Hulme Lever, 2nd Viscount Leverhulme (son of William Hesketh Lever, co-founder of Lever Brothers).
This was an amalgation of the operations of British soapmakers Lever Brothers and Dutch margarine producer Margarine Unie. Palm oil was the major raw material for both margarine and soaps, making the decision to merge that much more profitable for both parties.
William Hulme Lever, 2nd Viscount Leverhulme inherited his father’s company Lever Brothers, a company known for being an advocate for expansion of the British Empire, particularly in Africa and Asia, and for ravaging the Belgian Congo, implementing racism, forced labor, and accounting for more deaths than the Nazi Holocaust.
The Belgian Congo provided cheap labor and palm oil concessions, the key ingredient in the Lever Brothers product line.
Today, Unilever has acquired numerous companies in the food, beverage, and personal care industries with companies and operating factories in every continent except Antarctica. Unilever also has several research laboratories.
Palm oil is an ingredient in almost all processed foods (convenience food that provides little to no nutritional value) and has been documented to cause substantial and irreversible damage to the natural environment (deforestation, habitat loss of critically endangered species, the Orangutan and Sumatran Tiger, and significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions). Palm oil is also used in the creation of biodiesel.
Unilever carries countless common and recognizable brands. Current brands include:
• Ben & Jerry’s
• Blue Band
• Heartbrand (SlimFast, Starbucks, Klondike, Popsicle, Ocean Spray)
• Toni & Guy
• VO5 (Nexxus, Soft & Beautiful, Just For Me, Motions, TCB, Sally Beauty Supply)
Many of these products include palm oil and countless other harmful chemicals and substances.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest cites excessive intake of palmitic acid (the major saturated fatty acid in palm oil) as a culprit in heart disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and other health authorities have urged reduced consumption of palm oil. According to WHO, palm oil also contributes to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Other harmful chemicals in Unilever products include:
– Sodium Laureth Sulfate
– Hydrofluorocarbon 152A
– Disodium EDTA
Recently a class action law suit was filed in Los Angeles, CA. against Unilever for the Suave’s Professional Keratin Infusion 30 Day Smoothing Kit. This product was found to contain Tetrasodium EDTA and DMDH Hydantoin, a form of Formaldehyde, a human carcinogen known for causing cancer.
Unilever has since discontinued the selling of this product.
There are other alternatives to using these products. By searching online, you can find natural and organic products not associated with Unilever and that do not contain harmful substances. You can even make a lot of your own household and beauty products right at home easily, using basic ingredients that prove to be cheaper than buying the products themselves, and last longer.
Gorgeously Green is a fantastic Youtube channel that shows step by step how you can make your own organic products right at home. You can make anything from natural hand sanitizers to geranium almond face cream.
*** All of the information provided in this article can be found easily by searching online. The information is there, it’s up to you to take an interest in your health and research the ingredients of the products you use and love. What you find may surprise you!
Written by: Karen Browne
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