Hindustan Unilever (HUL), country’s largest consumer goods company, on Friday said it had committed Rs 100 crore to fight the COVID-19 epidemic in India.
It has also taken a host of other measures such as price cuts, free availability of soaps to the needy, a Rs 10-crore donation for better testing facilities, and public awareness programmes.
Sanjiv Mehta, chairman and managing director of HUL, said: “In a crisis like this, companies have a big role to play. We are working closely with the government and our partners to ensure that we overcome this health crisis together.”
The company was reducing the price of Lifebuoy hand sanitisers and hand wash, apart from Domex floor cleaners by 15 per cent. “We are commencing production of these reduced priced products immediately and these will be available in the market in the next few weeks,” the company said in a statement.
It would also scale up production of hand sanitisers, hand wash, and floor cleaners over the next few weeks, the company said, to improve reach of these items.
The announcement, however, acquires significance since earlier this week the company had faced online backlash over price hikes in its soaps portfolio.
The company had clarified that the price hikes were undertaken in January before the coronavirus outbreak in India.
On Friday, HUL indicated that it would donate two crore pieces of Lifebuoy soap in the next few months to poor sections of society. The firm also said it would donate Rs 10 crore to upgrade the health care facilities in testing centres and hospitals across the country. It would also partner medical institutions that were providing testing and care facilities to the affected people.
The public awareness programmes about protective measures would be undertaken on a large scale to drive home the message of social distancing and hygiene, HUL said, which was critical to fight the virus.