man in Ghana using mobile phone making digital payment at farmers market

Unilever raises the bar on private sector leadership to achieve the SDGs through digital payments

September 20, 2017

In a significant step towards integrating social benefits into business strategy, the UN-based Better Than Cash Alliance announced its newest member: Unilever.

The consumer goods company committed to transition away from cash throughout its value chain, recognizing the vital role digital payments play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by advancing transparency, as well as creating economic opportunities for women, small retailers and farmers.

Within its Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever is working on positively impacting the lives of 5.5 million people by 2020, including providing opportunities like digital finance to increase income of farmers, retailers and workers across the value chain.


“Through our suppliers, we source from more than 1.5 million smallholder farmers, and we use the same number of small-scale retailers to sell our products. Digital payments provide us with the opportunity to advance transparency, and create economic opportunities for our farmers and retailers. This is exactly the type of transformative change needed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, and why we are joining the Better than Cash Alliance,” said Jeff Seabright, Chief Sustainability Officer of Unilever.

Unilever’s membership was announced at Goalkeepers 2017, an event organized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to recognize leaders and influencers making progress toward achieving the Global Goals. This year, the Better Than Cash Alliance is featured as a Goalkeeper accelerator for its significant work advancing Digital Financial Inclusion for All. The Alliance brings together over 60 governments, companies and international organizations around a common agenda for action to create a digital economy where everyone can make and receive payments digitally. By becoming a member of the Better Than Cash Alliance, Unilever joins H&M, the Coca-Cola Company and Grupo Bimbo as private sector members, highlighting the importance of engaging both the public and private sectors to build inclusive digital payment ecosystems.

To learn more about how technology and digital financial inclusion play a role in meeting the SDGs, visit the Goalkeepers website. We encourage other companies, governments and international organizations interested in learning more about how to join us to reach out to btca@uncdf.org.