July 1, 2021 – As a company committed to building a more equitable and inclusive society, Unilever wants to set a thoughtful and positive precedent for working with college athletes as the ability to monetize college athletes’ name, image and likeness (NIL) goes into effect on July 1, 2021.
One of the key pillars of Unilever’s sustainable business strategy is to contribute to a fairer, more socially inclusive world. Unilever’s approach to working with college athletes will underscore this strategy to highlight purpose-led initiatives, amplify athlete stories and experiences, and provide equal compensation to both men’s and women’s athletes in aggregate.
“This moment represents a tremendous opportunity to set the precedent for working with college athletes in a meaningful and thoughtful way,” said Rob Master, VP of Media and Digital Engagement at Unilever NA. “It’s not just about the star players or top draft picks – we want to amplify the voices and stories of athletes across the spectrum of college sports who have dedicated their lives to their sport and inspired others through their stories.”
The power of movement
As part of Degree’s long-term commitment to help millions of young people transform their lives through the power of movement, Degree has committed more than $5 million over the next five years to inspire more people to move beyond their limits – the Breaking Limits program. The initiative supports those who face the biggest barriers to being active and provides them access to coaches and mentors, along with safe spaces to move. The Breaking Limits team featuring college athletes announced today represents one element of this commitment.
The Degree “Breaking Limits” team will spotlight a diverse group of college athletes from a range of sports, who are inspiring people to break limits every day. Degree will unveil the Breaking Limits team of college athletes on its Instagram page. Degree will be adding more athletes to the Breaking Limits roster throughout the year.
“Our Degree team strongly believes that movement has the power to unlock physical, mental and social benefits that can transform lives, and being able to work with extraordinary college athletes who embody this every day is something Degree and Unilever are thrilled to celebrate,” said Chiara Grillo, Senior Marketing Manager, Degree. “We now have an opportunity to further champion the stories of how college athletes have overcome personal and societal challenges and how they encourage others to keep moving to break their own limits.”
The brand will celebrate college athletes through a number of programs including funding local community projects (i.e. recreation centers, youth organizations) and content partnerships.
To contract with college athletes in a compliant manner that adheres to NIL rules and regulations governed by state law and NCAA guidelines, Unilever is working with Opendorse, the industry-leading athlete marketing platform. Opendorse, which has empowered thousands of professional athletes to receive and activate endorsement deals for over eight years, provides a compliant marketplace for brands and fans to browse thousands of athletes to book and manage NIL activities from pitch to payment in minutes, not months.
About Unilever North America
Unilever is one of the world's leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 2.5 billion people every day. We have 149,000 employees and generated sales of €50.7 billion in 2020. Over half of our footprint is in developing and emerging markets. We have around 400 brands found in homes all over the world. In the United States and Canada, the portfolio includes iconic brand such as: Dove, Knorr, Hellmann's, Lipton, Magnum, Axe, Ben & Jerry's, Degree, Dollar Shave Club, Q-tips, Seventh Generation, St. Ives, Suave, TRESemmé, and Vaseline.
Our vision is to be the global leader in sustainable business and to demonstrate how our purpose-led, future-fit business model drives superior performance. We have a long tradition of being a progressive, responsible business. It goes back to the days of our founder William Lever, who launched the world's first purposeful brand, Sunlight Soap, more than 100 years ago, and it's at the heart of how we run our company today.
The Unilever Compass, our sustainable business strategy, is set out to help us deliver superior performance and drive sustainable and responsible growth, while:
- improving the health of the planet;
- improving people's health, confidence and wellbeing; and
- contributing to a fairer and more socially inclusive world.
While there is still more to do, we are proud to have been recognized in 2020 as a sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and – for the tenth-consecutive year – as the top ranked company in the 2020 GlobeScan/SustainAbility Sustainability Leaders survey.