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Multinational Corporation Unilever To Acquire Seventh Generation

Kathleen Masterson
VPR file
Unilever will acquire the Burlington-based company Seventh Generation, which makes environmentally-friendly household and personal care products. Unilever also owns Ben & Jerry's.

The British-Dutch multinational Unilever says it has signed an agreement to purchase Burlington-based Seventh Generation.

Unilever also owns Ben & Jerry’s. The company has 169,000 employees worldwide and owns brands like Dove, Hellmann’s and Lipton.

Seventh Generation has 110 Vermont employees. 

"We know that Unilever is committed to Vermont and committed to keeping Seventh Generation in Vermont," says Seventh Generation communications manager Brandi Thomas. "We also know that this acquisition is meant to help grow the company, so this means enabling more growth of our company."

In a statement, Unilever North America President Kees Kruythoff said, “Adding Seventh Generation to Unilever’s portfolio of purpose-driven brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Dove demonstrates our continued commitment to the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.”

Among the goals of the company’s Sustainable Living Plan are halving the environmental impact of Unilever products by 2030.

Seventh Generation, which was founded 28 years ago, sells environmentally-friendly household and personal care products.

Thomas says Unilever's sustainability goals line up well with Seventh Generation's values and a specially appointed group will work on combining the missions of the companies.

"We will be establishing a social mission board that will help shepherd our mission," says Thomas. She says Seventh Generation co-founder Jeffrey Hollander will serve on the board.

According to the Unilever statement, Seventh Generation revenue was more than $200 million in 2015 and the company has "seen double digit compounded annual growth over the last 10 years."

Terms of the agreement were not announced.

This story was updated at 2:45 p.m. to reflect information and comments provided by Seventh Generation.

Steve has been with VPR since 1994, first serving as host of VPR’s public affairs program and then as a reporter, based in Central Vermont. Many VPR listeners recognize Steve for his special reports from Iran, providing a glimpse of this country that is usually hidden from the rest of the world. Prior to working with VPR, Steve served as program director for WNCS for 17 years, and also worked as news director for WCVR in Randolph. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Steve also worked for stations in Phoenix and Tucson before moving to Vermont in 1972. Steve has been honored multiple times with national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his VPR reporting, including a 2011 win for best documentary for his report, Afghanistan's Other War.
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