Unilever plant launched at Dubai Industrial Park
The region’s largest personal care products manufacturing plant has been launched in Dubai Industrial Park by consumer goods giant Unilever.
The company will mark products manufactured at the factory with a ‘Made in UAE’ label and will export 80 percent of them to Europe and MENA region.
The official opening ceremony, of the AED 1 billion facility, took place in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman of Emirates Group.
Also in attendance were Paul Polman, CEO Unilever, Sanjiv Kakkar, executive vice president of Unilever MENA, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, and Abdulla Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Wholesale City, as well as senior officials from the TECOM Group.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said: “The UAE is accelerating its efforts to boost the industrial sector and make it a valuable contributor to the national economy, turning the ‘Made in UAE’ label into a mark of quality and global excellence. We can achieve this through successful partnerships with international manufacturers, and stimulating investments in industry.”
“Our country has become a destination of choice for the industrial sector, as it provides modern infrastructure, an investment friendly environment and a world-class legislative framework for businesses seeking to become global trail blazers,” he added.
Following the opening ceremony, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed toured the plant and met with senior officials from Unilever and Dubai Industrial Park, who briefed him on the production lines and processes.
Spanning 100,000 square meters, this plant is the largest in the region, and is set to deliver the highest output of 100,000 tons per annum of liquid beauty and personal care products a year (approximately 500 million units). The brands manufactured include Dove, Fair & Lovely, Lifebuoy, Vaseline, Clear, TRESemmé, and Sunsilk.
The facility utilizes state-of-the-art technology, which combined with a modular design, ensures shorter, faster and highly responsive production lines that are highly flexible to match market demand. The facility is also designed to reduce waste and energy consumption, in line with the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan via which the company aims to decouple its growth from its environmental impact, while increasing their positive social impact.
In addition to supply chain efficiency, the advanced technology will enable automatic quality control, scanning at a rate of 350 bottles per minute, while also ensuring the highest safety standards integral to and embedded in all equipment designs.
Raw materials will be sourced both locally and globally. Exports will cover countries across North Africa, Middle East and Europe. Unilever is currently collaborating with key suppliers to implement a complete vertical integration, which will help in implementing “just in time” methodology which will enable the factory to become a global sourcing unit by 2022.
In addition, 25 percent of the energy required to run the plant will come from solar power, and 80 percent of waste water will be repurposed and reused for agricultural and cleaning purposes.
Highlighting the importance of the GCC and UAE markets for Unilever, Polman said: “Choosing the UAE was a strategic decision. It is a trade corridor that connects the East and West, with important growth potential and world class infrastructure. Our new factory is testament to that – as the UAE’s largest private solar park, it reflects a shared vision of driving resilient, sustainable growth, underpinned by innovation”.
Fadel Al Ali, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Holding, commented: “We are immensely proud to welcome yet another world class brand into our Dubai Holding community. We believe this state of the art facility represents another milestone in UAE’s diversification strategy. Not only will it add to our country’s manufacturing capabilities, but Unilever’s presence as a manufacturer will further enhance the UAE’s position as a strategic industrial hub serving the region and beyond.”
On her part, Her Excellency Dr. Amina Al Rustamani, Group Chief Executive Officer of TECOM Group, Member of Dubai Holding, developer and operator of Dubai Wholesale City, mentioned the significance of the manufacturing sector as part of the UAE’s economic diversification strategy, as well as a key contributor to achieving UAE Vision 2021.
She said: “The manufacturing sector has great potential to add value to the UAE economy, and diversify national income. It embodies the concept of integration between human resources and knowledge to build productive communities, as well as generations that appreciate hard work and are aware of their responsibilities in economic development. We are delighted to witness more of these projects and prominent brands establishing presence in Dubai, which testifies the emirate’s position as a leading destination for trade, business, and innovation.”
Supporting Unilever’s commitment of becoming carbon positive by 2030, and the UAE’s Clean Energy Strategy, DPC is one of the first factories in the region to have both Solar Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal systems for one manufacturing plant. This makes it the UAE’s largest private solar park.
In addition, green building solutions have been used to reduce the carbon footprint by 90 percent through a decrease in logistics, as well as recycling of all industrial waste resulting from manufacturing operations.
The new factory is also designed to ensure minimal environmental impact, including sending zero waste to landfill (nonhazardous waste) by partnering with reputable recycling companies with great expertise in environmental management. The factory will recycle 100 percent of nonhazardous waste, diverting all of it away from landfill from the first day of operation.
Following global best practices and implementing them in this region, the factory will be recycling wasted products starting from packaging up to off-spec products. Through this facility, Unilever will ensure that all plastic, carton, metal and other materials are being recycled into raw materials for use in other industries. Through its recycling partners, the company has gone the extra mile to ensure that all liquid waste is fully recycled where water and oil will be recovered for reuse.
Additionally, the high speed lines, built with world class manufacturing standards and modular designs enable rapid product delivery to the market. Capacity can be rapidly increased to deliver responsiveness to market demand. The facility is also equipped with cutting-edge continuous production technology, which reduces the production cycle by 90 percent.