Unilever opens its first ice cream factory in Africa
Lords View Industrial Park
Johannesburg, South Africa - Unilever South Africa has opened the doors to its first state of the art ice cream factory in Africa, situated in the Lords View Industrial Park, Midrand. The factory is one of 40 Unilever ice cream factories across the globe, and sets new standards in green manufacturing and low cost manufacturing respectively.
“Unilever is optimistic about growth demand in the ice cream category, and has invested approximately R600 million into this new factory. With this investment are well positioned to meet future demand,” said Bruno Witvoet, Unilever’s Executive Vice President for Africa. “The Lords View ice cream factory will help Unilever to continue on its journey of decoupling its growth from environmental impact while increasing positive social impact. Furthermore it will contribute towards reaching the ambitious targets set in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.”
Unilever has proven its confidence in South Africa’s and Africa’s growth potential by investing close to R4 billion in new and refurbished manufacturing facilities in South Africa. The investment in the Lords View ice cream factory is due to the market development opportunities that exist for the sector in South Africa and the rest of Africa. “The Lords View ice cream factory will offer sufficient capacity for the current sales volume to double in size while servicing increased demand for brands like Magnum, Cornetto, Gino Ginelli, Paddelpop, Frutarre and Rich ‘n Creamy,” said Witvoet.
The Lords View ice cream factory utilises smart green technology to harvest rain water, while recovering and reusing the water used in the production processes. It will also apply a zero waste to landfill policy and feature energy efficient technology. “The refrigeration and utilities services are specifically designed to reduce the energy consumed through efficient motors, drive mixers and air compressors,” said Sandeep Desai, Unilever South Africa’s Vice President of Manufacturing. “This, combined with decreased water usage and responsible waste disposal, has an exponentially positive effect on the factory’s environmental impact.”
The Lords View Industrial Park was chosen as the preferred site due to its Environmental Impact Statement that resonates with Unilever’s sustainability approach. The industrial park operates according to an Environmental Management Plan and focuses on sustainability.
To meet the ice cream factory’s staffing requirements, Unilever partnered with Harambe Human Resource Consulting to recruit employees from communities that surround Lord’s View Industrial Park. Currently, close to 150 new jobs have created since the start of the factory and another 200 indirect jobs. Unilever aims to create a further 2 500 jobs by the end of 2015 through its Ola Vendor Programme. The programme empowers micro-entrepreneurs by giving them the equipment needed to start an ice-cream vending business. It offers continuous development and support opportunities, helping these entrepreneurs to be successful business people along the way.
The Lords View ice cream factory was supported by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)’s 12-i Tax Allowance Incentive scheme. The scheme supports Greenfield investments (new industrial projects that utilise only new and unused manufacturing assets) and other projects that benefit the planet.
According to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies this investment demonstrates the confidence that Unilever has in South Africa and Africa as a whole. He said the DTI actively collaborated with Unilever to ensure that the company’s investments are preserved within an enabling environment. Furthermore, the DTI has given incentives of nearly R1 981 billion based on the Unilever’s investments since 2011.
Minister Davies, who officially opened the factory, confirmed the significance of such sustainable investments. “South Africa needs growth and development to sustain its populace. Our natural resources, on the other hand, need to be handled carefully to sustain the planet. If these two requirements can be balanced, as they have been at the Lords View ice cream factory, a brighter future certainly is within our reach,” he said.
About Unilever South Africa
Unilever South Africa (Pty Ltd) is one of the largest FMCG companies in South Africa. The Company is over 100 years old, with brands like Sunlight, OMO, Lux, Knorr, Vaseline, Shield, Sunsilk, Flora etc. that are household names throughout the country. Unilever South Africa has over 3500 employees based across two offices and five manufacturing locations in South Africa. It is rated as one of South Africa’s best employers. For more information visit – www.unilever.co.za