Unilever Bangladesh collaborates with IBA, University of Dhaka, for research on plastic circularity and academic facilities enhancement

Abu Sufian

Unilever Bangladesh (UBL), the country’s leading Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company, is collaborating with the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka, on two new areas under its industry-academia partnership. The initiatives include commissioning research to increase understanding of plastic circularity in the context of Bangladesh and providing brand sponsorship to enhance the university academic building.

A multidisciplinary team of esteemed faculty members from IBA, including Professor Sheikh Morshed Jahan, Professor Dr. Melita Mehjabeen, Professor Dr. Khaled Mahmud, Professor Dr. Rezaul Kabir, Ms. Kaniz Fatema, and Ms. Orpita Oysharja, will conduct the research on plastic recycling and waste management.

The research will aim to develop a methodology that addresses challenges faced by recyclers, while also emphasizing producers and consumers’ accountability and responsibility in plastic waste management. Additionally, it will seek to assess Bangladesh’s position in the evolution of plastic circularity within the market and identify feasible models tailored to the local context. Furthermore, the research will outline gaps in current infrastructure and propose the role of public and private entities in constructing a sustainable model for plastic recycling.

. By leveraging their collective expertise and innovative methodologies, the team is poised to make significant strides in advancing sustainable practices and shaping the future of plastic recycling in Bangladesh.

Speaking about the collaboration, Zaved Akhtar, Chairman and Managing Director of Unilever Bangladesh Limited said “At Unilever, sustainability is at the heart of our business. As a part of our global commitment to improve the health of our planet, we have been driving innovative approaches to plastic waste management since 2020, which includes innovation in packaging, creating a sustainable model for plastic waste collection and management, and creating common platforms for multi-stakeholder dialogues and knowledge sharing. As we continue to explore avenues to create a sustainable plastic management ecosystem, it is essential to collaborate with academia, which plays a critical role in driving progress in these areas. We are pleased to join hands with IBA and collaborate to help us understand the industry’s current challenges and guide us toward our collective goal of sustainable plastic waste management.

Through our joint effort, we can have a lasting impact on our economy, achieve our Vision 2041 and create a Bangladesh that will be a model to the rest of the world.”

On the prospects of this collaboration with Unilever, Professor Mohammad A. Momen said “Industry and academia collaboration serves as the foundation for fostering innovation and merging the theoretical knowledge with the practical application. The active involvement of corporates will provide IBA with valuable insights and real-life experiences, enhancing the learning and development opportunities for students and faculty alike. I am hoping that this collaboration between Unilever and IBA will cultivate a rich exchange of ideas, foster mutual learning, and pave the way for innovative solutions that address contemporary challenges in the fast-changing business world. This is just the beginning and I sincerely expect to walk a long way together.”

Built on the back of strong, well-established and purposeful brands, Unilever Bangladesh has also decided to extend this partnership by branding the premises with important reminders across health and hygiene, with the presence and usage of notable brands such as Lifebuoy (germ-free handwashing), Pureit (access to purified water), Knorr and Horlicks (nutritional enhancement).

Apart from the formal scope of collaboration, Unilever Bangladesh regularly engages with students and graduates of IBA in areas of skills development and career opportunities. Known to nurture the league of future leaders in Bangladesh, Unilever has flagship initiatives on leadership development such as Unilever Leadership Internship Programme, Unilever Future Leaders Programme, and BizMaestros – a campus business competition that has been running for 14 years now and providing the thrill of real business and the platform for the country’s youth to showcase their merit at a global stage.

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