VOTE TO REMAIN: Unilever, the multinational parent of Pond’s, Dove, Simple, Dermalogica, Kate Somerville and Murad, has told its employees that Britain needs to remain in the European Union.
Less than a week before Britons take to the polls on June 23 for a once-in-a-generation vote, the personal care and mass food giant said the company would be negatively impacted if the U.K. were to leave the E.U.
“It is not for us to suggest how people might vote. Many factors need to be considered. We respect that,” said the letter to employees signed by the current chief executive officer Paul Polman and his three predecessors, and published on the company’s web site.
“But in taking this hugely important and irreversible decision, we feel a responsibility to point out that Unilever in the U.K., with its thriving operating company, international research centers, factories and global headquarters would, in our considered opinion, be negatively impacted if the U.K. were to leave the European Union.
“We therefore hope that in the interests of Unilever, the U.K., Europe, and indeed the wider global economy, the U.K. will choose to remain and thereby continue to play a central role in Unilever’s long-term growth and prosperity,” it said.
Unilever is quoted on both the London and Amsterdam stock exchanges and has an international workforce, with stately headquarters in London overlooking the Thames.
The letter added that Unilever owes much of its success over the last 25 years to the creation of a single European market of 500 million consumers “and — importantly — to the collective weight of the European Union in helping to open up markets and drive standards in other parts of the world, including in such important areas as the environment and social protection.”
With six days to go before the vote, passions are running predictably high, with both sides neck-in-neck in opinion polls. The campaign in favor of leaving has witnessed a surge of support in recent days, however.
An Ipsos Mori poll for London’s Evening Standard newspaper released Thursday had the Leave campaign with 53 percent of the vote and Remain with 47 percent.
On Thursday European Union referendum campaigners temporarily suspended their rallies in the wake of the death of Labour MP Jo Cox. Cox, who was campaigning for Britain to remain in the EU, was killed on Thursday by a mentally ill man, although his motive remains unclear. Both referendum camps immediately put their campaigning on hold to pay tribute to the 41-year-old mother of two.