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Textile institute innovation award

Unilever, the UK’s leading fast moving consumer goods company behind laundry products including Persil, Comfort and Surf, has been crowned winner of The Textile Institute's Innovation Award 2011.

Unilever, the UK’s leading fast moving consumer goods company behind laundry products including Persil, Comfort and Surf, has been crowned winner of The Textile Institute's Innovation Award 2011, an award which recognises outstanding achievements in enhancing international textile interests through creativity, commerce, marketing or economic development.

Unilever walked away with the 2011 Innovation Award for the development and launch of new shading dye technology, an innovation unique to Unilever – now protected by over 40 patents - which delivers superior textile whiteness at minimal cost and environmental impact. The road from invention to the global launch of the technology has taken just three years, involving scaling dye production from a 0.5g lab sample to a fully commercial multi-tonne operation.

The inventor, Unilever’s Dr Stephen Batchelor, said, “Keeping clothes white as they are worn and washed is a global problem for consumers and whiteness is the vital proof of textile cleaning, particularly in emerging markets where water quality and washing habits are especially challenging.”

Stephen continued, “The Textile Institute is the world's biggest textile authority so it is a great achievement to have our pioneering work recognised in this way.”

The Textile Institute awarding panel described Unilever as ‘one of the few leading world-class companies making laundry detergents, fabric softeners and many other products in the areas of nutrition, hygiene and personal care.’

Stephanie Dick, Director of Operations and Membership, The Textile Institute, commented, “Unilever has shown continuous commercial acumen in its field of expertise and the Institute felt it was appropriate to present the award in recognition of the company’s commitment and enthusiasm for staying ahead of the game.”

Following on from the success in the 2011 Textile Institute awards, Dr Stephen Batchelor will present the key note presentation entitled "Winning with Whiteness" at the upcoming Textile Institute Managing Innovation in Textiles Conference on 30 November in Manchester.

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