Packaged consumer goods firm Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has begun discussions on possible alternatives to raw materials the company imports from China in its bid to help the country become self-reliant. This was expressed by HUL CMD Sanjiv Mehta in response to shareholders' queries at the company's 87th annual general meeting that was held via videoconferencing on Tuesday.
Speaking to investors, Mehta further stated that HUL has initiated talks on the matter as it imports raw materials and packaging materials worth over Rs 400 crore from China.
He added that the company "demonstrated a huge degree of resilience during COVID-19" and will partner with different businesses to "overcome any risk that might arise due to the geopolitical crisis."
Mehta in his speech titled 'Chartering the unchartered, normalising the abnormal', enunciated that the COVID-19 pandemic is a warning shot for countries and businesses alike to take a step back and reassess their current models.
He emphasised that although the risk of recession is staring everyone in the face, it must not be taken as a foregone conclusion.
Mehta also expressed that the government should keep an eye on the demand situation in the economy and step in without a second thought if the same doesn't pick up in the next few months.
Chinese goods constitute around half of HUL's total imports at nearly Rs 900 crore in FY20 (2019-20). Mehta highlighted that the company's exports to China are trivial.