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Legal Counsel Business Operations Legal Team – Focus on SUSO and SEAA

Business Context Unilever’s Business Operations ( UBO ) organisation is a global operation consisting of, among other key areas: Within the supply chain over 250 factories

Business Context
Unilever’s Business Operations (
UBO) organisation is a global operation consisting of, among other key areas:
Within the supply chain over 250 factories and over 400 warehouses, procuring billions of euros of goods and services and delivering over 4.5bn cases of products across more than 210,000 locations. Supply chain, including Unilever’s Procurement function, is a critical lever to Unilever’s business fundamentals, with an increasing emphasis on the effective use of third-party manufacturers to manufacture our products.
The end-to-end value supply chain controls most of Unilever’s inventory, manages a majority of Unilever’s costs and physical assets, and sets the foundation to generate revenue through delivering product availability.
Market-leading fund, technology, data management and related projects connected within the tracing, reduction and tracking of GHG usage and the sustainable-sourcing and tracing of a wide range of commodities, including palm, soy, cocoa and diary.
Unilever’s supply chain is an industry leader in responsible and sustainable sourcing (
SUSO), with the Supply Chain responsible for bringing to life Unilever’s Responsible Sourcing Policy in all areas.
Within the UniOps function, Unilever purchases several EUR Bn a year of software and technology services, including cutting edge deals in the areas of digital mapping and sustainability tracing blockchain.
The Customer Operations teams, which manage the global distribution of our products, including the fast-growing areas of supply chain and direct-to-customer e-commerce, including outsourcing of some supply chain operations functions and complex logistics projects. Within the Commodity Risk Management (CRM) team within UAPL, hedges EUR 5 to 7 billion of commodity price exposures per year.
These areas are supported by a specialist, lean global legal team business partners, called the Unilever Business Operations (
UBO) Legal Team located in Singapore, London, Rotterdam, New York, Sao Paolo, Durban and Barcelona. The advertised position is within that global team, based in Barcelona and reporting to the GC Home Care Products based in Singapore, with skip-line reporting to the GC UBO, based in London and Singapore.
These legal business partners are, and you will be, closely supported by a multi-tiered system of internal and external drafting and negotiation supports, including Unilever Powerhouse lawyers, contract lawyers, managed legal services providers and, where complexity necessitates, outside law firms.
This job includes the management and supervision of external and internal legal supports, and in large part the daily work concerns supervision of such work and management of matters of a complexity or internal sensitivity that will be handled directly by you.
As business teams have reshaped, a number of key business partner roles have moved to the UK/EU, leading to the need for this role to be located within this time zone.
Where this position fits-into the team – the Scopes of Work:
This position fits-into the wider legal team as follows:
  • Member of the global UBO Legal team.
  • Co-located with the Unilever Powerhouse legal team in Barcelona.
  • Reporting to UBO GC for Home Care Products, based in Singapore, with skip-line reporting to the GC UBO (global) based in London and Singapore.
  • Focus on supporting Unilever Business Operations functions, as legal business partner, and as appropriate, leveraging inhouse and external legal team supports, including supporting the following work areas:
  • global soft oils (palm, soy) and sustainable replacement oils/detergents materials deals (Rotterdam and Singapore business partners);
  • global funds and funding deals (financing and investment documents) in the SUSO and carbon spaces, typically negotiated with EU or US-based counterparties;
  • global de-carbonisation, NDPE and sustainable sourcing deals and front-end consultancy, data processing and project funding deals;
  • technology interface deals for global de-carbonisation, NDPE and sustainable sourcing deals;
  • some SEAA regional contracting management procurement and supply chain deals, predominantly in the contract manufacturing and asset light spaces (SEAA business partners but with day-to-day partner management by outsourced or insourced legal team supports);
  • some SEAA asset light (factory sale and long-term service agreement) deals, with local meetings conducted primarily by outsourced or insourced legal team supports;
  • some SEAA focused logistics and warehouse services contracts;
  • work on typically EU-supplier-focused deals related to innovative cleaner (lower carbon) materials deals;
  • cutting edge projects relating to fast to the development and / or procurement of fragrances (usually EU-supplier focused); and
  • on an occasional basis, management of claims and litigation for supply chain matters within the scopes above.
This work will involve business counseling, the scoping of work instructions, supervision of drafting and analysis performed by others, and reporting to the business contacts for the area and for more complex, bespoke or high-risk matters, provision of advice and management of contract negotiations, reviews and drafting. Significant business partner interfacing will unlock the benefits of this role.
Due to the supervisory responsibilities of this role, this role will suit a mature candidate with both demonstrated legal skills capability and with experience supervising legal work performed by others, with the ability to identify quickly and communicate with brevity the core risks to the business.
  • Member of the broader global legal function, cooperating with: UBO Group lawyer networks, country lawyers, UBO network lawyers, patent/IP specialists, competition law specialists, IP specialists and other legal colleagues and internal tax, finance and insurance experts.
  • Some attendance in a Unilever office will be required, within out flexible working policies and guidelines.
What you will do from day-to-day:
The successful candidate will be a person who:
  • Is comfortable, with low levels of escalation of queries, with the benefit of the internal and external legal supports noted above, to instruct the drafting of, reviewing and redrafting as needed, through to completion, a wide range of medium and complex contracts within the Scopes of Work.
  • Will delegate to and supervise the work of multiple legal process outsourcing and insourcing resources within the relevant areas of work.
  • Provides, appropriate to the job level, clear hands-on, business-oriented support for the scopes of work.
  • Identifies legal risks and helps the business navigate them, providing creative but legally compliant solutions.
  • Provides concise guidance and advice.
  • Creates clear risk analysis and guidance for a non-legal audience.
  • Provides clear instructions to external and internal legal service providers, contract support lawyers and law firms.
  • Enhances procurement, UniOps and supply chain ways of working by establishing good governance practices and providing support and training.
  • Implements capability-building and training initiatives for the business and across the legal function to drive excellence and efficiency.
  • Actively promotes and facilitates close collaboration between Business Group legal teams with the UBO legal team in supporting UBO activities and projects.
  • Provides first point of contact advice for logistics, procurement quality and service claims and disputes, supports analysis of claims and the drafting of claims and settlement letters.
  • The job scope is inherently dynamic and varied, responding as needed to the major events of the day e.g., conflicts, pandemics, business critical matters, etc.
Key Interfaces:
Within Legal – GC Home Care Products, GC UBO, SEAA-based Business Operations and Business Unit Senior Counsels, Business Operations Legal core team and network lawyers, central expertise team lawyers (e.g., IP, competition law), the Corporate and Transactions legal team, R&D/Patents specialists.
Within the Business – The direct client interfaces will predominantly be within the following areas:
  • soft oils procurement;
  • global sustainability and SUSO compliance initiatives, including tracing and technology;
  • global fragrances procurement;
  • carbon reduction and wider industry initiatives around data management and collation;
  • business leads for funds and funding deals in the SUSO and carbon spaces;
  • GHG tracing, GHG data management and tracing; and
  • at a higher level, SEAA-based contract manufacturing procurement and Customer Operations teams.
Critical success Factors for the Job
  • Academic degree in Law, current bar qualification (any jurisdiction), at least 12+ years of experience in legal advisory and drafting work. More senior applicants accepting the medium-senior level grade described above are also more than welcome to apply.
  • A personal passion for ESG matters, and experience in advising on the same.
  • Strong English language drafting and legal advisory skills.
  • Strong demonstrated business acumen.
  • ability to argue with conviction simpler points at-table.
  • Experience of drafting and review of complex funding, technology and finance contracts, and some exposure to more complex commercial contracts, each within the Scopes of Work.
  • Understanding of, or willingness to learn in depth about, GHG, oils (NDPE) and sustainability programmes.
  • Some understanding of commodity buying is preferred, and in particular palm and/or soy.
  • An exceptional ability to collaborate and communicate with others, both internally and externally.
  • Sound cross-cultural skills, emotional maturity.
  • Ability to handle multiple assignments and manage major projects to successful completion.
  • Self-motivated.
  • Mental agility, and a mental willingness to learn and understand unfamiliar areas of work.
  • A willingness to work a flexible working day, since some early-start and evening telephone calls (from home) will sometimes be needed for effective communication with global team members and global business partners.
  • Ability to work with both colleagues and internal clients across multiple timezones and jurisdictions.
We appreciate that some of the Scopes of Works are niche fields, and that not all candidates will have significant experience in those fields.
We will therefore place a greater weighting when reviewing applications on both the core soft and hard skills needed for the role. That is, successful projects in the SUSO / GHG space require that the interests of multiple stakeholders are accommodated wherever possible. As such, a track record in leading and guiding to successful conclusion multi-party deals will be viewed favourably. So as to complement the wider team, hard skills in bespoke IP clauses for commercial supply agreements, technology/software rollouts and innovation / new materials development projects will also be useful tools for this role.

Please apply online. Your application will be reviewed against our requirements and we will be in touch shortly after the closing date to provide you with an update on the status of your application.

Unilever is an organisation committed to equity, inclusion and diversity to drive our business results and create a better future, every day, for our diverse employees, global consumers, partners, and communities. We believe a diverse workforce allows us to match our growth ambitions and drive inclusion across the business. At Unilever we are interested in every individual bringing their ‘Whole Self’ to work and this includes you! Thus if you require any support or access requirements, we encourage you to advise us at the time of your application so that we can support you through your recruitment journey.

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