Chief Executive Officer of the giant Anglo-Dutch multinational company Unilever since 2009, Paul Polman believes that business in the twenty-first century must operate in a new way, paying much greater attention to its societal and environmental responsibilities. With this new vision, he has overseen a dramatic re-engineering of Unilever. At the heart of his strategy is the company’s Sustainable Living Plan, which by 2020 aims to help more than a billion people improve their health and wellbeing, decouple Unilever’s growth from its environmental impact, increasing its social impact, and enhance the livelihoods of all those involved in its supply chain. The signs are that the strategy is paying off, increasing Unilever’s profits while the company hits its ambitious environmental and societal targets.
An extract from an interview with Paul Polman: A Vision for Unilever – “Small actions, Big Difference” by Robert Low, in Breakthrough: From Innovation to Impact, Volume 2.