Championing Sustainability and Responsible Capitalism: Paul Polman at Unilever




Case Details Case Introduction 1 Case Introduction 2 Case Excerpts

Abstract

In March 2015, Unilever was awarded the top position in the Oxfam Behind the Brands Scorecard. Oxfam’s scorecard ranks the ten biggest food and beverage companies on the basis of their policies and commitments to transparency, farmers, women, agricultural workers, access to land, water, and climate change.

Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) conglomerate, has been widely regarded as the global leader in corporate sustainability since its CEO, Paul Polman, launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) in 2010. The case study is about Polman and how he promoted sustainability throughout the value chain at Unilever...

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Issues

The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Study the leadership style of Paul Polman and discuss and debate whether he is a responsible leader.
  • Analyze Unilever’s ‘Compass strategy’ and its Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.
  • Evaluate Polman’s style of embedding sustainability into every stage of the value chain.
  • Analyze the sustainability achievements of Unilever.
  • Discuss and debate the possible challenges of implementing USLP.

Contents
INTRODUCTION
ABOUT UNILEVER
EMBEDDING SUSTAINABILITY
THE COMPASS STRATEGY
FIVE LEVERS OF CHANGE
LEADERSHIP STYLE
SUSTAINABILITY ACHIEVEMENTS
CHALLENGES
THE ROAD AHEAD
EXHIBITS

Keywords

Responsible Leadership, Corporate Sustainability, Business Ethics, Responsible Capitalism, Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, ‘Compass strategy’; Embedding sustainability, Value chain, Five Levers for Change, Leadership style, Unilever, FMCG

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