Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan: Putting Sustainability at The Center of Business Strategy

Global Economic Impact of Coronavirus – Assessment and Mitigation (B)
Case Code: BSTR624
Case Length: 16 Pages
Period: 1929- 2021
Pub Date: 2021
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.400
Organization: Unilever
Industry: Conglomerate
Countries: United States
Themes: Socially-responsible Business Practices, Sustainability, Competitive Strategy
Global Economic Impact of Coronavirus – Assessment and Mitigation (B)
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


“As the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan journey concludes, we will take everything we’ve learned and build on it. We will do more of what has worked well, we will correct what has not, and we will set ourselves new challenges,” said Alan Jope (Jope), CEO, Unilever, on the occasion of the tenth and final year of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) in May 2020. Unilever, a multi-national corporation of Anglo-Dutch parentage formed in 1930,owned many of the world’s consumer product brands in foods, beverages, cleaning agents, and home care and personal care products. Unilever’s market extended over 190 countries around the world. In 2004, consequent to a fall in market share and financial performance and its first ever profit warning, the company brought in Paul Polman (Polman), an outsider, as its CEO. In 2010, Unilever started a new initiative called the USLP in response to major global trends the company had identified –growth in emerging markets, increasing population, environmental stress, the digital revolution, and changing (urbanization) demographics. Unilever also faced a backlash for environmental destruction. “Our plan isn’t just the right thing to do for people and the environment. It’s also right for Unilever: the business case for integrating sustainability into our brands is clear,” stated Paul Polman (Polman). Polman launched a new environment friendly business model with three overarching goals: To help a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being; to halve the environmental impact of products; and to source 100% of agricultural raw materials sustainably, protecting the livelihoods of more than 500,000 smallholder farmers in the process..

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