This is a guest post by Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever. It is an extract from his contribution to a collection of writings about the Earth Summit, Rio+20: where it should lead, published by Green Alliance and the RSPB.
These are turbulent times for the world and for the business community, addressing this requires governments and business to work together to create the right framework for sustainable development at Rio+20.
We need to find a new model of growth, one that is equally conscious of the need of people and of the planet, and puts sustainability and equality at the heart of consumption. Sustainable growth must benefit the world’s hungriest billion people as well as the rising middle classes.
This article is by Thomas Lingard, global advocacy director at Unilever and former deputy director at Green Alliance. It first appeared on Guardian Sustainable Business.
Silence on climate change and sustainability is not an abstention from the debate, it’s an abdication of responsibility for which no amount of other corporate good deeds can compensate.
What was clear from the outset of Unilever’s ambitious Sustainable Living Plan was that it could not be delivered by one organisation in isolation. It requires collaboration among a wide range of stakeholders on a whole range of issues. But one type of collaboration less well understood is the relationship between progressive business and governments who are trying to rewrite the rules of the game to align both the short and long term business interests with the creation of a low carbon world and promotion of sustainable living. Read more
Around the world Unilever products – from soap to tea to washing powder – are used two billion times every day.
The showering, boiling and spinning this entails has a large carbon footprint – in fact, on average, 68% of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by Unilever products come from ‘consumer use’ rather than manufacturing or transport
Today at the launch of their Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever pledged to halve the environmental impact of its products. This means that over the next ten years Unilever will have to get into the business of behaviour change.