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Unilever’s young professionals inspire global wave of ‘intrapreneurs’


As part of our drive to make sustainable living commonplace, Unilever wants young leaders  to revolutionise the way business is done – from inside their organisation.

Unilever sign in Mexico

Unleashing the energy of youth

To support that process, we have launched ‘And’ not ‘Or’. An Introduction to Intrapreneurship with insights and personal stories gathered from a group of young Unilever intrapreneurs.

Unilever intrapreneurs are broadly defined as people who behave with the creativity and passion of an entrepreneur, but within a corporate setting. The booklet is designed for a global audience of intrapreneurs both within and outside Unilever, motivating them to drive sustainable business while staying aligned with corporate targets.

Bigger initiative for sustainability

The launch forms part of a bigger Unilever initiative to encourage young professionals to make sustainability core to their working lives. In partnership with NGO Net Impact the company is also running a series of pilot gatherings in London, the US, India and South Africa, where established intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs will share their stories with young people committed to doing business differently. If the pilot phase proves successful, the programme will run in more locations next year.

Just last September, Unilever launched The Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs awards in partnership with the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL). Designed to recognise and support young people around the world to tackle challenges our societies face today, it aims to find inspiring, practical and tangible solutions to help make sustainable living commonplace. Finalists will be announced in December 2013 with final judging in January 2014.

The time for change is now

“It’s often the case that young people have a real passion for sustainability and want to bring that into their work life too,” says Annemieke Tromp, the initiative's leader. “They often have a clear wish to combine driving corporate growth and having a positive impact, but are unsure how to do this effectively within a corporate environment.

“What we want to do with this resource is create a set of tangible learnings to help them move from dreaming to doing as quickly as possible.”

Unilever’s drive to galvanise young leaders is a theme reiterated by CEO Paul Polman in his speech at One Young World in October 2013 – a global event inspiring young people to shape the world they want.

“Let’s release the energy of young people to make a difference”, he urged, saying that young people know more than most how important sustainability is: their whole future will be affected by the kind of world we create today.

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