Unilever aims to double business, whilst reducing environmental footprint

Strategy will require new business model and partnerships.

Unilever chief executive, Paul Polman today urged businesses to take action on climate change after the failure of politicians to agree meaningful targets at the recent Copenhagen Summit.

Speaking at The Economist’s Sustainability Summit Polman said that Unilever has set itself the challenge of doubling the size of its business whilst at the same time reducing its environmental footprint. Polman said that the key to making this goal happen is by inspiring consumers to switch to a more sustainable way of living through the brands they choose.

Polman said, “those companies that wait to be forced into action or who see it solely in terms of reputation management or CSR, will do too little too late and may not even survive.”

In his speech Polman said estimates from the World Wide Fund for Nature suggest that if everyone’s living standards and consumption patterns were similar to those of the average Briton it would mean that the resources of three planets would be needed.

Despite the lack of a political resolution at the Copenhagen Summit, Polman stressed that businesses can and should press ahead. He added: “There is a huge amount that business can do without help from the politicians – whether it is in their supply chains, their factories, the design of their products or in using their brands to educate people about more sustainable forms of consumption.”

Unilever is a recognised leader in sustainability. It has led the Food sector on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the past 11 years – an achievement matched by no other company.

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