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Our sustainability governance

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Strong governance structures and clear lines of accountability enable us to deliver our commitments. We also draw on insights from external experts to challenge our thinking.

Management structures

Our commitment to sustainable living is embedded into our business agenda through our purpose, vision, and business model. Following the end of our decade-long Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) in 2020, our new sustainability ambitions are set out in our sustainable business strategy – which we call the Unilever Compass.

Unilever PLC Board

The Board of Unilever

  • The Board has the ultimate responsibility for the management, general affairs, direction, performance and long-term success of Unilever.
  • The Board comprises Non-Executive Directors and Unilever Leadership Executive (ULE) members Alan Jope (CEO) and Graeme Pitkethly (Chief Financial Officer).

Corporate Responsibility Committee

  • Committee of Non-Executive Directors which oversees Unilever’s conduct as a responsible business, sustainability and our corporate reputation.
  • Monitors the progress of our Compass sustainability goals and reports back on this to the board.
  • Marc Engel, ULE member and Chief Supply Chain Officer, and Rebecca Marmot, Chief Sustainability Officer, attend each meeting.

See our Annual Report and Accounts for further details on the Corporate Responsibility Committee.

Audit Committee

  • Committee of Non-Executive Directors which oversees Unilever's approach to risk management, including corporate risks and related mitigation/response plans.
  • Reviews significant breaches of the Code of Business Principles as part of its remit to review risk management.
  • Oversees the independent assurance programme for selected sustainability metrics.
  • Our Chief Financial Officer, Graeme Pitkethly, attends each meeting.

See our Annual Report and Accounts for further details on the Audit Committee.

Unilever Leadership Executive (ULE)

The Unilever Leadership Executive

Led by our Chief Executive Officer (Alan Jope), the ULE monitors the implementation and delivery of our business strategy, including delivery of our sustainability goals.

Find out more about our leadership.

Division and Function leadership

Division Presidents: Foods & Refreshment (Hanneke Faber), Beauty & Personal Care (Sunny Jain) and Home Care (Peter ter Kulve)

The leaders of our Divisions are members of the ULE. Our Divisional leadership and brand teams are responsible for the strategic development of our sustainability goals. They work in conjunction with our Function leaders (for example our Chief Supply Chain Officer or our Chief R&D Officer) and our Global Sustainability Team.

Chief Sustainability Officer (Rebecca Marmot)

Heads our Global Sustainability Team and leads our sustainability agenda to drive transformational change across markets through advocacy and partnerships and to define innovative social business models for sustainable growth. Reports to our CEO.

Divisional Sustainability Team

Part of our Global Sustainability Team, headed by our Vice President, Sustainable Business – Divisions. Its role is to transform our brands into purposeful brands and facilitate the emergence of sustainable innovation. They work with our Divisional teams and with R&D, Supply Chain and Marketing to embed sustainability into market development programmes and open up opportunities for business growth.

Unilever operating companies

Our operating companies

Following the strategies of our Divisions and Functions, and assisted by our Global Sustainability Team, our local companies – led by our General Managers – are responsible for implementing our strategy.

Expert input from across the business

A number of specialist groups provide input in key areas to support management decision making.

Carbon Neutral Board

Drives delivery of our carbon ambition at corporate and country level and leads strategic partnerships and policy on renewables. Chaired by our Chief Supply Chain Officer, Marc Engel.

Global Code & Policy Committee

Oversees the implementation of the Code of Business Principles (PDF 8.52MB) Opens in new window. Chaired by our Chief Legal Officer, Ritva Sotamaa, and supported by our Chief Business Integrity Officer, Kim Morgan-Verlaque.

Global Diversity Board

Provides oversight of our inclusion and diversity agenda across the business. Chaired by our CEO, Alan Jope and supported by several members of the ULE, along with General Managers of our key markets.

Metrics Team

Provides oversight and governance of our sustainability metrics including scope, definitions and calculation methodologies.

Safety & Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC)

Provides independent scientific evidence and guidance to identify and manage risks relating to product safety and supply chain technology as well as environmental impacts associated with our brands, products and supply chain. SEAC’s expertise in lifecycle assessment has been used to develop our environmental metrics and approach to measuring our baseline performance in greenhouse gases, water and waste.

Sustainable Packaging Committee

Supports ULE decision-making and guides our strategy across all three Divisions. It has oversight of delivery and progress against our packaging goals. Chaired by our Chief R&D Officer Richard Slater, it includes senior leaders and packaging specialists from across our Divisions, Markets and Functions.

Sustainable Sourcing Steering Group

Supports our strategy focusing on long-term, sustainable access to our key crops. Chaired by our Chief Procurement Officer, David Ingram.

External insights

We regularly draw on insights from external stakeholders. In addition, we have a formal mechanism in place to provide independent insights and counsel on sustainability matters. Chaired by our Chief Supply Chain Officer, Marc Engel, the Unilever Sustainability Advisory Council comprises independent external specialists in sustainability who guide and critique the development of our strategy:

  • Kate Hampton
  • Katja Iversen
  • Bill McDonough
  • Ricken Patel
  • Jonathon Porritt
  • Kavita Prakash-Mani
  • Professor John Ruggie.

Similarly, our Sustainable Sourcing Advisory Board provides independent advice and judgement to strengthen policymaking within Unilever. It comprises experts from not-for-profit organisations, impact investors, companies and academia. See Sustainable and regenerative sourcing.