Our sustainability governance
Strong governance structures and clear lines of accountability enable us to deliver the commitments in our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP). We also draw on insights from external experts to challenge our thinking.
Our commitment to sustainable living is embedded into our business agenda through our purpose, vision, business model and Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.
Our management structures for sustainable business are integrated into our organisational framework. Key elements include:
|Board level - governance and oversight|
The Boards of Unilever (Unilever PLC and N.V.)
Corporate Responsibility Committee
|Unilever Leadership Executive (ULE) - operational leadership of the business|
|Divisional and function leadership - strategic development of our goals|
Unilever Sustainable Living Plan Steering Team (USLP ST)
Foods and Refreshment (Nitin Paranjpe), Beauty & Personal Care (Alan Jope) and Home Care (Kees Kruythoff) Divisions
Chief Sustainability Officer (Jeff Seabright)
|Unilever operating companies - responsible for implementation|
Our operating companies
To ensure alignment between the different elements of our governance structure, ULE member Keith Weed attends the Corporate Responsibility Committee meetings and chairs the USLP Steering Team as well as our USLP Advisory Council (see External insights below). Jeff Seabright reports to Keith Weed and supports him in these roles.
Specialist input and cross-team networks
We have a number of specialist groups in the business who provide input in key areas and incorporate external advice from a variety of sources. Examples include:
|Sustainable Business Team|
Transforming our brands into purposeful brands and facilitating the emergence of sustainable innovation. Headed by Karen Hamilton, our Vice President, Sustainable Business and member of the USLP Steering Team. The Sustainable Business Team works alongside our R&D, Supply Chain and Marketing and Divisional teams to embed sustainability into their market development programmes and open up opportunities for business growth. The team also leads on issues such as circular economy
Drives delivery of our carbon positive ambition at corporate and country level and leads strategic partnerships and policy on renewables. Chaired by our Chief Supply Chain Officer, Marc Engel
Steers our strategy and targets on Water, focusing on driving water-smart innovations for business growth. Chaired by our Home Care Category President, Kees Kruythoff
|Sustainable Packaging Committee|
Steers our strategy and targets on sustainable packaging, understanding stakeholder concerns and bringing in new technologies and partnerships. Chaired by our Chief R&D Officer David Blanchard
|Sustainable Sourcing Steering Group|
Supports our strategy by promoting sustainable supply chains, focusing on long-term, sustainable access to Unilever's key crops. Chaired by Dhaval Buch, our Chief Procurement Officer
|USLP Metrics Team|
A group of senior business leaders providing oversight and governance of changes to USLP metrics including scope, definitions and calculation methodologies. Chaired by Lysanne Gray, our Executive Vice President Financial Control, Risk Management, Pensions & Sustainability, who is also a member of the USLP Steering Team
|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. See Our metrics
|Global Code & Policy Committee|
Chaired by our Chief Legal Officer, Ritva Sotamaa, and supported by our Chief Business Integrity Officer, Anny Tubbs. Oversees the implementation of the Code of Business Principles
Our strategy benefits from insights and challenge from external stakeholders on an ongoing basis through our day-to-day business operations, partnerships and broader engagement.
In addition, we seek independent insights and counsel from external stakeholders, for example the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan Advisory Council, seven independent external specialists in sustainability who guide and critique the development of our strategy. ULE member and sustainability lead Keith Weed chairs the Council, supported by Jeff Seabright, our Chief Sustainability Officer.
In 2018 we invited six new members to join the Council:
- Professor Val Curtis, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
- Christiana Figueres, Mission 2020
- Katja Iversen, Women Deliver
- Bill McDonough, McDonough Innovation
- Ricken Patel, Avaaz
- Jonathon Porritt, Forum for the Future
- Kavita Prakash Mani, WWF International.
Similarly, the role of our Sustainable Sourcing Advisory Board is to provide independent advice and judgement and to strengthen policy-making within Unilever. It comprises seven experts from not-for-profit organisations, impact investors, companies and academia.