Paul Polman: How CEO Tackles Unilever’s $300M Climate Change Challenge

CEO, Unilever

“There are many companies now that would tell you that climate change is directly impacting the bottom line.”

As Chief Executive Officer of Unilever, Paul Polman understands what he calls “the cost of inaction” when it comes to climate change. So while it’s difficult to attribute any particular weather event to climate change, Polman says the impacts of climate change are being felt around the world. And with those impacts comes volatility that affects everything from Unilever’s employees to the price of products for consumers to, ultimately, “the bottom line.”

Concerns like these led Polman in 2010 to create Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, which aims to cut by half the environmental impact of Unilever products by 2020, and works in partnerships to address deforestation and sustainable agriculture as well as universal access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.

Polman is also Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum and serves on the Board of the UN Global Compact. He is also on the Board of the Global Consumer Goods Forum.

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