Paul Polman is acting as the CEO of Unilever starting from January 2009. Unilever has built an ambitious vision under his leadership of completely decoupling their growth from the whole environmental footprint and has increased their positive social impact with the help of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. He has defied all the conformist wisdom in leading one of the biggest companies in the world with a sustainability-oriented agenda, driven by both ethical and moral principles. He took the reins of the company at its most precarious stage from their 150-year old history. Under his able guidance, Unilever has turned out to be a frontrunner in the field of CSR, running ahead and leading several polls and rankings and in a multi-range fields. He has made the name of the company synonymous with the true meaning of sustainability and ethical business practices. He has naturally faced several challenges and opponents along the way, just like any other revolutionary. He has constantly maintained that for being a good leader he needs to take risks, take up responsibility for those risks and then prioritizing the ultimate good before personal needs. It is this attitude of his that has made him one of the greatest business leaders ever (Boynton, 2015).
Paul has knack for proactively seeking cooperation with other companies for implementing sustainable and long term business tactics and driving systematic change. Paul is also a Board member at the UN Global Compact and the Consumer Goods Forum where he is co-chairing the Sustainability Committee. He is additionally a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum, a B Team member and the Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. His commitment to long-term and sustainable capitalism would be reflected in his post as one of the members of the Global Board of Directors of Financing Capitalism for the Long-Term (FCLT). He has contributed a lot in the development of the Sustainable Development Goals and in the promotion of actions in the direction of their delivery, acting on being a member of the SDC Advocacy Group (Skapinker & Daneshkhu, 2016).
Recognizing the contributions he has made towards the development of a responsible business, Paul has received several awards and honors that includes the the Oslo Business for Peace Award (2015), Rainforest Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award (2014), the Singapore Government Public Service Star (2016) and the UN Environment Programme’s Champion of the Earth Award (2015). In this similar context, Paul has received France’s Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, as a recognition of his efforts for the galvanization of business actions related to sustainability and for his involvement at the time of the historic 2015 UN Climate change conference (COP21) at Paris (Confino, 2012).
Paul has a BBA/BA degree from the University of Groningen, Netherlands and an MA Economics and MBA finance/international marketing degree from the University of Cincinnati. He has also received several honorary degrees from different Universities that comprises of Liverpool, Cincinnati, Northumbria, Groningen and another from the University of Cranfield (Paul Polman, 2017).
Boynton, A. (2015). Unilever's Paul Polman: CEOs Can't Be 'Slaves' To Shareholders. Forbes.com. Retrieved 3 October 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/andyboynton/2015/07/20/unilevers-paul-polman-ceos-cant-be-slaves-to-shareholders/#467dccb4561e
Confino, J. (2012). Unilever's Paul Polman: challenging the corporate status quo. the Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/paul-polman-unilever-sustainable-living-plan
Paul Polman. (2017). Unilever global company website. Retrieved 3 October 2017, from https://www.unilever.com/about/who-we-are/our-leadership/paul-polman.html
Skapinker, M., & Daneshkhu, S. (2016). Can Unilever’s Paul Polman change the way we do business?. Ft.com. Retrieved 3 October 2017, from https://www.ft.com/content/e6696b4a-8505-11e6-8897-2359a58ac7a5?mhq5j=e7
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