Paul Polman is a known speaker when it comes to leadership, and sustainable, and responsible business strategies. He is determined to create a positive impact on the environment and society as a whole. He has worked for big names that include Unilever, Nestlé, and the Dow Chemical Company. He got recognized for his “Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.” He accelerated action by businesses to tackle climate change and inequality. A leading proponent that ‘business should be a force for good’
Paul Polman is the one who leads the challenge of reducing the environmental footprint caused by large companies worldwide
At Unilever on his first day as CEO, he announced that he wouldn’t be issuing quarterly share guidance and reports. Instead, Paul proved that a successful and long-term multi-stakeholder model worked delivering a total shareholder return of 290% during his tenure.
As CEO, Unilever was one of the highest-performing companies in the industry. Paul highlighted the business case for the 2030 development agenda when appointed to the U.N. Secretary General’s High-level Panel (SDG) which he still champions. He is a founder member of the Business & Sustainable Development Commission by UN.
“a standout CEO of the past decade”. Financial Times
Paul Polman has numerous awards for his contributions towards responsible business. Some of them are WWF’s Duke of Edinburgh Gold Conservation Medal (2013), the UN Foundation’s Champion for Global Change Award (2014), the Rainforest Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award (2014), the Oslo Business for Peace Award (2015), and the UN Environment Programme’s Champion of the Earth Award (2015).
Data that support the management
Some hard data reflects the transformation that Polman has given Unilever since his arrival. The factories have 47% less CO2 emissions and, at the same time, generate more products. In turn, the impact in relation to waste from consumer use has been reduced by approximately 29% since 2010. On the other hand, the amount of waste that reaches landfills was reduced by 85%.
In another order, official data from the company ignores that, based on the improvements they have introduced, they have saved close to US$ 430 million, from 2008 to 2016. In addition, in 2015, the multinational carried out an analysis of its main brands and found that the 12 sustainable living brands accounted for almost half of the company’s growth, growing 30% faster than the rest of the company.
Despite being a responsible businessman, Polman is also a great Philanthropist. Moreover, he is also a founder of a charity called “The Kilimanjaro Blind Trust”, to enlighten visually impaired children in Africa with literacy.
He Chairs IMAGINE, a social venture dedicated to systems change, and Saïd Business School, and he is Vice-Chair of the UN Global Compact as well as a B Team Leader. Paul is the Honorary Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, which he led for two years.
Book: “Net Positive” – giving more than they take, published in 2021
Exploding fifty years of corporate dogma, Paul Polman and megatrends guru Andrew Winston argue that, to thrive, companies must become “Net Positive” – giving more than they take.
Publishing their new survival handbook for business leaders Polman and Winston reveal, for the first time, key lessons from Unilever and pioneering companies around the world, showing how businesses can profit by fixing the world’s problems, not creating them.
This exhilarating how-to provides guidance to executives and investors, working across sectors and at all levels, on how to secure their business’ future while tackling some of our greatest shared challenges, from climate change to race inequality and social injustice. As much a human transformation story as a business transformation story, “Net Positive” explains that successful businesses need to reorient themselves from the inside, as well as their relationships with their competitors, civil society and political power brokers. Crucially, it sets out how to do it.
Paul has been an excellent speaker with vast experience in leadership, change management, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and action to tackle climate change. He is the man who knows how to combine lasting economic growth along with reducing the environmental footprints of business.
Paul Polman’s speaking topics are (in either English of Dutch)
We booked Paul to speak to Africa’s largest mobile communications companies leadership team in February 2022. Here is Paul’s overall evaluation for reference:
"Just a heartful thanks for your contribution and inspiration to our leaders at the MTN GLG 2022. Your message was extremely well received and thank you for customising your talk to reflect application for MTN and our leaders as they run, transform and reinvent for 2022." Regards Charl