Unilever has been recognized as a sustainability leader in a 2011 survey by SustainAbility, and the Ethical Corporation awarded the company its Responsible Business Award in the High Performance category. CEO Paul Polman talks about how the company has lowered its carbon emissions by 40 percent in the last ten years, how, as a large palm oil producer it is looking to move toward sustainable palm oil, and how it is working to change consumer habits to aid in conservation.
Polman urges other businesses to move toward sustainability. "It is a very simple message: you can wait for governments and use it as an excuse, you can wait for technology and use it as an excuse, but there are many things we can simply do now, and that business can do now. And it does make good business sense. There may be a slight cost in acting in some cases, but I think they are the exception. The cost of not acting and the cost of failure is going to be far higher."
Andrea Newell has more than ten years of experience designing, developing and writing ERP e-learning materials for large corporations in several industries. She was a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and a contract consultant for companies like IBM, BP, Marathon Oil, Pfizer, and Steelcase, among others. She is a writer and former editor at TriplePundit and a social media blog fellow at The Story of Stuff Project. She has contributed to In Good Company (Vault's CSR blog), Evolved Employer, The Glass Hammer, EcoLocalizer and CSRwire. She is a volunteer at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and @anewell3p on Twitter.