In 2011, the Unilever CEO Paul Polman launched the “Sustainable Living Plan” integrating every aspect of Unilever’s business. The plan called for Unilever to double its sales and halve its environmental impact within a decade; “It’s a realistic and difficult business model… but in a world where increasingly people feel that the system is unfair to them or where they feel excluded, where there is an enormous resource stress, companies that don’t more actively become part of the solution will become obsolete.”, he said recently in the INSEAD Knowledge.
“We are increasingly more successful in what I call a VUCA environment – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.” Polman says. Perhaps that’s why he also understands that in today’s interconnected world, social media is a powerful tool in the hands of the people, and the consumer is not afraid to say what he wants. “In the digital age we’ve seen the power of the consumer coming up and I always tell our people here that if they can bring down a regime in Egypt in about 17 days they can bring down an irresponsible company in nanoseconds…The consumer is really the boss and there is no bigger power than the power of the wallet.” , he said. A very pragmatic and Darwinian paradigm from a global firm and his forward looking CEO. You can see more about this new paradigm for sustainable growth here.