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1Background of this caseIn January 2009, when Paul Polman was appointed CEO of Unilever, he inherited a companyin long-term decline at the beginning of a major global financial crisis. As the first outsiderever recruited to lead the company, Polman lost little time in challenging the existing strategyand organization. But the biggest change he made was to introduce the Unilever SustainableLiving Plan (USLP).A commitment that placed three “sustainability” goals at the core of the company’s strategy: To help 1 billion people improve their health, to halve the environmental footprint of makingand using Unilever products, and to enhance the livelihood of those in its value chain. Thecase describes how the new CEO then had to convince skeptical internal and externalstakeholders why a struggling company in a tough competitive environment should embracesuch bold nonfinancial goals. It then follows how he translated his radically different vision into strategies and prioritiesthat could be implemented by a global company with 170,000 employees. In the process, thecase explores how Unilever’s top team had to adapt and adjust its structures, systems,1 | P a g e
processes, people and culture in order to implement Unilever Sustainable Living Plan(USLP). The case concludes as Polman and his top team face some key decisions in 2015. 1Should they double down on their original 2020 Unilever Sustainable Living PlanUnilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) objectives.2Should they scale back in the face of some strong economic headwinds. Or3Should they pivot to a new transformational strategic agenda.2Issue StatementHow can unilever increase a declining sales growth while diversifying the unileversustainable living plan throughout the company and minimizing it’s environmental footprintin regards to internal green house gases and water use?3Success Story of Unilever through Sustainability2 | P a g e
Prevalent in over 190 countries, Unilever is one of the oldest multinational companies. It is the world largest consumer goods company according to a report in 2012. Their main products for sale include food, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products. And above all Unilever remains Europe’s seventh most valuable company. CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman unravelled quite a few things about how Unilever is enjoying its success ride. Paul Polman is convinced that businesses that addressboth the direct concerns of citizens and the needs of the environmentwill prosper over the long term. Unilever launched a project Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) in the year 2010. The launch was an absolute success as the company promised to double in size and at the same time having its environmental footprint. Unilever has major plans and targets which they are set out to achieve by the year 2020.