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STRATEGIC MARKETIG CASE 3 Unilever’s New Global Strategy- Competing through Sustainability Introduction In January 2009, when Paul Polman was appointed CEO of Unilever, he inherited a company in long-term decline at the beginning of a major global financial crisis. As the first outsider ever recruited to lead the company, Polman lost little time in challenging the existing strategy and organization. But the biggest change he made was to introduce the Unilever Sustainable Living 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 making and using Unilever products, and to enhance the livelihood of those in its value chain. The case describes how the new CEO then had to convince sceptical internal and external stakeholders why a struggling company in a tough competitive environment should embrace such bold nonfinancial goals. It then follows how he translated his radically different vision into strategies and priorities that could be implemented by a global company with 170,000 employees. In the process, the case explores how Unilever's top team had to adapt and adjust is structures, systems, processes, people and culture in order to implement USLP. The case concludes as Polman and his top team face some key decisions in 2015. Should they double down on their original 2020 US LP objectives? Should they scale back in the face of some strong economic headwinds? Or should they pivot to a new transformational strategic agenda? Questions: 1. How would you evaluate Paul Polman's 2010 decision to implement a new strategy based on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan? What benefits did it offer? What risks did it present? Answer The Unilever Strategy defines three key missions: 'improving health and wellbeing,' 'reducing environmental impact,' and 'enhancing livelihoods,' while each goal has a set of specific objectives. It's sustainable development initiatives are focused on four main areas: greenhouse gas emissions, water conservation, waste reduction, and sustainable sourcing. USLP aims to decouple business growth from the environmental impact to reduce its value chain's overall environmental footprint while increasing in size. By 2020 it aims to help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and wellbeing, halve the