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WHAT’S STOPPING BOARDS FROM TAKING ACTION ON SUSTAINABILITY?



(This article was published by INSEAD)

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Boards need to look past the low-hanging fruit and start making tough decisions.

With the 2020 target dates of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) fast approaching, and the recent departure of sustainability champion Paul Polman as CEO, it will be interesting to see whether the firm can maintain its profits and reputation for sustainability excellence under the leadership of Alan Jope.


At the very least, Jope can count on working with directors who support sustainability and know the importance of incorporating it into broader company strategy. That the company is on track to meet around 80 percent of its USLP commitments suggests two things. First, its board members understand that their corporate sustainability obligations extend beyond a fiscal responsibility to shareholders. Second, they see that integrating sustainability into a company’s purpose and processes is vital to the company’s success and the longevity of the planet…

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