Unilever CEO Paul Polman this afternoon addressed 1,300 young leaders from 182 countries during the third annual One Young World Summit, challenging them to remake capitalism. The three-day summit brings together delegates focused on creating lasting and positive global change.
Polman called on the audience to start businesses that create opportunities for others to get involved and that drive positive social change—and not to rely on government or international consensus to solve issues like climate change – harnessing their youth and leveraging movements for good that are happening already.
“A 21st Century form of business [is] where the everyday consumer is helping to shape the social contract—moving from a value-based transaction to a values-based partnership,” he said.
The challenge is one that Unilever itself is undertaking. In 2010, the company pledged to decouple business growth from its environmental impact and launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, an ambitious blueprint for a new business model underpinned by a set of around 50 goals aimed at halving the company’s environmental impact, sourcing 100 percent of its agricultural raw materials sustainably, and helping one billion people improve their health and well-being.
“We want to show that it is possible to do well and do good on a mass scale. We want to show that big doesn’t have to be bad and that it’s not only small that’s beautiful,” Polman said to the assembled audience at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
Polman is a second-year counsellor to the young delegates—part of an esteemed group providing inspiration and assistance, including: musician Bob Geldof, KBE; Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus; former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan; Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey; musician Joss Stone; model and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova; and campaigner Jamie Oliver.
Access a full copy of Polman’s speech here.
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with operations in over 100 countries and sales in 190. Consumers buy 170 billion Unilever packs around the world every year, and our products are used over two billion times a day. We have more than 171,000 employees, and generated annual sales of €46.5 billion in 2011.
Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most loved brands including thirteen €1 billion brands, and global leadership in most categories in which we operate. The portfolio features iconic brands such as: Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Dove, Vaseline, Lifebuoy, Omo, Cif, Signal and Domestos.
Unilever’s ambition is to double the size of our business, while reducing our overall environmental impact (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal). We are also committed to doing what we can to improve health, nutrition and hygiene, with a target to help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, as well as sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020. All of these goals are itemized in more than 50 time-based targets in our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.
Unilever has led the Food Producers sector in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 14 consecutive years. In 2012 we were also named leader of the Food and Beverage supersector. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. In 2011 Unilever led the Climate Counts Company Scorecard and for the second year we topped the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility latest annual survey (2012).
For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com.
About One Young World
One Young World was founded in 2009 by David Jones and Kate Robertson. We are a London-based charity that gathers together young people from around the world, helping them make lasting connections to create positive change.
We stage an annual Summit (see below for highlight videos of 2010 and 2011 Summits) where the young delegates, backed by the One Young World Counselors, debate and formulate solutions for the pressing issues the world faces. No youth-dominated event outside the Olympic Games brings together more countries than One Young World.
In 2010 and 2011 delegates were guided by a line-up of Counselors that included Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Bob Geldof, Kofi Annan, Professor Muhammad Yunus, HKH Prince Haakon of Norway, Jamie Oliver, Wael Ghonim and Joss Stone. Click here for full list of Counselors.
After each Summit, the newly-minted One Young World Ambassadors work on their own projects and initiatives or lend the power of the One Young World network to those already in existence. Of those in employment, many return to their companies and set about creating change from within, energizing their corporate environment. Since the 2010 Summit, One Young World Ambassadors have been creating change on a global level. Previous initiatives have included the presentation of The Missing Millennium Development Goal to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the creation of the first-ever African Student Leaders Summit.
To date, almost four million people have been directly impacted by the work of One Young World Ambassadors. There are currently more than 125 projects and initiatives involving in excess of 100 countries.