Sustainability as Opportunity: Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan

Joanne Lawrence, Andreas Rasche, Kevina Kenny

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Sustainability, as it relates to both social and environmental issues, is treated very differently among companies that incorporate the subject into their business strategies. In this case, we explore sustainability at Unilever whose management addresses it not as a risk to be managed or cost to be avoided, but as an opportunity for competitive advantage and growth. With emerging markets as the backdrop, we learn about Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, and what the company has done to integrate sustainability principles into its business model and build on its core competencies, such as innovative product development and marketing expertise, to realise the potential of the fast-growing emerging markets (57% of its 2014 revenues came from emerging markets compared to less than 17% of most multinationals). Issues considered are the role of corporate culture and competencies, the importance of committed and courageous leadership, the willingness to set ambitious goals, and the challenge of creating internal and external alignment around strategic goals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManaging Sustainable Business : An Executive Education Case and Textbook
EditorsGilbert G. Lenssen, N. Craig Smith
Place of PublicationDordrecht
PublisherSpringer Science+Business Media
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9789402411423
ISBN (Electronic)9789402411447
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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