The Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Medal was created in 1970 and is awarded annually by WWF for outstanding service to the environment. This year the WWF has awarded the Medal to Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer of international consumer goods group Unilever. Polman is a widely recognized sustainability leader who has led Unilever on one of the most successful sustainability journeys ever witnessed in the business community.
Under Polman, Unilever has built a new business model that enables responsible and equitable growth, embedded in the ambitious vision to double its size while reducing its overall environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact.
“Through his bold vision and leadership, Paul Polman has provided a compelling example of how businesses can grow without harming the planet,” said Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International. “Paul has shown what building sustainable supply chains – from raw materials to consumer goods – can mean in practice, and demonstrated that corporate leaders can be part of the solution to major environmental and social challenges.”
Polman’s advocacy goes beyond the company he heads, he is also very much involved in forging policy, private sector leadership through the G20 and serving on the high-level panel convened by the U.N. Secretary General to help shape development of post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
“The sheer size and complexity of the issues we face today can only be resolved through large scale international partnerships and other forms of collaboration,” said Paul Polman. “It is a particular honour for me therefore to accept this award from an organization which has set the standard in driving these partnerships and in helping to make the world a better place for all. Unilever and WWF themselves have a long history of working together on transformational projects and I have been proud to build on that relationship during my time as CEO. This award gives us renewed energy and added confidence that Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is the right model at the right time”.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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