Unilever CEO Paul Polman has received the UN’s highest environmental accolade, the Champion of the Earth Award, for leading the business world towards a new model of sustainable growth.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, “He has been an untiring advocate in both a professional and personal capacity to make the world of business commit to being part of the solution to the manifold challenges of sustainable development.”
Under Polman’s leadership, Unilever has already achieved zero waste to landfill across its entire global manufacturing network, and ushered in a plan to halve the environmental footprint of the company’s products by 2020.
“I’m deeply honored to accept this award,” said Polman. “As the United Nations prepares to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals and agree a global climate deal, it is more important than ever that businesses take active leadership to show that growth and sustainability are not in conflict. Quite the opposite – in our experience sustainability drives growth.
“We have reached a tipping point for change in 2015, a once in a lifetime opportunity to end poverty and tackle climate change. But to make a real difference we need everyone on board – businesses, governments and NGOs. Now is the time to make this a fairer, more prosperous, more sustainable world.”