Sustainability has become the buzz word in many companies and industries in recent years. All major organizations operate some form of sustainability program, as there will be certification of the amount of documentation on their website. But most of them also publish their responsible attitude to a certain degree of transparency to their stakeholders.
Unilever is an Anglo-Dutch multinational corporation that owns many of the world's consumer product brands, from food and beverage to home and personal care products. The company has always claimed to be driven by a strong set of values and has done a lot in terms of sustainability during the last decade. However, in 2008, the multinational corporation has been accused by Greenpeace UK for causing deforestation. Even if Unilever has already chaired the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the NGO claims that Unilever has been buying palm oil from suppliers that are damaging Indonesia's rainforests and causing the extermination of orangutans.
Shortly after these allegations, Unilever suspended future purchases of palm oil and claimed that, it will use certified palm oil as it becomes available. In addition, the corporation decided to take a collaborative approach with Greenpeace, and both organizations agreed to form a coalition that will also include multinational companies such as Nestle, Cadbury, Kraft, Procter & Gamble and other diverse partners. This collaboration is supposed to tackle the issue of sustainable palm oil production and is run alongside the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil.
Today, less than 4% of the annual production of palm oil is certified sustainable and the RSPO demands some serious reforms. Moreover, with an appropriate communication strategy about the palm oil issue, corporations such as Unilever could have been more efficient in finding a solution that would also add value to its corporation. I believe that Unilever has not been proactive enough to resolve the palm oil issue in a way that would have maximized its value economically, environmentally and socially.
All multinational companies are now involved in sustainability measures to a certain extent. Larger companies clearly have to work harder to keep their business sustainable, as they consume more raw materials, produce more packaging wastes, employ more people, rely on a greater number of suppliers, operate more production facilities and need to convince more people of their sustainability involvement.
This global corporation sustainability report will cover the case of Unilever, one of the leaders of the food and consumer goods industry in Europe and throughout the world. The international corporation recently claimed that, corporate social responsibility is at the heart of its business. However, it seems that the transition to a responsible and sustainable company is still ongoing as Unilever has attracted a variety of criticisms from environmental, political and human rights activists on not achieving the aims it is trying to communicate on a certain number of topics.
[...] This collaboration will tackle the issue of sustainable palm oil production and will run alongside the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil. c. Value impact Why did Greenpeace chose to attack Unilever? Because Unilever is one of the largest users of palm oil in the world, funneling up to 1 in every 20 liters produced from Indonesian rainforests into some of its many products. The global corporation has therefore a huge influence on the way palm oil is made. Even if palm oil is mainly used in low margin products, it is still a great contribution of the global corporation's revenue. [...]
[...] Strategy of the organization in terms of sustainability a. Corporate policy and philosophy Although Unilever's corporate philosophy is roughly changed depending on the country of operation, the over-all vision of the firm is practically the same. Its corporate philosophy is either “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” in Australia; “We work to create a better future every day” in the United States; or even “We meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life” in UK. (Exhibit According to Australasian VP of Marketing David McNeil, the company philosophy has not changed much over time, and despite a huge number of brands in Unilever's portfolio, the core values can be distilled into a simple ideal: “as a company we believe we can help to create a better future every day for everybody. [...]
[...] They help the company to formulate strategy, agree on policy and set specific goals regarding sustainability and responsibility concerns. c. Corporate objectives, goals and plans regarding environmental and social issues According to its website, the aim of Unilever is to double the size of its business, “but to do this in a way that reduces our [its] total environmental impact. This includes not just our [its] operations but the impacts associated with the total lifecycle of our [its] products.” The firm also added: “It is an ambitious goal and one which will require new ways of doing business and working closely with others.” Regarding environmental concerns, Unilever claims to achieve its objectives in five main areas: sustainable agricultural sourcing, climate change, water, packaging and eco-efficiency in manufacturing. [...]
[...] In Bangladesh, Unilever founded a floating hospital that offers free medical care. In Ghana, it teaches palm oil producers to reuse plant waste while providing potable water to the deprived local community. In India, the multi-national corporation helps thousand of women in remote villages start micro- enterprises. Although Unilever claims to be an organization driven by a strong set of values, many critics on environmental and social issues have been raised during the last years. Among others, Unilever has been accused in 2008 by Greenpeace UK for causing deforestation. [...]
[...] Unilever- Global corporate sustainability report TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive summary Introduction 1. Overview of the Global Corporation: Unilever a. Products and services offered b. Unilever in the world 2. Strategy of the organization in terms of sustainability a. Corporate policy and philosophy b. Management responsibilities for environmental and social issues c. Corporate objectives, goals and plans regarding environmental and social issues 3. [...]
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