UNILEVER CEO: 'The Very Essence Of Capitalism Is Under Threat'

paul polman

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Jo Confino at the Guardian caught up with Unilever CEO Paul Polman at the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, and the exec had some strong words about how people view the concept of business.”The very essence of capitalism is under threat as business is now seen as a personal wealth accumulator, he tells the Guardian. 

“We have to bring this world back to sanity and put the greater good ahead of self-interest. We need to fight very hard to create an environment out there that is more long term focused and move away from short termism.”

Polman believes that the earth’s future is in the hands of businesses — not politicians. He’s so cynical about politicians because of what he has seen at Rio 20+. They lack ambition, he says.

Instead, Polman says companies are the ones taking the lead.

“We are entering a very interesting period of history where the responsible business world is running ahead of the politicians,” Polman tells the Guardian. “The political climate is very difficult and to some extent paralysed.”

Unilever has been particularly outspoken in its support for sustainable business, and has a massive ongoing project called the “Sustainability Living Plan” to back it up.

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