Paul Polman has been CEO of Unilever since January 2009. Under his leadership, Unilever has an ambitious vision to fully decouple its growth from overall environmental footprint and increase its positive social impact through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.
Polman actively seeks cooperation with other companies to implement sustainable, long-term business strategies and drive systemic change. He is Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a Member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum and a Member of the B Team, and sits on the board of the UN Global Compact and the Consumer Goods Forum, where he co-chairs the Sustainability Committee.
Polman’s commitment to long-term, sustainable capitalism is reflected in his position as a Member of the Global Board of Directors of Financing Capitalism for the Long-Term (FCLT), whose report Measuring the economic impact of short-termism
provides evidence that a long-term approach can lead to superior performance for revenue and earnings, investment, market capitalization and job creation.
In recognition of his contribution to responsible business, Polman has received numerous awards and accolades including the Rainforest Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award (2014), the Oslo Business for Peace Award (2015), the UN Environment Programme’s Champion of the Earth Award (2015) and the Singapore Government Public Service Star (2016). In 2016, he received France’s Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, in recognition of his efforts in galvanising business action on sustainability and for his involvement during the historic 2015 UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.
Polman earned a BBA/BA from the University of Groningen, Netherlands, in 1977, and an MA Economics and MBA finance/international marketing from the University of Cincinnati in 1979. He has been awarded honorary degrees from a number of universities, including Northumbria, Liverpool, Groningen, Cincinnati, and an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Cranfield.