Subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you find your favorite podcasts!

Bringing Values to Life with the ‘Dauntless’ Paul Polman

“We are at this crucial juncture where we really have to decide if we’re going to live together in harmony and in sync with planet Earth or if we become one of the statistics of extinguished species. I know which side of history I want to be on.”Paul Polman: influencer, business leader, campaigner, and one of the pioneers of the stakeholder capitalism movement. From creating the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) during his tenure as CEO of Unilever to supporting CEOs in their work to implement purpose, Paul believes that the true definition of a billionaire is serving billions. His new book, Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take, is a roadmap for embedding purpose into an organization. In the book—and in this episode—Paul explains how Unilever brought the USLP to life through employees and embedded it into culture, operations, innovations, supply chain, customers, consumers, and communities. 

Paul joined host Carol Cone on Purpose 360 to explain what it means to be a net positive business today and why he will always be a “prisoner of hope” when it comes to solving our shared global challenges. 

Listen for insights from Paul on:

  • How a business philosophy that supports shared prosperity creates both social impact and financial returns.
  • Why exercising humility and recognizing that you can’t do everything on your own is vital to creating great impact.
  • Why it’s important to bring in NGOs and partnerships to learn and grow.
  • The three lessons Paul would share with a CEO trying to be net positive.

Links & Notes

  • (00:00) – Welcome to Purpose 360
  • (05:23) – Introducing Paul Polman
  • (08:55) – What is a “Net Positive” Company?
  • (13:48) – The USLP and Senior Leadership Culture
  • (19:56) – Partner to Win and Supplier Partnerships
  • (26:10) – Measurement
  • (29:56) – NGO Relationships
  • (33:48) – What does it feel like to be an employee?
  • (38:08) – The ESG Conversation on Wall Street
  • (43:22) – What are you most proud of?
  • (46:49) – Brand Management
  • (50:49) – Three Lessons to Start the Journey
  • (57:54) – Net Positive Lessons

Business is an unlikely hero: a force for good working to solve society’s most pressing challenges, while boosting bottom line. This is social purpose at work. And it’s a dynamic journey.

Purpose 360 is a masterclass in unlocking the potential of social purpose to ignite business and social impact. We illuminate the growing impacts of purpose, from engaging employees and fostering deeper consumer loyalty to inspiring product innovation and increasing market share.

Scroll To Top