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Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability

Unilever’s New Global Strategy: Group B5

Competing through Sustainability

Submitted to: Dr. Mousumi Sengupta

PGDM No 17083-17091
Overview of the case

• This case mainly talks about one of Unilever’s core strategy (introduced by the then new CEO,
Paul Polman) – USLP and the challenges it faced during its inception and implementation.

• It traces the reforms the company had to make in order to keep pace with the changing
operating environment and come up with a renewed strategy to counter the problem of
stagnant growth.

• Finally, it describes the success of USLP and emphasises why it is important to keep updating
the program to match the demands of a dynamic environment.
Issues and Challenges

• Company saw the lowest sales growth in decades (stagnant growth).

• Could not meet GHG emission (went up by 4% per consumer) and water consumption
targets (fallen only by 2%).

• Company culture: Internally focused and Self-serving, instead of being customer


• Laying off of all major employees.

Issues and Challenges

• Some brands were concerned about lack of initiative, innovation, and even engagement
in other parts of the organisation.

• New strategy was greeted with nervous anticipation, they were faced with a lot of

• People were unclear about their roles.

• They viewed USLP as a separate initiative that was unconnected to the their strategy.

• Many were concerned about the cost of implementing a sustainability-based strategy.


• Perseverance towards sustainability. • Business should majorly be about

profits, CSR only a part of it.
• Eliminating deforestation.
• Laying off of top management
• Encouraged outdoor activities and
hygiene for kids (Ariel and Lifebuoy).
• No proper research as to why the
• Sustainable sourcing leading to win- sales was going down.
win situation (Knorr).
• Concentrating on CSR by allocating
• Sustainability applied to every more than the required budget.
member of the value-chain
• Double the business – how?

• Concentrate on other measures to boost sales such as Sales promotion, converting non-users
to users, research could have been conducted as to why sales was going down in the first

• Invest in R&D for improvement in quality of products or for introducing innovative products.

• Backward integration for improved quality of raw materials.

• Along, with drip irrigation, they could use methods such as rainwater harvesting, etc.

• Spread awareness, conduct workshops, about the excess water consumption and increased
GHG emissions and how it can be reduced.

• CSR is a very good initiative taken by companies towards all the stakeholders
such as employees, customers, environment, etc., however, care should be
taken to maintain the company’s goal towards achieving success, and not
undergo CSR activities at the cost of reducing profits and growth, because then
eventually, it is the stakeholders who suffer.

• Therefore, CSR should be carefully undertaken such that there is a win-win

situation for everyone involved in it.
Thank You