Unilever teams up with the University of Cambridge

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever teams up with the University of Cambridge

Related tags Sustainability Asia Unilever

Global consumer goods manufacturer Unilever has partnered up with the University of Cambridge to further the university’s Sustainability Leadership programme (CPSL) with the recent launch of its first seminar in Asia.

The ‘Cambridge–Unilever Sustainability Leadership seminar’ explored how strategic responses to sustainability concerns can enable business growth and competitiveness.

CPSL delivers conferences in sustainable practice for global businesses and NGOs, and the recent event in Singapore participates in a growing emphasis on sustainability concerns in the Asia region.

Sustainable Asia

CPSL’s expansion to include Asia responds to the rising importance of sustainability concerns in the region both locally and globally.

To tackle the most significant social and environmental challenges of today, there are few, if any, more significant places to be working than Asia​,” confirmed Polly Courtice, CPSL Director.

Gail Klintworth, Unilever’s chief sustainability officer confirmed Asia’s relevance: “this is where the nexus between growing incomes, consumption and finite natural resources is most evident​.”

The launch follows Beijing and Singapore’s record air pollution and haze levels last year, and water shortages in 22 out of India’s 32 biggest cities. Klintworth explained that the company considers Singapore, ‘at the heart of Asia’, a fitting location for the conference.

The programme

Cambridge lent its network of academics to lead the seminar, who joined industry leaders and guest contributors at Unilever’s Four Acres site in Singapore for the four-day course.

Under the theme “Reconciling Profitability & Sustainability”, the course was also attended by representatives from relevant government bodies in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Singapore PUB.

Klintworth said; “this first-of-its kind course will equip leaders with the insights, perspectives, relationships, and resources to build the new business models that enable responsible and equitable growth​.”

Unilever’s sustainability

Unilever’s sponsorship of the programme forms part of its sustainability targets, which include increasing the company’s positive social impact and the intention to source all agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020.

Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing our positive social impact.​”

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