Learning from leaders - Unilever: Leading system-level change to address Southeast Asia’s plastics problem

21 Dec 2022
The sustainability transition is accelerating around the globe. Governments and large companies have set net-zero targets, driving sustainability-oriented innovations not only within companies, but throughout supply chains and industries. Companies will have to adopt, either to comply with requirements from regulators and customers, or because of the enormous new growth opportunity that a future of sustainable production and consumption presents. In our ‘Learning from leaders’ series of interviews, we speak to some of the most pioneering leaders around the world, to learn how they are preparing their organisations to capture the opportunities the sustainability transition brings.  
Unilever: Leading system-level change to address Southeast Asia’s plastics problem
Insights from a recent interview with Vivekanand Sistla, Personal Care R&D Director Unilever SEA & ANZ Unilever is one of the multinationals with the largest reach in the world, their products being used by over 2.5 billion people every day. With over Euros 50 billion in sales and over 150,000 employees, the company is also aiming to be a ‘force for good’. It has made firm and ambitious commitments to improve the health of the planet through targeting net zero by 2039, reducing the use of virgin plastics by 50%, introducing regenerative agriculture and reducing food waste. It also aims to improve people’s health and wellbeing through quality nutrition, and build a fairer and more inclusive society with its supply chain partners. In this interview, Vivekanand shares valuable insights into how Unilever applies system-thinking to address Southeast Asia’s plastics problem at multiple levels and how Southeast Asia can leapfrog towards world-class plastics circularity, leveraging data technology and progressive regulation. He also shares his view of the 3 critical leadership traits needed for success in the sustainability transition that the world needs: 1. Leading with purpose and vision; 2. Ability to collaborate effectively end-to-end with diverse stakeholders; 3. Understanding and continuously improving ourselves and those around us.  
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