In conversation with Paul Polman – virtual session on June 21st: The financial case for sustainability to complement the moral case for doing “the right thing”.
Most of us have long been convinced of the need for something to change, to help correct the seemingly universal path towards planetary self-destruction. Convinced, frustrated but perhaps also resigned in the face of the seeming enormity and complexity of the challenges ahead. Waiting for “something” to change. Or maybe waiting for “someone”.
Growing up, business-wise, as we all did with the PVP’s ringing true and John Pepper’s eternal words of pursuing the hard right even when tempted by the easy wrong, I’m sure many of you, like I, feel convinced of the imperative to do things for the greater good. But when it comes to huge topics such as climate change, global warming, migration, equal opportunity, poverty, hunger and so forth it is easy to simply feel overwhelmed and instead just play ostrich – hide our heads in the sand, hoping the danger will have blown over by the time we next look. While just minding our own business, maybe even with a twinge of guilt thrown in for good measure. Waiting for the “something”.
So what might be wrong with “waiting for something”? Maybe waiting is no longer an option. Maybe it’s not ‘something’ but ‘someone’. And above all, maybe that ‘someone’ is actually me. You. Us. Maybe WE need to be the someone?
Someone who certainly is someone is our great friend Paul Polman. Following his stellar P&G career and a stint with Nestle, Paul became the iconic CEO and chairman of Unilever, who during his decade at the helm is rightly credited with catapulting Unilever ahead, not just in terms of business results but in terms of value creation AND in terms of changing the corporate agenda towards one far more in tune with the future of the world and one directly inspired by, compatible with and inspirational for the UN’s SDGs.
Paul is now passionately campaigning for and getting directly involved in the global efforts to help business take responsibility for and actively contribute to a change of direction. With his latest contribution, Net Positive, Paul argues that the world does not need “Neutral by 2050” – no, it needs net positive and it needs it now. But Paul’s unique insight into the world of business as well as the world of both NGO’s and governments also helps him focus on the reality: that, as ever, if something needs to change, then it needs not just a vision and a rallying cry, it needs a tangible incentive. “Follow the Money”…
Net Positive is the story about how accelerating change towards a sustainable world is not a tradeoff to financial growth, quite the contrary. As soon as the cost of doing nothing exceeds the cost of doing something, change will happen.
Fresh from the World Economic Forum, Paul has agreed to an exclusive session with the P&G Geneva Alumni and the associates from P&G Alumni’s sponsoring partner, greyhairworks.
Tuesday June 21st, at 6pm CEST, Paul will speak to us about the case for Net Positive and how the shift can happen. Everyone should play a role, and anyone could play a role. We are all masters of own our immediate choices. Focusing less on the “Why?” and far more on the “How?” we will hear from Paul before engaging in a conversation and Q&A’s from the audience.
The event will run on Zoom – registration and a ticket is required. Registrations close at 4pm on the 21st, and zoom details & the e-book license will be sent to the registered email address 2 hours before the event. You have 3 ticket options:
Basic for CHF 15, which reserves a seat and access to an e-book copy of Net Positive;
Charity match for CHF 30 which also adds a matching donation to the P&G Alumni Geneva chapter’s nominated charities, which currently are all about supporting the humanitarian efforts required for Ukraine or
Charity Plus for CHF 50 – the same, just a bigger donation. If you can, please be generous – the victims of the war in Ukraine have many shapes, colours and needs – the more we can help, the more we fuel the hope and make an actual impact.
See you for “Net Positive”. Because ‘someone’ might just be you.
Jesper Wiegandt Gudrun Wiegandt Anne-Claire Moulin
President Secretary Treasurer
Get your ticket now through Eventbrite: