Alan Job of Unilever says the company is “not going back” on the sustainability agenda
Unilever CEO Alan Jope reaffirmed the consumer goods giant’s sustainability agenda on Tuesday, saying it “will not back down” despite the “anti-sustainability” and “anti-wake-up” reaction.
The CEO, speaking during Tuesday’s session at the Clinton Global Initiative 2022 meeting in New York, described the “fight against sustainability” and an incredibly dangerous “backlash” for the world. He also argued that the saying “we have a climate emergency” is losing popularity.
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“The first thing Unilever will do is we will not back down from this agenda despite these populist accusations,” he said.
“There are many commitments, but not many plans,” he added. Unilever unveiled its Climate Action Plan in March 2021, announcing a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the company to zero by 2030 and across its “value chain” to net zero by 2039.
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Job said the consumer goods giant put its sustainability plan to a shareholder vote “passed with the support of 99.6% of shareholders.” He credited BlackRock with spearheading the support and described the investment firm as “one of the best commentators on sustainability and what companies should be doing.”
BlackRock, headed by Larry Fink, has become a leader in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing and pushing other companies to embrace such agendas in a commitment to decarbonization, sustainability and social justice.
Fink CEO and Sustainability Energy for All, Damilola Ogunbei, also participated in the session hosted by former President Bill Clinton.
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During the session, Job also appeared to advocate for more consistent reporting on sustainability metrics. He previously expressed his support for standardized and mandatory reporting metrics on ESG in a September 2020 tweet.
He said on the committee, referring to separate initiatives by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, a global body the Sustainability Board and others.
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“We need to go a little slower to go faster” on consistent ESG reporting metrics, he said.