Unilever CEO Paul Polman Talks about Ways to Survive Perfect Storm in SKOLKOVO Business School
The lecture named Leadership in a Perfect Storm focused on the key principles of leadership in unstable times and on the role that business plays in creating a more sustainable world.
"The world changes, and many people are having hard times keeping up with it. Some people experience insecurity, others live in unsanitary conditions. One in every eight people around the globe goes to bed hungry, and all of it is happening right now, at this very moment. We can see the improvements in the standards of living in many countries, but we still cannot stop global poverty and climatic deterioration," said Paul Polman, defining the problems.
According to him, it is business that can drive progress in such conditions, as these problems have a direct influence on it. He also said that nowadays the price of inaction starts to become greater than the cost of action. There is always a risk of losing when you try to get involved in social causes, but leaving such problems unaddressed means aggravating the troubles that would cost society far more in the end.
In his lecture, Paul Polman also talked about Unilever's initiatives in the area of social responsibility, stressed the importance of a global initiative on establishing 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development and appealed for the gathered participants to build long-term sustainable strategies of business development: "I believe that leadership is needed now more than ever because we have reached a critical point. The modern business generation of Russia is learning to see the situation in the world not as a problem but rather as an opportunity to change things for the better. This alone is an uptrend, without any doubt."
This lecture in the Speakers Nights format was the final one in the series of events confined to the meeting of the International Advisory Board of the Business School. Earlier on the SKOLKOVO campus, there were held a business case festival, a Board meeting led by Dmitry Medvedev, and an awarding ceremony for the participants of the SKOLKOVO Trend Award festival.