Why Unilever is not BPPosted by nsverjensky in blog February 28, 2013
In 1997 BP had a big idea that could change the world. “Beyond Petroleum” was a radical, disruptive move in the oil industry. By announcing it, CEO Lord John Browne acknowledged climate change and committed the company to managing carbon and exploring alternative energy.
We all know the story of what happened next. “Beyond Petroleum” failed because it was never linked to BP’s business strategy. The idea lived more as Browne’s personal vision than it ever did as a real direction for the company. More than a decade later, consistent underperformance on basic health and safety and ultimately Deepwater Horizon are the results.
Today’s leading corporate sustainability responses are not just different from “Beyond Petroleum” — they mark the start of a new phase in the long, hard journey to sustainable business models.
This phase gives sustainability a new strategic role in business. From Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan to IBM’s Smarter Planet, GE’s Ecomagination and Kingfisher’s Net Positive, leaders are doing more than putting a shiny brand and marketing message around their big ideas.
These companies are raising sustainability to a strategic level for three powerful reasons:
- To solve strategic business challenges.
- To drive growth and innovation.
- To shape a long-term direction.
Visit GreenBiz.com to read the full article.