Written by Paul Polman
After a depressing and dreary 2020, the new year has not come a moment too soon. The coronavirus pandemic has not yet ended its whirlwind of destruction, and it promises to loom large over the first half of 2021. But one day soon, we can reasonably hope it will be over.
In an effort to look forward to that day and beyond, I have been asking my grandchildren what they want to see happen in the world not just this year, but by 2030. By then, my grandson Ryan will be nearly 20, and his sister Madeleine will be a teenager.
They both call me Captain Planet, a kind label first applied to me by the Harvard Business Review. But superheroes have a habit of being human under the cape. My generation started out as big polluters, becoming climate change converts late in life. Even at Unilever—a company with a history of social responsibility dating back to the 1880s—placing sustainability at the heart of the firm’s strategy was controversial with some of its stakeholders.
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