Saturday 12 January 2013

Unilever: Innovation for Sustainability through Partnerships

Graham Cross, Director of Commercial Alliances (Global), Unilever (The Netherlands) said his company had pledged to double in size ($40 to $80 bn) while reducing their environmental impact and to achieve this they would need open innovation partnerships with a variety of other companies. 

  •          Closed innovation:  developing your own new ideas in-house for your own  sole use. 
  •          Open  innovation:  developing internally or externally sourced ideas for use inside or outside your existing product range. 
  •          Co-Creation:  your ideas for my business or my ideas for your business.  A truly open partnership.
  •          Since 1995 Unilever had strengthened the business through mergers and acquisitions to the extent that 40% of the 1995 brands had been disposed of and 40% of today’s brands were new acquisitions since 1995.
  •          Unilever’s direct environmental impact was only 3% of the impact of the total value chain of all their products.
  •          Since 1995 they had cut CO2 from energy generation by 41%, water use by 65% and waste products by 73%.
  •          There was a disconnect between consumers beliefs about sustainability and the action they take in the supermarket. 
    •    “My actions won’t make any difference to the huge problems faced by the world”
    •     48% won’t pay a premium for sustainability
    •     Most are uncertain about what is good and what is bad
    •     Only 9-16% of consumers trust the claims made by retailers/manufacturers, but 50% trust NGO’s
  •          Sustainability marketing has to be personalised as in the OMO Turkey campaign.

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