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Unilever CEO Polman tells governments 'no action on climate change, no economic growth'

Date: 18 May 2015

Paul Polman, CEO Unilever

Paul Polman has called on world leaders to set clear targets on greenhouse gas emissions to force the pace of innovation. Talking ahead of the Paris climate summit, he said that business leaders could help create 'political licence' for governments to promote clean energy.

He told the BBC that Unilever had faced business costs over $300m due to extreme weather events in different parts of the world. "There was a belief among some politicians that the main challenge is job creation and economic growth, and if we get side-tracked with climate we might not achieve the economic growth. The reality is, if we don't tackle climate change we might not achieve the economic growth."

Polman, along with Richard Branson and Ratan Tata, is part of a group aiming to focus on the issue. Of course, there remain other businesses whose current profitability depends on the maximised utilisation of fossil fuels. For example, the Koch Brothers of fossil fuel firm Koch Industries are spending $900m as part of their continuing campaign in favour of fossil fuels and in opposition to state renewable energy provisions.


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