EPISODE 4: Beyond Greenwashing: The Business of Climate Action with Paul Polman and Cameron Hepburn
More and more CEOs are sounding all the right notes on the climate crisis. But is big business really ready to be part of the solution? Peter talks to Paul Polman, who became an iconic CEO by putting sustainability at the centre of Unilever’s business, and Cameron Hepburn, Oxford professor of environmental economics.
“We were pretty scared, but the challenges of climate change and growing inequality needed to be addressed with courage, and courage is on the border with fear.”
In this episode we focus on the role of big business when it comes to the climate crisis. More and more CEOs are sounding all the right notes on sustainability. But is big business really ready to be part of the solution? Or is it just greenwashing?
Host Peter Drobac talks to Cameron Hepburn, Oxford professor of environmental economics, about the vital role business has when it comes to combating climate change.
He’s also joined by Paul Polman, one of the first CEOs of a big firm to walk the walk on this issue.
For ten years Paul was at the helm of Unilever – one of the oldest and largest consumer goods companies in the world. Whether you’ve heard of Unilever or not you’ve probably got some of their products in your cupboard – from tea to ice-cream to soap, Unilever’s hundreds of brands have massive global reach.
During his decade at Unilever, Paul became an iconic CEO by putting sustainability at the centre of the firm’s business. He was also an early champion of the Sustainable Development Goals, working with then UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, to build private sector support for the SDGs.
Paul has since gone on to co-found Imagine, which aims to bring businesses together to combat climate change and inequality.
This episode also features a special update from Cameron Hepburn about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the climate emergency.
Reimagine is a new podcast about people who are inventing the future. Presented by Oxford Answers and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School. New episodes on Thursdays.
Paul Polman (@PaulPolman), co-founder and chair of sustainability consulting firm Imagine.
Cameron Hepburn (@camjhep), professor of environmental economics and director of the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford.
Peter Drobac (@peterdrobac), Director of the @SkollCentre for Social Entrepreneurship, Oxford Saïd Business School
Want to learn more about the show? Check out www.reimaginepodcast.com.
Have a question for Peter? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Producer/editor – Eve Streeter for Stabl