Companies putting shareholders above future of humanity: ex-CEO

The former CEO of client items big Unilever has taken a swipe at companies who prioritize short-term targets over long term ones rooted in sustainability.

Paul Polman has castigated some corporations who proclaim “they are the second coming” whereas concurrently slowing efforts down.

Speaking at CNBC’s Sustainable Future Forum on Monday, Polman — who’s the co-founder and co-chair of the social enterprise Imagine — stated there have been many corporations within the U.S. who had been “making major commitments to be net zero and to decarbonize their whole value chain that have been applauded.”  

But some of them, Polman claimed, are utilizing “funds via lobbying to stop the Biden infrastructure bill which … tries to tackle these issues. Why? Because there’s a small tax increase involved.”

“So again, when push comes to shove, these companies put their shareholders, their short-term shareholder return, above the long-term future of humanity,” he stated. “And that is not acceptable anymore.”

Polman, who made his feedback throughout an interview with CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick, went on to counsel such an perspective was “not a smart move if you want to build trust and if you want to build your corporate reputation.”

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While the above situation could seem like a difficult one, there may be additionally a glimmer of hope that some kind of significant change may very well be across the nook.

Later this month, the COP26 local weather change summit will kick off within the Scottish metropolis of Glasgow. Rather a lot is using on the talks, which U.Ok. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described as “the turning point for humanity.”

For his half, Polman struck a notice of optimism. “In Glasgow … we have $90 trillion of money under management making a request to governments to help them decarbonize their portfolios and move forward,” he stated.

“Increasingly, they’re making these commitments not only with declarations but they’re asking companies to start moving as well,” Polman added, stating there was no query that the stability had tipped.

The $90 trillion determine is a reference to the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero.

Chaired by Mark Carney, the Bank of England’s former governor, GFANZ describes itself as “a global coalition of leading financial institutions committed to accelerating the decarbonization of the economy.”

Polman went on to say that governments wanted to step in now “in order to make this transition happen at the scale and speed that is needed.”

“For example, with standards setting, we have over 200 standards on sustainability, which on the one hand is a good thing because it shows that it has become more popular,” he stated.

“But now, we have to avoid the greenwashing,” he stated, occurring to name for a collaborative method. “We would be well served to work together to ensure that we get less standards but more effective ones.”