We cannot choose between [economic] growth and sustainability - we must have both

— Paul Polman

The most competitive Paul Polman quotes that are proven to give you inner joy

If we achieve our sustainability targets and no one else follows, we will have failed.


The moment you discover in life that it's not about yourself, that it is about investing in others, I think you're entering a steadier state to be a great leader. Because above all, I think the main quality of a leader is to be a human being. There's no reason you are special because you happen to have this job or these responsibilities.


This world is changing enormously. In any position in a company you need to work very hard on learning new skills every day, but you also need to unlearn some of the old skills from the past.


The very essence of capitalism is under threat as business is now seen as a personal wealth accumulator. We have to bring this world back to sanity and put the greater good ahead of self-interest. We need to fight very hard to create an environment out there that is more long term focussed and move away from short termism.


It is unacceptable that more than 1 billion people are hungry every day while another billion are obese.


Many companies are disappointing the citizens of this world by manipulating labor rates, putting horse meat instead of beef out there, or thinking it's totally acceptable to make a T-shirt from a collapsing factory. Increasingly, people don't want to work for these companies, and consumers don't want to buy from them.


My biggest fear is that we [Unilever company] at one point in time will not be able to attract the best and brightest [workers]. I don't worry so much about the business, the strategy. If we can continue to attract the best, I know they will ultimately figure out how to run the company in a very tough environment.


My fear is a fear of being obsolete. This is a world that changes very fast, and one of the main human desires is to belong to, to be part of something. It's probably one of our greatest needs next to oxygen.


What is success? I think the most important thing is to achieve what you set out to achieve. Just being a CEO in itself is not success. I would not relate success to a title or a position. My career has had a level of serendipity all along. I've never planned anything out more than a few years.


My biggest fear is that I become useless or less useful by not being up to date - be it with technology, changing consumers, changing global situations. You continuously have to have a little level of paranoia that forces you to set the bar higher every day.


I don't have any frustrations. It sounds a little silly, but life is too short for me. I don't worry about all the things that happen, I just think about what to do with them. I work a lot with blind people in my spare time and I count my blessings every day.


If you work at an insurance company that sells premiums you wouldn't even sell to your mother, how happy would you feel to work there? It's going to eat you up. It might last a few years, but it doesn't attract the best people, and it certainly doesn't create the energy and engagement you need to be a long-term performing company.


About Paul Polman

Quotes 23 sayings
Profession Executive
Birthday July 11, 1956

People at my level [Unilever CEO] shouldn't be motivated by salary.

If you paid me double, I'm not going to work twice as much, because I'm already probably maximizing my time available. And would it change the way I do things? Not really. So, yes, I am fortunate, and I am ashamed about the amount of money I earn.


Leadership is not just about giving energy ... it's unleashing other people's energy.


When I interview people, I look at their values.

I always say that the best chance of success is if the individual's values are aligned with the corporate values.


The world we want is an enormous responsibility.


Provocative and challenging The Social License makes a compelling case for why companies must look to increase their positive social impact as an integral part of their core business strategies.


We put a gender lens on our whole value chain.


Imagine all the food mankind has produced over the past 8,000 years.

Now consider that we need to produce that same amount again — but in just the next 40 years if we are to feed our growing and hungry world.


I don't think our fiduciary duty is to put shareholders first.

I say the opposite. What we firmly believe is that if we focus our company on improving the lives of the world's citizens and come up with genuine sustainable solutions, we are more in synch with consumers and society and ultimately this will result in good shareholder returns.


Unless we change direction, models show that the profit of the entire consumer goods sector could be wiped out by 2050.


The last few months have seen a welcome race to the top.

Consumers have sent companies a clear signal that they do not want their purchasing habits to drive deforestation and companies are responding. Better still, companies are committing to working in partnership with suppliers, governments and NGOs to strengthen forest governance and economic incentives. It can be done and this Declaration signals a real intention to accelerate action.