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Abstract

Managers of Unilever discuss the processes that led the company to develop and implement a corporate sustainability strategy working with multiple stakeholders. Major learning points include: 1) interactions with stakeholders are crucial to secure strategic resources in developing countries; 2) developing multi-stakeholder platforms must be rooted in the corporate culture and based on principles of innovation; 3) the overarching sustainability strategy, Sustainable Living Plan, launched in 2010, set broad objectives, while empowering local and regional managers—and even individual employees—to start and scale bottom-up initiatives if they find consensus within the organization. The discussions promise to fuel the debate on how organizations can effectively manage “wicked problems” through multi-stakeholder engagement.

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