HOUSEHOLD PRODUCT formulas clean better than ever; now the industry must clean itself up. That’s the advice from Paul Polman who, as CEO of Unilever, oversees such
well known brands as Domestos, Omo, Sun and Surf.
“This group has the ability to change the world; we’re incredibly important to making the world a better place,” he told attendees at the recent World Conference on Fabric and Home Care.
A nice opening line or two, but Polman wasn’t about to su-
garcoat his message to the 500 cleaning industry executives who
were in Singapore for the biannual event. Polman allowed that
the home cleaning industry is a tough business, noting, that since
he became CEO nine years ago, Procter & Gamble has gone
through four CEOs. Back in 2007, the business world was in crisis
of morality—stocks rose 7-8% a year, and industries relied on
debt and overconsumption by the few, while too many lived in
poverty. Well, it’s been 10 years and not much has changed; glob-
al debt is up and mature economies have stalled. And the world is
weighed down by gluttony, according to the Unilever CEO.
“We dig it out, produce it and dump it back in the ocean,” he
charged. “One billion people use 75% of the stuff and six billion
people want to be like that one billion.”
If something doesn’t change and change fast, the global
economy will be destroyed, he warned, noting that the world has
been around for 4. 5 billion years, (but) the Industrial Revolution
for just 200 years.
“We treat the earth as if it is a patient on life support.”
By Tom Branna • Editorial Director
The home care industry takes a hard look at itself and the changing world it competes
in, during the recent World Conference on Fabric and Home Care.
CLEAN IT UP
Paul Polman bought Seventh Generation because
he liked the company’s stance on environmental issues.