Unilever is voted most sustainable company by CSR managers
18 April 2011 -

Anglo-Dutch consumer products manufacturer Unilever was voted most sustainable company of the Netherlands in a survey of CSR managers by The Green Place.

The respondents, 52.4% of which were CSR specialists, 9.5% in senior management and 38.1% in corporate communications, were mainly based in the Netherlands.

The Green Owl Award survey, held between March 15 and April 13, posed three main questions:

  1. Which companies do you consider have the best reputation for being sustainable?
  2. Which companies would you rate as the most mature in terms of embedding CSR into their corporate practices?
  3. In your view, which company scores most highly in terms of its CSR reputation, policies and maturity?

Triodos Bank was voted the company with the best CSR reputation in the Netherlands, followed by TNT and Unilever. Triodos Bank also came first in terms of embedding CSR into corporate practices, followed by Akzo Nobel and TNT. Overall, however, Unilever came out top: it was rated by 28% of survey respondents as scoring the highest in terms of reputation, policies and maturity. Triodos Bank came second with 20% of the vote. DSM was third with 16% and TNT fourth with 12%.

As winner of the survey, Unilever received a Ginkgo Biloba tree, a species that can live up to 400 years and grows globally. On receiving the award, Unilever’s head of sustainability for the Benelux, Anniek Mauser, said: “It’s an honour to win the award and it’s inspirational for everyone within Unilever. I am proud to work in a company that has a CEO, Paul Polman, with the vision and courage laid down in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. It’s a big challenge now for all of us to make it happen.”

Last November Unilever announced its Sustainable Living Plan, which sets out to halve the environmental footprint of the company’s products, help more than 1 billion people take action to improve their health and well-being and source 100% of agricultural raw materials sustainably.

The Green Owl Award was presented at the end of a CSR lunch symposium held in a historic greenhouse restaurant, De Kas, which grows much of its own vegetable supply on site and organically. The lunch symposium featured as speakers the heads of sustainability at Akzo Nobel and Philips, André Veneman and Henk de Bruin, the Managing Director of engineering firm Witteveen & Bos Henk Nieboer, and TNT Group CEO Peter Bakker. The award was presented to Unilever by Robert-Jan van Ogtrop, a Dutch former CEO turned social entrepreneur and impact investor.