Unilever Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman among five Inspirational Environmental Leaders from the world of business who received champions of the Earth Award at Close of Sustainable Development Goals Summit.
Polman was awarded for challenging business norms to show that sustainable, equitable and environmentally-conscious business is smart business.
Paul Polman has been CEO of Unilever since January 2009.
Under his leadership Unilever has have an ambitious vision to fully decouple its growth from overall environmental footprint and increase its positive social impact through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.
Currently Polman is the Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum, a member of the B Team and sits on the Board of the UN Global Compact and the Consumer Goods Forum, where he co-chairs the Sustainability Committee.
Other four inspirational environmental leaders from government, research and grassroots activism who received the UN’s highest environmental accolade at a ceremony marking the close of the Sustainable Development Goals summit in New York.
The annual prize is awarded to outstanding leaders from government, civil society and the private sector whose actions have had a positive impact on the environment.
This year’s awards, presided over by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Goodwill Ambassadors, actor Ian Somerhalder and model Gisele Bündchen, as well as actress Nikki Reed,were focused on supporting the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals.
The awards do so by illustrating – through the examples of the laureates – that the transition to low-carbon, resource-efficient, inclusive and sustainable economic models is not just possible, but already in progress.
H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh was awarded for outstanding leadership on the frontline of climate change.
National Geographic Society received award for over a century of life-changing science, exploration and storytelling in science and innovation.
The Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit (South Africa) was also awarded for outstanding courage in fighting the illegal wildlife trade at community level.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, “This weekend, we witnessed a historic moment. 193 nations committed to a sustainable path forward for the entire planet and its peoples through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. This is a major achievement, but the hard work now begins in earnest.
“With 17 goals that integrate all aspects of our economies, societies and the environment, the challenge is formidable. Each of this year’s five UN Champions of the Earth demonstrates that this challenge can, and I believe will be met to help usher in an equitable and sustainable future for all.”