Sustainability sits best under marketing, says Weed

A company’s sustainability strategy is best delivered through the marketing department, according to Unilever’s new chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed.

Weed was appointed in March to the role, which was previously held by Simon Clift. However, since Clift’s departure, the CMO role has evolved to include responsibility for communications, sustainability and a place on the company board.

“How can marketing be joined-up when we talk about sustainability and ethical products? By making marketing responsible for it. The fact that I am responsible for sustainability shows how Unilever is thinking that the breadth of this agenda needs to be joined-up,” Weed tells Marketing Week.

He adds that the company’s ambition is to double the size of the business without adding to its carbon footprint; a goal that he says will require “marketers to innovate in new ways”.

As part of Unilever’s sustainability strategy, Weed says a 41% reduction in CO2, and a 73% cut in over­all waste has already been made. The company has also introduced steps to source all tea supplies for its Lipton and PG Tips brands from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms by 2015. That year is also the company’s deadline for sourcing sustainable palm oil.

Weed claims that large companies managing their supply chains more efficiently will have the most impact on reducing environmental impact.
“This company has a real commit­ment to the society that it serves. Sustainability for us is about looking at the whole value chain, from sourcing to consumer use,” he says.

  • Check out Keith Weed’s interview in this week’s cover story click here

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