CLI started work with Unilever in 2009 as Paul Polman became CEO. His goal of doubling the business and cutting the environmental footprint in half by 2020 brought Unilever to our door. They saw our work on authentic leadership and purpose as core to what the top 1,200 leaders at Unilever would need to achieve what was perceived as an audacious strategic vision.



Every senior leader participated in our program. Many Leaders deepened their connection to purpose by co-facilitating in the program delivery. The program became the experience in which new leaders “got” what it meant to be an authentic, purposeful leader at Unilever.

In addition, CLI worked with many senior management teams to translate purpose into real business impact. This work included the Food & Refreshment team responsible for half of Unilever’s revenue, and the Indonesia country team driving critical growth in each village. Coaching key senior leaders continues to be a key part of our journey with Unilever. CLI is proud of working with the former and current CEOs of Ben & Jerry’s, the leading purpose-driven brand at Unilever.

CLI Impact

CLI Impact

Over the last 10 years, Unilever has become a leader in the purpose-driven brand space. In 2018, their ‘purposeful brands’ grew 69% faster than those that were not. These purposeful brands also delivered 75% of their overall growth. Unilever’s focus on purpose had a significant impact on its ability to attract and retain top talent. Prior to our work with Unilever, there was no strategic focus on purpose-driven brands.

Home | Core Leader
Home | Core Leader

Leading from Purpose with Lifebuoy

One of the direct program outcomes that has reached far & wide, resulted from just one participant’s desire to express his purpose – aligned with that of Unilever’s – by transforming how people saw the soap, Lifebuoy.

The result was this viral commercial, which has received over 19 million views on YouTube.

Purpose works at Unilever

Listen to a few of our senior alumni discuss some of the many ways purpose enables the delivery of business objectives and cultural transformation.

Sanjiv Mehta | Core Leader

CEO & Managing Director Hindustan Unilever Limited, President of Unilever South Asia

Leading through crisis with purpose, optimism, & unparalleled success

  33 min                  LISTEN ON

Constantina Tribou | Core Leader

CHRO Beauty & Wellbeing at Unilever

Removing credibility from social barriers – returning to what’s important: people & choice

  25 min                  LISTEN ON

Jostein Solheim | Core Leader

CEO Health & Wellbeing, Unilever NA; Former CEO, Ben & Jerry’s

Thriving in complexity & uncertainty: managing a $4B business during a pandemic

  33 min                  LISTEN ON

Explore more Purpose to Impact Stories

Explore more Purpose to Impact Stories

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Join our global community of leaders turning purpose to impact™

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