As part of his visit to Africa, Unilever’s CEO, Paul Polman visited Nigeria from Sunday 26 June to Tuesday 28 June 2016. During this visit, he met with the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock Abuja, where he reaffirmed Unilever’s commitment to sustainable business in Nigeria.
He mentioned that the company, which has been operating in Nigeria for over 90 years, would continue to step up its capital investment in the country by enhancing its local manufacturing capacity. “We have concluded plans to expand our business base in the country, albeit the prevailing economic challenges. We are a proud Nigerian company doing business here since 1923, and we intend to stay for even longer”, he said.
During his visit, Mr Polman also spoke to business leaders, sustainability experts and young entrepreneurs in a session hosted in partnership with the Lagos Business School, reiterated the immense need to build sustainable businesses in volatile times.
Speaking on the company’s growth in terms of sustainable living, said, “At Unilever, we have been able to demonstrate that sustainability drives growth. More than ever before, we are leading the way, having taken a commitment to put sustainability at the core of our operations. And this is growing the business, despite current economic and business challenges”
The forum which also witnessed a panel session with the likes of Oscar Onyema, CEO Nigerian Stock Exchange; Mr. Olawale Oluwo, Lagos State’s Honourable Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources; Mr. Mutiu Sumonu (CON), Chairman, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.; and Mrs. Mosun Belo- Olusoga, Chairman Access Bank Nigeria; was beneficial to participants, as they all shared from their wealth of experience, ways to create sustainable commercial models within a highly volatile world.
Inspiring the young generation of leaders on building profitable businesses, Unilever Nigeria MD, Yaw Nsarkoh said Businesses that address both the direct concerns of citizens and the needs of the environment will prosper over the long term. “This is what guides our operations at Unilever as we meet the needs of our consumers while maintaining commercial profitability”, he noted.
Mr. Polman rounded up his trip with a townhall meeting with Nigerian employees, and a factory tour. Through this visit, he was able to share his in-depth knowledge with employees while gaining more understanding of the Nigerian business environment to help identify opportunities Unilever Nigeria could leverage to serve the Nigerian consumer better.