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“Our vision is to rethink how many of the material needs of society can be met by using renewable agriculturally based raw materials, … it is one of very few institutions in the world that can bring together so many physical and life scientists, engineers and social scientists with the talent and interest in sustainable development, or that has access to so many bright young minds.”  ~ Larry Walker
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We rely on the commitment and energy of all our people to help us achieve our Sustainability goals.

All around the world, Unilever people are doing jobs that contribute to the environment and society. They are contributing to our business success and helping us to achieve our Sustainable Living Plan targets.

Some jobs involve working with our partners and partnership development, others promoting the Sustainability of our agricultural raw materials.

Some are involved in activities that help us manage our impacts ― from setting environmental targets and monitoring our progress, to designing marketing programs for our brands to promote better health and hygiene practices[1].

Many corporations have recognized that their employees are the most important resource in the organization. Others are beginning to understand that argument and changing their corporate values to better support employees. So, discussing the issues surrounding Sustainability, eliminating waste through changes to resolve those problems, are mostly resolved by educating and training your employees.

This is an excerpt of my new book “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. Publication date is scheduled for November 2013 and is planned to be available on Amazon. More to come …
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Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC
Contact Information
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Blog: http://horizons.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/corporatesocialresponsibility/

Lead Smart, Endless Opportunities when Sustainability is driven by Lean Six Sigma
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[1] Sustainability people profiles; Unilever; http://www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/betterlivelihoods/profiles/index.aspx; Retrieved: 10 Aug 2013

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I recently received an email from a cousin of mine. She often sends stories and jokes that would interest me.

This was an anecdotal story about ethics, honesty and integrity.

The author is not known but the lesson discussed should make any CEO consider that their core values are one of the most valuable assets in their business.

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.

Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. “The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a SEED today – one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.

Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.

By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by — still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing.  Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil – he so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.

Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room.

When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful – in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!”

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed, Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is “Jim!” Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed. “How could he be the new CEO?” the others said.

Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow.

All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!”

  • If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
  • If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
  • If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
  • If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment.
  • If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.
  • If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
  • If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.

Think about this for a minute. Now, don’t you agree Transparency needs to have a SEED of integrity as a foundation to your Sustainability approach? Can you see how its absence could produce poor business decisions that could dramatically impact your legacy? Have you considered the impact to the financial markets, too? If you plant integrity, you will reap an abundance from its benefits. It’s an idea worth thinking about …

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

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