Image: Paul Polman

NEW FOOD ORDER 🎙: Is the world better off with your business in it? With Paul Polman

November 16, 2022

Editor’s Note: New Food Order is a new podcast brought to by AFN’s parent company AgFunder in collaboration with Food+Tech Connect, co-hosted by AgFunder’s Louisa Burwood-Taylor and Food+Tech Connect’s Danielle Gould.

The views expressed in the podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the team at AFN or AgFunder.


In episode two of New Food Order, the new podcast brought to you by AgFunder (AFN‘s parent company) and Food+Tech Connect, Danielle and I speak with the inspiring Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever from 2009 to 2019 and author of “Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive By Giving More Than They Take.” 

If you don’t know what Unilever is, it’s a $100 billion company with 150,000 employees that manages over 400 brands. Most are household names and many are in food like Ben & Jerry’s, Pot Noodle, Magnum, and Hellmann’s (mayonnaise anyone?!)

Paul Polman is a legend as not only did he run this huge company but he did it in a way that increased his shareholders’ returns by 300% while also ranking #1 in the world for sustainability for 11 years running. Paul is proof that sustainability and profit are not mutually exclusive.

He is therefore a leader in the conscious business movement and net positive thinking, and we wanted to dive into his decades of experience in food and business to find out why he thinks growth doesn’t have to mean a growing and negative environmental impact and how acting responsibly can actually improve, not harm a business’s bottom line.

We talked about the scale of the problem we are facing and how unsustainable business as usual is. We also spoke about how to take companies from the point of doing the bare minimum that they need to for good PR and getting them to a point where they are actually making a significant positive impact. And we discussed some of the examples of business model structures that support the creation of net-positive companies, and the costs of failing to do so.

What to expect from this episode with Paul Polman:

* What does it actually mean to build a people and planet-friendly company?

* What it means to be a net positive business

* How to grow your business through purpose

* The specific steps leaders and companies can take to become more people and planet friendly

* The business case for net positivity

How to listen

You can listen in the player below, or wherever you get your podcasts. And please remember to subscribe and share with anyone you think will find it interesting.

New Food Order is sponsored by FoodShot Global and New Hope Network.

It is hosted by Danielle Gould and me, Louisa Burwood-Taylor

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