You are to produce a 3000-word individual reflective account on leadership styles, traits and competencies that were exhibited in the case; evaluate the leadership styles and traits of Unilever; assess how the company will grab the opportunity to win market share by making the brand 100 per cent guaranteed environmentally and socially sustainable in the context of the company’s culture and the wider competitive environment. Study the case below and answer the requirements that follow.
By Ralf Seifert and Aileen lonescu-Somers
When Michiel Leijnse became Unilever’s global brand development director in 2005, his brief included refreshing the high-profile Upton tea brand. Mr Leijnse —who had worked on Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s, the pioneering sustainable ice-cream brand — and his team soon realised there was an opportunity to win market share by making the brand 100 per cent guaranteed environmentally and socially sustainable. They also realised the move could include other well-known Unilever brands, such as PG Tips and Lyons.
To be credible with consumers, the move meant certifying the plantations where Lipton tea came from as sustainable, converting the whole supply chain to sustainable methods, and telling consumers about the change — more or less all at the same time.
Lipton is a mainstream brand with such a large global market share that making it totally sustainable would potentially affect world tea markets.
First, Unilever sought third-party certification of plantations. Potential partners were assessed according to factorsanC-__L-1asjrecognition by consumers, capacity, and flexibility to certify large and small suppliers, abilitylo work with_ local organisations train employees, and ability to recruit and
— train teams of regional auditors.
Unilever picked the Rainforest Alliance, a US-based international non-governmental organisation set up to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods. Rainforest Alliance certification
requires meeting standards in worker welfare, farm management and environmental protection. •
Then Unilever publicly announced two targets: all Lipton Yellow Label and PG Tips tea bags sold in Western Europe would be certified sustainable by 2010; all Lipton tea sold globally would be certified by 2015.
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