Paul Polman is a proven leader in sustainable business. For this first episode in English we had a conversation about the importance of companies creating value for all stakeholders instead of only shareholders. Paul said shareholder capitalism? has proven not to work. For example when Paul was born the average lifetime of a company was 67 years and is at the moment decreased to only 17 years.
The stakeholder approach gives companies more resilience and in the long term more profitability too. Polman has shown that this can work; the value of Unilever increased with 300% during the ten years he was the CEO and focussed on stakeholder value.
We also discussed the role of tax. Polman was heavily criticized in the Netherlands because of his idea ??? to abolishment the dividend tax. Polman however is a firm believer in a tax system but it should be used or designed in the proper way. To make the change to a sustainable economy WE HAVE to put taxes on natural resources and pollution, and USE the revenues to lower the tax burden on labor.