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CSR Departments Redundant, Unilever Chief Says

CSR departments are redundant, Unilever chief marketing officer Keith Weed told the annual Marketing Society conference in London.

Weed said brands should weave CSR into their practices across the company, and that stand-alone CSR departments are an “add-on,” Marketing magazine reports.

Weed added: “The only sustainable growth is consumer-demanded growth. Clearly, in a resourcefully strained world we need to think about environmental and social responsibility.”

He said the company plans to focus its growth efforts heavily on sanitation products because of the projected growth in urban slums.

Weed also said that the manufacture of Unilever products only contributes three percent of the products’ lifetime greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 26 percent for the raw material stage and 68 percent for product use.

In other company news, Unilever was announced as the Grand Prix winner at the 2011 International Green Awards in London. It won the award in recognition of its Sustainable Living Plan, which judges say includes ambitious goals and represents a comprehensive value chain approach to sustainability.

The plan, launched just over one year ago, includes goals to cut the environmental footprint of Unilever’s products in half, sustainably source 100 percent of its agricultural raw materials, and help 1 billion people improve their health and well-being.

Last month, in a joint report with Sainsbury’s and Forum for the Future, Unilever said companies must drive sustainability, rather than waiting for consumers to demand more sustainable products and services.

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