Aiming to Win Through Sustainable Competitive Advantage: Unilever and Procter & Gamble

Activity: Educational contribution / Supervising student theses, products Educational contribution Educational


The case chronicles the corporate strategies of two of the world’s largest consumer product companies: Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Unilever. It provides a comparative overview of the leadership changes since the 1990s and the associated restructuring and strategic plans. In the past few years, Unilever has clearly emerged as a recognized leader in sustainability; its Sustainable Living Plan has received much positive press coverage and Unilever's CEO, Paul Polman, has become a widely respected and outspoken CEO on issues of sustainability. P&G adopted open innovation and is widely recognized as an early adopter and leader in this space. Its associated program, Connect+Develop, is widely studied and used as an example of open innovation strategies. The case is designed to comparatively analyze the evolution of the respective strategies and the influence of external stakeholders and home country environments on their strategic actions. The case is intended for master-level students in international management/business, strategy or organizational studies. It is ideal for MBA students. It can also be used for advanced standing bachelor students.