How Fortune's 'Change the World' Companies Turn Doing Good Into Good Business

How Fortune's 'Change the World' Companies Turn Doing Good Into Good Business

When Unilever announced its first-half results for 2017 this summer, it had plenty of good numbers to crow about. Revenue, at 27.7 billion euros ($30 billion), was up a healthy 5.5%, growing well ahead of the company’s competitive set. Moreover, it was turning those sales into a river of profit, with earnings per share up 24% from the previous year.

But in late August, when I spoke with Unilever CEO Paul Polman on the phone, it was another data point he was most excited about: 1.8 million. That’s the number of people who apply to the Anglo-Dutch consumer products giant for a job each year, with a prodigious share of them being millennials.

The company, I should point out, makes soap. And antiperspirant. And mayonnaise. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things—but, hey, would you call them sexy?

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