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Former EVP Sustainable Business and Communications at Unilever
Sue is one of the world’s leading expert practitioners in developing sustainability strategies in major companies and aligning them with business objectives. She runs her own consultancy business; her clients currently include Mars, Primark, O2, RBS, Jersey Telecom, and Danone. She is an independent advisor on sustainability strategy, working with major businesses that are seeking to step up on their sustainability ambitions and performance.
Sue Garrard's videos
Sue Garrard's 2023 biography
Who is Sue Garrard?
Sue is the former EVP Sustainable Business and Communications at Unilever. In this role, Sue was responsible for the company’s sustainability plan of 72 quantified, timebound targets. She defined the consumer case for sustainability, and the Unilever approach to brand marketing was revised as a result. When baked into the company’s leading brands this led to over 60% superior growth rates compared with the overall brand portfolio. Sue was also part of the 4-person team, led by the CEO, that repelled the hostile takeover bid by Kraft Heinz.
Even today, those brands are showing superior growth. Indeed, contrary to the comments of Terry Smith, a top 5 shareholder who last year criticised the ‘woke’ brand agenda as distracting from growth, those brands are still showing the strongest growth, notably Hellman’s and Ben & Jerry’s, delivering double digit growth in 2022.
Sue now runs her own business, as an advisor and coach on sustainability strategy for companies or senior leaders wishing to step change their strategy and commitment to sustainability. Current and recent clients include Mars; ABF/Primark; Lloyds Bank; Nat West Banking Group; Natura; Danone; Royal Horticultural Society; Heineken; Zespri; Johnson Matthey; EON; and O2. Both Primark and the RHS launched sector-leading sustainability plans in September 2021 based on work led by Sue.
Sue is a regular keynote speaker, panellist and source for business journalists on the topic of ESG in business, and is quoted regularly in the Financial Times.
Sue complements her paid client work by working with a range of sustainability focussed organisations on a pro-bono basis, and aims to donate c5% of her fee income each year to charity. In 2022 she donated around 20%.
Sue is the Chair of the independent not for profit organisation, Blueprint for Better Business, which works with FTSE100 CEOs who want to embed social purpose in their organisations. She is on the Board of the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, and is a Fellow at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, tutoring regularly on their senior executive education programmes. She is a Visiting Fellow at Cranfield School of Business Management, and a Fellow of the RSA.
Sue also sits on the Advisory Board of two New Zealand agriculture companies; Fonterra, and Zespri.
Before joining Unilever, Sue was a Director General in the Department of Work and Pensions, as head of Customer Strategy and Communications, tackling two defining social issues – minimising long term unemployment during the global recession, and avoiding pensioner poverty.
Sue has had two spells in Government, and a 15-year spell in between working in marketing, advertising agencies and public affairs.
Sue Garrard's 2023 speaking fees
- United Kingdom
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