Creating a movement for sustainable growth and supporting employees to embed sustainability in their daily jobs at Unilever Europe.

The Challenge

Unilever’s strategy for sustainable growth is inspiring employees, but it is not always clear how to apply it to their personal role. How to effectively increase internal engagement, sustainable business understanding and equip employees to drive change? How to transform from mainly broadcasting to genuine dialogue? When do they feel enabled to contribute?

We have a very ambitious strategy, a visionary CEO, but that doesn’t mean all employees understand overnight what that means for the business and for them personally in their daily jobs.
Anniek Mauser

Sustainability Director, Unilever

Together with Unilever Europe we developed a programme and online platform for 2014-2016 to increase internal engagement of colleagues across Europe.

Together with internal change agents we identified the 'common ground' for change.

We designed an engagement programme including a European challenge package with room for local tailoring.



Teams of colleagues took one challenge a week, for 6 weeks, 10 minutes a week.

This sparked dialogue about sustainable growth among colleagues. But also with customers and even with friends and family.

And it accelerated the efforts of internal change agents to grow the business.

Big success & high impact: the numbers & stories.

Participating colleagues (75% of invited persons)


Pageviews on platform

out of 6 challenges completed on average


shared ideas / wishes / opinions

'Because it's incorporated within our routine, we even talk to customers about it now.'

'Practically relevant to my daily work. It has made our strategy much more tangible!'

'The openness was really great, as it allowed for easy discussions among everyone. Never seen so many colleagues participate this actively, nor heard so many discussions around sustainability as in the past few weeks!'

'The winning spirit in my team worked very contagious'

'I now have more contact with other departments on sustainability solutions.'

'It changed the norm here. Sustainability is now seen as a driver of innovation.'


Has given me extra knowledge about sustainability within Unilever


This made me think differently about our strategy


I have changed one or more behaviours at work


It gave me the opportunity to have a voice in important issues

Pre- and post results of Unilever employee engagement surveys


I believe we are a different kind of business - a force for good


I am able to explain our strategy to friends and relatives


I know what to do in my daily job in order to contribute to our strategy


Sustainability plays a role in the products and services that I / we provide

This was the best internal activation of our sustainable growth strategy I have ever seen!
Katja Wagner

Head of Business Development, Unilever

I see and experience the effect on a daily basis: our sustainable mindset has grown, people have embedded it into their own behaviour at home and at work, many valuable ideas, wishes and needs have been shared and are being followed-through right now. 

Anniek Mauser

Sustainability Director, Unilever

Genuinely great! This engagement programme creates a positive buzz and strengthens the informal networks here. That is incredibly important. You can feel the change, but more importantly, we see it reflected in the figures of our employee satisfaction surveys. Colleagues talk enthusiastically with friends, family and customers about the programme. This helps our external reputation, which also helps attract the right people to deliver our sustainable growth strategy.

Rob Stolk

VP HR, Unilever

Snowballs & Flywheels proved to be a reliable and capable partner in pioneering in diverse local contexts at 15 European sites. Their professionalism exceeds high-quality. As we were ‘learning by doing’ under tight time constraints, their pragmatic and flexible attitude proved to be invaluable.
Aouatif Tawfik

European Coordinator brightFuture in Action, Unilever

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