Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Unilever and palm tree plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Unilever and palm tree plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia

Malaysia / Mexico / United Kingdom


This distinctive project connects learners from diverse global locations using online tools to interact, share, and co-create learning on interdisciplinary CSR matters.
Since the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are not limited to any one sector or industry, learners from all locations and discipline backgrounds are encouraged to participate.
To begin with, learners will research, discuss, critique and analyse topics relating specifically to Unilever’s sustainable business practises from a variety of cultural, national and discipline perspectives via Facebook, Google Hangouts and/or other platforms.
Ultimately, students will co-create a common Wiki page which should not only demonstrate and evidence their interdisciplinary research, insights, learning and conclusions but, it will also need to offer recommendations on future actions to be taken by corporations to improve current practices for sustainability.
An integral part of this experience will be an opportunity for participants to reflect on their online intercultural experiences.

Aim of the Project

Through interactions with peers from diverse locations, backgrounds and disciplines, participants should be able to:

  • Demonstrate and evidence an understanding of a range of cultural, national and discipline perspectives on topics of sustainability, ethical business and responsible management.
  • Research, identify, scrutinise and evaluate best-practice on sustainable issues.
  • Synthesise information to devise proposals and recommendations for improvements to corporations’ existing CSR strategies
  • Critically reflect on the experiences of interacting, learning, collaborating, negotiating and virtually co-creating with peers from cultural and educational backgrounds different to their own.

OIL Activities

Type of interactions: Students will use online tools to discuss topics and create a central Wiki document over 3 weeks.

Week 1 Interactions – Explore Unilever

w/c 29 February or w/c 07 March
1. Hangout with course director introducing Unilever, OIL project objectives and interaction methods
2. Ice-breaker: students identify Unilever products in their everyday life and post on the Facebook group
3. Facebook discussions on Unilever global presence and how it commits to sustainable business.

Week 1 Topics for Discussion: Explore Unilever

• Product categories (students can capture data in supermarkets)
• Global presence

Week 2 Interactions – Unilever CSR Credentials

w/c 07 March or w/c 14 March 2016
1. Hangout with Course Director presenting how CSR is driven by Unilever and how it has influenced its strategy.
2. Students contribute to weekly objectives online (share information sources, evidence, data and cases etc.)

Week 2 Topics for Discussion: Unilever CSR credentials

• Operational perspective:
Business functions impacted by CSR
• Managerial perspective:
How ethics can be integrated into decision-making at Unilever

Weeks 3 Interactions – Future CSR Developments at Unilever

w/c 14 March or w/c 21 March 2016
1. Hangout with Course Director presenting how Unilever R&D is influenced by its sustainability development
2. Students contribute to the weekly objectives
• students complete collaborative Wiki document detailing CSR best-practice supported by evidence and examples
• students synthesise information to devise recommendations for improvements to existing CSR strategies
• students engage in reflective practice on their intercultural experience

Week 3 Topics for Discussion: Future CSR developments at Unilever

• Operational perspective:
How Research and Development can create sustainable business
How committed is Unilever to recycling its products
• Managerial perspective:
Are ethical decisions synonym of profit making at Unilever

OIL Outputs

Online portfolio


Yubia Sinai Fernandez Molinar is the project lead at Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education – ITESM, Mexico.