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Net Positive Movement
Dani Matthews28/04/2023 9:09:05 AM2 min read

Abundant thinking for a Net Positive Future

April has proved to be a career highlight month with our inaugural UTS and Abundium sustainability micro credential cohort graduating with #golarge impact and a Masterclass conversation with Paul Polman to #getreal and #giveforward. 

Paul put into action a deep passion to put business in service of humanity. He served as global CEO of Unilever for 10 years, where he made bold moves including getting rid of quarterly reporting to spend more time on doing good.

"First and foremost we are citizens of planet earth".  Paul Polman


give more than you take 

Our community Masterclass was focused on Net Positive, a movement Paul co-created with Andrew Winston sharing how courageous companies thrive by giving more than they take.  

Paul shared, a net positive approach to doing business has five core principles: 

  • Take responsibility for your full impacts  
  • Work for the long-term benefit of society  
  • Create positive outcomes for all stakeholders  
  • Improve shareholder return as a result, not an objective.  
  • Embrace transformative partnership


Paul challenged us with a couple of reflective questions: Is the world a better place because your company is in it? How can you profit from solving the world's problems? 


The best advice I was ever given is you either make the dust, or you’ll eat it. Be bold, and don’t waste time on things you don’t believe in.


a net positive journey

Some of the insights shared on how to help lead the Net Positive journey: 

  • Anything that goes through the heart will stick to the brain. 
  • It takes courage to take responsibility for the impact you are having on the world 
  • You need to feel uncomfortable to ask the difficult questions and make positive changes happen 
  • Generosity always wins! 
  • Move from competitive leadership to collaborative leadership 
  • It's not about giving energy to your team, it is about unleashing it 
  • It's what you do in the dark that helps you shine in the light 
  • Be grateful 

As one of our members reflected afterwards, "imagine if we all had the space created by cancelling our regular reporting cycle to focus on how we solve the world’s problems." Paul had the courage to make this happen at Unilever. Can you follow in his footsteps? 

traits of a net positive leader

We finished up with the five critical traits of a Net Positive leaders for us to lean into: 

  • Sense of purpose, duty, and service 
  • Empathy: a high level of compassion, humility, and humanity 
  • More courage 
  • The ability to inspire and show moral leadership 
  • Seeking transformative partnership 

To finish with the best advice Paul has been given: “The best advice I was ever given is you either make the dust, or you’ll eat it. Be bold, and don’t waste time on things you don’t believe in.” 

At Abundium, we're driven by purpose and it was such a joy to have a month focused on our planetary purpose, planet being one of the four pillars of our business. We've taken a leaf out of our own book, and kickstarted our journey to become a Bcorp certified business, more on this in another post. 

Thanks for joining us on this journey, we'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments and as always feel free to reach out to me.



Dani Matthews

Dani Matthews, Co-Founder & Chief Impact Officer at Abundium, leads our impact initiatives with and for our multinational and not-for-profit community to tenfold leadership impact for an abundant world. Driven, compassionate and socially minded, Dani is on a mission to ‘be the change’ and help inspire positive impact including the transition to net zero in this critical decade of action. She recently completed a Cambridge University Business and Climate Change: Towards Net Zero Emissions short course and leads a cross-industry ‘Climate Warriors’ community amongst many other initiatives. Dani was recently honoured as an Adjunct Associate Professor (Industry) @ UTS Business School and is excited for our "Leading Strategic Action on Climate and Sustainability" Short Course collaboration.