Paul Polman has been Chief Executive Officer of Unilever since January 2009

Students sparkle at winter graduation ceremonies

More than one thousand students will celebrate their graduation across three special ceremonies at the University of Exeter this weekend.

The University will be holding its annual Winter Graduation ceremonies at the Streatham Campus on Saturday, 17 December 2016.

As well as the 1,095 predominantly postgraduate students receiving their degrees at the ceremonies, Exeter will also bestow Paul Polman, the Chief Executive Officer of Unilever, with an Honorary Degree.

The Winter Graduation ceremonies will be presided over by Lord Myners of Truro, the University’s Chancellor.

Lord Myners of Truro CBE said: "It is always such a wonderful occasion to see so many students who have achieved their goals, and we are all delighted to be able to share this special celebration with them and their friends and families. Today's Exeter graduates are tomorrow's world-leading academics, researchers, teachers and professionals and it is a pleasure to celebrate their achievements at the graduation ceremonies. Our deep-felt congratulations to them all."

Paul Polman has been Chief Executive Officer of Unilever since January 2009. He is also Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum, serves on the Board of the UN Global Compact, and is a member of the B-team and the European Resource Efficiency Platform.

He has been closely involved in global discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and action to tackle climate change. In 2016, Paul was asked by the UN Secretary-General to be a member of the SDG Advocacy Group, tasked with promoting action on the 2030 Agenda. Prior to this, Paul served on the High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, presenting recommendations on the SDGs on behalf of the private sector. He is also a member of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, which aims to quantify the compelling economic case for business action on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Paul also served on the International Council of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, under former Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, whose flagship report ‘New Climate Economy’ demonstrates that lasting economic growth can be achieved at the same time as reducing the immense risk of climate change.

In recognition of his contribution to responsible business, Paul has received numerous awards and accolades including WWF's Duke of Edinburgh Gold Conservation Medal (2013), the Centre for Global Development’s Commitment to Development Ideas in Action Award (2013), the Rainforest Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award (2014), the UN Foundation’s Champion for Global Change Award (2014), the Oslo Business for Peace Award (2015) and the UN Environment Programme’s Champion of the Earth Award (2015).

This year he received France’s Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, in recognition of his efforts in galvanising business action on sustainability and for his involvement during the historic 2015 UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.

Graduation ceremonies are taking place in the Great Hall, University of Exeter, at 9am, 11.45am and 3pm on Saturday. A live webcast of the ceremonies will be available from our Graduation Ceremonies website.

Date: 14 December 2016

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