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Unilever is often cited as one of the organisations that is most sophisticated in thinking about and responding strategically to the range of global trends we tend to put under the heading ‘sustainable development’. This paper explores the rationale in Unilever for doing this and looks at the implications it has for Public Affairs. Taking a step back from this and thinking about the historical role of the public affairs professional, and about what Unilever and others are beginning to do, the changing role of the public affairs professional is discussed.

In this article, Thomas Lingard talks to JPA SI guest editor Matthew Gitsham. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.