Professor Myriam Sidibe

Founder, Brands on a Mission & Former Exec at Unilever

Speaker Themes

  • Purpose

  • Behavioural Science

About Myriam

Professor Myriam Sidibe is one of the world’s leading experts of brands that drive health outcomes through mass behavioural change. From within Unilever, she has created a movement to change the handwashing behaviours of one billion people, the single biggest hygiene behaviour change programme in the world, and conceived and established the multi awards winner UN recognised Global Handwashing Day – now celebrated in over 100 countries. 

Speaker Biography

Professor Myriam Sidibe is an articulate and passionate speaker on how organisations can do tremendous good in the world, while promoting their long-term profitability.  She goes beyond the passive, tired philanthropy of corporate social responsibility, and talks about how businesses can directly engage in addressing major social problems.

Dr. Sidibe was recently called to lead efforts of a joint coalition of business networks made of Business Partners for Sustainable Development (USCIB) called Business Fights Poverty, to drive local action and global learning on the role of business in responding to Coronavirus. A Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government of the Harvard Kennedy School, Dr. Sidibe has been recognised as one of the top 10 intrapreneurs in the world for her approach to pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo — which has proven pivotal to leading a paradigm shift in the way public-private partnerships for health/well-being are managed and funded.

Her foresight in establishing Lifebuoy’s social mission has been replicated across Unilever as an example of a best practice for brands looking to positively impact the world whilst driving market share. Dr. Sidibe is also a trustee of WaterAid, the world’s largest civil society organisation on Water and Sanitation; and was a commissioner for the Lancet on the future of health in Africa. Originally from Mali, Dr. Sidibe holds a doctorate in Public Health from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and is an Engineer from McGill University, Loughborough University, UK.


Most recently Dr Sidibe has joined Unilever's Global Positive Beauty Council. This council is about facilitating a new era of beauty that is inclusive, equitable and positive, enabling people and planet to co-exist in peace. ​​ 

She continues to work in the public and private sector, arguing for a more transparent relationship between the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, advocating the need for businesses to gain growth and profits from engagement in social and health issues in order to build more sustainable, effective interventions.


She is the author of the book Brands on a Mission : How to Achieve Social Impact and Business Growth through Purpose (Routledge 2020) and her TED talk The Simple Power of Handwashing  has been viewed more than 1 million times.  She has been featured in FT, Forbes, HBR, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Reuters and CNBC.

“The era of companies getting rich and big and then giving back to repair the damage is over.  There won’t be talent nor time for this model.  Brands will only be successful if they are on a mission that serves the genuine needs in societies, leveraging the power of people.  Myriam’s book explores why and how brands can do this and invites everyone to join.  What is at stake in this book is no less than reinventing the role of market economy for social Justice."

Emmanuel Faber, CEO Danone

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