Mark Kaplan

Nonresident Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture and Global Cities

Areas of expertise: Global Food & Agriculture


Mark Kaplan is a globally experienced and recognized industry leader in the mobile marketing, sustainability, and telecommunications industry. He is a nonresident fellow with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a core team member of Fishcoin – a blockchain solution for the seafood industry, and a sustainable solutions consultant to Unilever. Kaplan is also on the advisory board of the Sustainable Oceans Alliance.

Previoulsly, Kaplan was global vice president of sustainable solutions for Unilever. At Unilever, he was responsible for integrating technology across the chief sustainability office's partnerships, establishing new digital partnerships, expanding existing digital partnerships, and leveraging Unilever’s existing technical assets to accelerate the economic, social, and environmental impact of initiatives driving towards the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan and United Nations Global Goals.

Prior to joining Unilever, Kaplan was CEO of Tone Mobile LLC, a startup focused on digital inclusion. He led the mFish Initiative with the US State Department and GSM Association, representing the world’s telecommunications operators. The mFish Initiative created mobile services to improve the livelihoods and sustainability of small scale and artisanal fishermen in Indonesia. mFish won the 2016 D&AD Wood Pencil, Hollywood A-List Bronze for Most Innovative Use of Mobile Technology in the World. mFish was also shortlisted for OneShow and Cannes Lions Awards in mobile.

During his career Kaplan has led the creation, production, and commercialization of platforms in mobile commerce (PayPal Text2Buy), mobile donation (Text2Give), and mobile sampling (ShopText). PayPal and Text 2 Buy/Give are now fully merged into the overall PayPal Mobile product and form one of the most successful mCommerce platforms in the world.

Kaplan has led and managed foundational global platform strategies for Fortune 100 corporations such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, ESPN, and Nike. Specifically, he led the strategies for Nike Jordan’s first mobile campaign, ESPNs first apps and integrated messaging campaign, P&Gs global mobile marketing enterprise, and Coca-Cola’s 2012 London Olympics platform that won campaign of the year from the Mobile Marketing Association as the world’s largest music collaboration in history. Kaplan was the founding co-chairman of the Mobile Marketing Association’s mCommerce Committee and has implemented digital platforms in over 30 countries.

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