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Nespresso Sustainability MBA Challenge 2015 inspires universities worldwide to boost sustainable ideas using circular economy

Students from a total of 86 universities are being inspired to offer innovative sustainable concepts around the ‘circular economy’ for the third Nespresso Sustainability MBA Challenge.

This year’s theme aims to motivate MBA students to focus on how the company can capitalise on circular economy opportunities to build premium offerings, and meet the needs and aspirations of its consumers.

Universities from about 24 countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Canada, China, Finland, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United Kingdom and the United States have registered to take part in this year edition.

“For businesses to be sustainable, it's vital for future leaders to understand and engage with sustainability issues. This is critical to ensure that sustainable thinking becomes the norm in the way businesses, not just our own, think and perform. Sustainable learning should be at the core of executive education,” said Nespresso CEO Jean-Marc Duvoisin.


Circular economy

The ‘circular economy’ is a term coined as an alternative to the traditional economy. It aims to rely on renewable energy, minimises, tracks and eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, and keeps resources in use for as long as possible. It reduces and recovers waste through careful design to boost efficiency. It also recovers and regenerates products and materials at the end of each service life.

Nespresso, which is a member of the Circular Economy 100 Initiative (CE 100) led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, is engaging with other like-minded member companies to design circular economy systems.


Sustainability partnerships

The Sustainability MBA Challenge was launched in 2013 as part of Nespresso’s commitment to delivering sustainable solutions and corporate practices for its business.

It jointly led the challenge by teaming up with its academic research partners the Intelligence Centre for Sustainable Markets (CIMS) and the Latin American Business School INCAE.

The challenge aims to expand Nespresso’s sustainability engagement, deepen dialogue with sustainability leaders in the academic community, and encourage innovative solutions for real life issues worldwide.

It also provides Nespresso with an opportunity to see how future leaders approach sustainability by giving participating students an insight into the challenges the company faces.


Encourage solutions

The Nespresso Sustainability MBA Challenge 2015 is now underway and participants are currently preparing their case study proposals before going through two stages of reviews and a judging process.

The three finalist teams will then be invited to the final event in June 2015 at Nespresso’s headquarters in Switzerland to present their proposals to a panel of judges.

The panel will include top executive members at Nestlé Nespresso SA, external agricultural and sustainability experts, business strategists and academics.


Winning projects

The first edition of the Nespresso Sustainability MBA Challenge 2013 focused on securing the long-term sustainable future of coffee supply in Colombia. The winner was Rollins College, Crummer Graduate School of Business in Florida in the United States.

Last year, the second edition focused on proposing an integrated end-to-end greenhouse gases (GHG) strategy in Nespresso’s coffee supply chain, which was won by the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business in the United States.


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