Exploring new business propositions with the circular economy
On Thursday June 4th, 2015, four students from Stockholm School of Economics were announced as the winners of the 2015 Nespresso Sustainability MBA Challenge. A professional jury of sustainability experts including Nespresso executives honoured the winning team for their original and integrated approach.
This third edition focused on the theme of circular economy. Students were asked to develop ideas to engage consumers in the circular economy – a concept coined as an alternative to the traditional economy – through a dedicated proposition and explore how this can create opportunities for Nespresso.
“The circular economy approach allows us to look at our business model in an innovative way and think about new potential opportunities for the future,” said Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nestlé Nespresso. “The MBA Challenge is a great opportunity to enlist the next generation of business leaders to develop and share their ideas to see how they can complement our thinking, particularly in terms of engagement of consumers in the circular economy.”
The winning team from Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) proposed an original and integrated program titled ‘Reduce and Recycle’, aiming at waste reduction, product life cycle extension, and community engagement and development. The program focuses on incentivising capsule recycling and making capsule recycling even more convenient for consumers, helping consumer take better care of their Nespresso machine and create shared value for communities and customers at the same time. The students are all in their final year of a Masters program in International Business at the SSE.
Nespresso has been committed to sustainability for over 20 years. Our MBA Challenge is testament of our commitment to not only finding and developing sustainable solutions for our business, but also to engage with future leaders in defining what meaningful sustainability and shared value creation will look like in the future.
Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nestlé Nespresso SA
“We are a group of close friends from different countries and backgrounds and share a genuine interest in sustainability. We voluntarily enrolled in the Nespresso Sustainability MBA Challenge and while our school supported us, this project was done completely outside of our educational curriculum,” explained Bob Den Hartog, member of the winning team. “We operated from different locations, and did all the work in our free time. Even if it was very busy, it was also great fun. The competition was significant and we were up against other strong teams with great ideas. It’s unbelievable we eventually won this contest!”
Clara Nordlander, Chris Royle and Sandra Tersluisen completed the team.
“The three finalist presentations were inspiring and the jury eventually reached consensus about the competition winner as they successfully managed to integrate the circular economy approach into all aspects of the Nespresso business,” said Daniel Weston, Creating Shared Value Director at Nespresso and member of the jury.
“Nespresso has been exploring circular economy for several years. We were one of the early members of the Circular Economy 100 Initiative (CE 100), led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, but we are still in thinking mode on this topic,“ he added. ”It was very enriching for us to see the three finalists from three different continents share their creative perspectives.”
China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) and Rollins College, Crummer Graduate School of Management from the USA were the two other finalist teams. Rollins College has been a top-three finalist in every edition of the Nespresso Sustainability MBA Challenge and won the first edition in 2013.
Students from the winning team will get the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica to meet farmers taking part in Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program, further learn about Nespresso’s approach on the ground and discuss broader sustainability challenges and issues in coffee producing countries.
Strong interest from academics
The Nespresso Sustainability MBA Challenge has become a global reference for students to work on specific sustainability case studies linked to Nespresso’s business and garner ‘real-world’ experience.
From 32 participating schools in the first edition of the challenge in 2013, the third edition attracted 86 student teams from 24 business schools and universities all over the world. Over the three-year period, about 700 students have participated in this competition.
Nespresso started the MBA Challenge in 2013, jointly with its academic research partners the Intelligence Centre for Sustainable Markets (CIMS) and leading Latin American Business School INCAE, as a way to further expand its sustainability engagement, deepen the dialogue with sustainability leaders in the academic community and solicit innovative solutions for real world sustainability issues. Each year the challenge revolves around a different sustainability topic and seeks to engage with future generations of sustainable business leaders. It aims to give the company fresh insight and perspective on how future leaders approach sustainability, but to also give students experience of the sustainability challenges the company faces.
Nespresso has a long tradition of collaborating with academics for projects, joint research and strategic consultations in regards to its sustainability initiatives.
What is circular economy?
Traditional economy is based on a “take – create – consume and dispose” model. The circular economy means re-using, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials, and turning ‘waste’ into resources again. Better eco-design, waste prevention and reuse can bring net savings while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
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