As businesses become more and more engaged in sustainability around the world, we are presented with an increasing range of interesting examples of active companies. However when I speak with students/faculty they say that they often hear about the same examples from the same international companies over and over again.
I asked a handful of faculty members from around the world about their favourite examples of local companies actively involved in sustainability for study in their classrooms. Here are some examples from Poland, United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
Boleslaw Rok, Business Ethics Centre, Kozminski University, Poland
I think that the biggest sustainability challenge in Poland is to innovate business models and apply them to produce desired social results, cost-effectively and efficiently. The process of building a successful venture of this kind needs the fundamental redesign of the business model. The best case here in Poland is concentrated on a special product – Milky Start – an instant fortified milky porridge designed in response to the specific local context of nutrition habits, with the price adapted to the purchasing power of low-income Polish households. Milky Start is a for-profit commercial venture co-created by partners, such as supermarket chain Biedronka, Danone Poland, food producer Maspex, and the Institute of Mother and Child, to promote social change through profitable activity. One can read more on Milky Start here: http://cases.growinginclusivemarkets.org/documents/14
Professor Malcolm Kirkup, Director of MBA Programmes, University of Exeter Business School, UK
I would volunteer the Eden Project, in the Southwest of England. This is a tourist attraction, charity and social enterprise dedicated to showcasing sustainability in practice. They run transformational social and environmental projects, undertake research into plants and conservation and run the operations of the business in an authentically sustainable way.
Prof. dr. Marielle G. Heijltjes, Associate Dean, School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University, Netherlands
Gulpener is a brewery in the Netherlands that has focused on sustainability for over 12 years. They apply sustainability concepts to the whole beer making process and source all of their materials locally, through a cooperative of over 60 farmers. Another example is DSM a global science-based company that works in health, nutrition and materials. They have a number of interesting programmes including a focus on cradle to cradle.