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.
In an attempt to share some new best practice examples, I asked a handful of faculty members from around the world about their favourite examples of local companies that they study in their classrooms that are actively involved in sustainability. Here are some examples from Tanzania, the Dominican Republic and Slovenia.
Dr. Shiv Tripathi, Professor, Mzumbe University Dar Es Salaam Campus, Tanzania
Diligent Tanzania LTD, is a commercial company that produces Straight Jatropha oil (SJO) and exports it to airline companies. The oil is a mix between Jatropha oil (40%) and diesel (60%). To ensure sustainable processes, Diligent encourages farmers to plant jatropha as a hedge, using only 7% of their plot so the rest can be reserved for cash crops. It also prevents soil degradation and adds to farmers additional income as the production of jatropha is not labor intensive and seed are picked during the farming season for their regular crops. Diligent offers a minimum price and technical support for fertiliser, tilling, rotating crops etc.
Dr. Jose Manuel Alcaraz, Vicini Chair of Sustainability, Barna Business School, Dominican Republic
Helados Bon, a very popular ice cream company with outlets across the country, is doing a lot of work around sustainable agriculture and protecting forests and natural resources in the Dominican Republic. They have a range of interesting projects including promoting organic farming in chocolate and coffee. They also have a project to plant macadamia trees which are very useful to protect the soil and support the ecosystem. Another interesting example is IMCA (Implementos y Maquinarias), which distributes heavy machinery. They are very active in providing a wide range of technical training for their employees as well as working to strengthen the curricula in the best schools in the country.
Dr. Melita Rant, Center for Business Excellence, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Slovenian company Valtex, a designer and producer of quality sustainable hygiene products for buildings, managed to successfully transform itself from near -bankruptcy into a company offering sustainable solutions for its customers. Recently, the company grew into an international market leader that provides “sustainability” advice and solutions to global corporations operating in the paper and hygiene product industry. The Valtex case uncovers three areas: (1) difficult dilemmas and trade-offs that top management needed to resolve in order to successfully implement sustainability thinking in every aspect of business design; (2) illuminates the positive effects of the business redesign on the restructuring of the industry value chain towards more a sustainable manner; and (3) shows the power of community of “sustainability” companies, which Valtex managed to create, and the wide range of synergies that such community can create for the region.