War on Waste: Stakeholder pressure makes UK impact

This week saw an interesting Twitter campaign gain a lot of traction. The waste minimisation campaign called Hugh’s War on Waste by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall aired another episode this past week in UK TV. Previous episodes where already very successful in adressing important topics on the waste we create and how management of this waste is failing to make any meaningful impact.

This is the link to the BBC programme: Hugh’s War on Waste

This week was all about the enormous amounts of waste disposable coffee cups are causing. Hugh chose the 3 largest companies in the UK selling coffee to talk about about how they recycle these millions of cups each year. Starbucks, Cafe Nero and Costa Coffee.

The results where fascinating:

  • none of the cups any of these three companies where able to be put into recycling. Not a single cup….
  • visualisation on the cups was misleading as it is as suggested that the cups are recyclable but actually are not.

The reaction of the three companies has been mixed in my view. Here are some tweets from them or about them to give me oh more context.

Starbucks reaction was mixed on social media and I did not really find a tweet by them on this topic. Cafe Nero was even worse. No real social media reaction from them from what I was able to make out.

My key learning

The key  learning for me this week was that the communication and engagement platform next to the TV is Twitter at the moment. Hugh has been promoting the hashtag  #wastenot. In my view this communication channel has been the most effective stakeholder engagement tool for this TV program.

Great to see a celebrity engage himself so much. It shows that social media can also be used as a great stakeholder communication tool that makes a positive change. Yes there is a lot of other things going on here but for me the most encouraging result is such a turbulent time.

1 – A New Time For Growth Corp

It is 2016 somewhere in the European Union. A recent scandal forced the company Growth Corp to fire its complete leadership team. This Tuesday on a bright September morning the new CEO Tim Mitchell is holding his first press conference to introduce himself and how he sees the future of Growth Corp. These are some parts of the press conference.

“Welcome to the new Growth Corp. It is time to lead this company to new frontiers. For all of its stakeholders, internal and external. Growth Corp will now not only be focusing on regular business growth but responsible business growth. But what does that mean? Well let’s take a look and what Growth Corp is about at the moment and I will show you what kind of company I am trying to create when I am speaking of a responsible company.” Mitchell is starting his presentation:

Growth Corp data before today

  • Turnover of 500 million US dollars. 10-15% growth annually is the forecast and always has been a goal for each business stream,
  • 4 different business streams that are all making money, all in niche markets that are technology and customer service heavy,
  • Ownership structure: 100% venture capital.

Current strategy

Be the market leader in each market or leave it all together. Be a tough competitor and win at all costs.

Why the new management?

During the beginning of 2016 reports started to come in about widespread corruption and unethical business practice within Growth Corp. Since then the reputation and customer loyalty is at its lowest since the company was created 10 years ago.

The new responsible Growth Corp

The CEO continues: “When the owners of Bright Capital Investors (BCI) contacted me to discuss a possible role I declined right away with the simple reason that I wanted a role that had a majority of employee ownership and not a pure venture capitalist. They directly responded by letting me know that BCI had decided to do exactly that with Growth Corp. They wanted to start the process of selling the majority of the business to its employees and take up the roles as minority shareholders once new more responsible business processes and values where started to be implemented. They realized that their business strategy had failed and the current business practice needed to change in order to continue to create continuous growth and revenue for its stakeholders.

After tough negotiations and written assurances that this structure would be taken once certain goals where hit I agreed to take on the huge task of turning this business inside out and giving this business back to the employees and local communities. This was our starting point and today is the first official day our the new Growth Corp.

I envisage Growth Corp to continue to grow continuously while at the same time converting to a business that benefits its employees and communities it does business in. This sounds like a dream but let’s be honest, if a business fails society like Growth Corp did with the recent scandal, a dream of a better more responsible business is the only way forward for Growth Corp and its 2000 employees and other stakeholders.

Please feel free to join me to turn this business into a business that benefits its customers, its employees, local community and all other stakeholders.

Over the coming weeks you will be able to hear and read in detail what the future responsible business practice of Growth Corp can look and like and where we are going towards together!”

More from Growth Corp will follow in the next days. If you have any feedback or suggestions please comment below, fill out the contact form or follow me on Twitter.

Disclaimer: The story of Growth Corp is pure fiction and does not relate to anyone or any business that exists. The purpose of the series is to provide the reader with a different way of approaching the subject of responsible business practice and management.

Picture Credit: Pixabay

A brand new Edie Podcast on Sustainable Business

Every few weeks I am highlighting a useful Sustainability / Sustainable Business podcast I have come across.

This week it is one from Edie.net:

From the podcast description: On this week’s agenda, edie reporter George goes behind the scenes at the Sustainable Supply Chain Conference to grab exclusive interviews with BT’s head of sustainable business policy Gabrielle Ginér, Mars’s global sustainability director Kate Wylie, and Carbon Trust consultant Marta Iglesias.

Then, edie reporter Matt spends a weekend at the Shell Eco-marathon in London, which challenges student teams around the world to design, build, test and drive ultra-energy-efficient vehicles. His experience is concluded by a chat with Michelin’s head of technical communication Damien Hallez.

My first impression after Brexit


I am in the UK this week and had the chance to get a first hand impression of the mood about the Brexit vote and its fallout. All impressions are based on observations and conversations.

My first observation is that no one really knows what Brexit means for the country and them personally.  The high level of confusion is just dominating every conversation I have.

The people I talked to all feel left in the dark about the past few weeks of political turmoil but there is a hope that Theresa May is the person to make sure this does not last much longer.

No one I talked to want a general election. This is really surprising to me to be honest as I personally would have felt awkward having a new PM I did not have the chance to elect. But I guess this is just another sign of the confusion about politics at the moment and a cry for stability again.

The single most important topic was immigration. There is a lot of fear around that the UK will be swamped with migrants. Migration is a concern we all have but not to this extend as it exists in the UK at the moment in my view. And I feel the UK public has been led in a wrong direction on this topic. In the direction of fear and destabilization. Which is totally wrong in my view. We all need to work constructively on this issue and fear-mongering has no place when we talk about migration.

I love this country and when we lived here we had the best time of our lives. We always felt welcomed and part of the community. And I hope that foreigners will always be welcomed here like we have been.

But the current uncertainty is not good for anyone so let’s hope the PM will trigger the article 50 very soon so that the UK can move on to develop their own identity after this Brexit disaster.

I hope I can do my bit as a German and EU citizen so that we can all continue to prosper and become more sustainable together. In the end don’t we all want to live in peace and give our children the best possible start in life? No matter where they live.

Picture credit: https://flic.kr/p/JqeL39