MA in Sustainability Students Compete in Nespresso Challenge 2016

Nespresso, a premium luxury brand coffee who presented a challenge to over 90 universities worldwide, gave Wake Forest students the opportunity to participate and present our findings. The challenge for 2016 was:

“As a part of its ambition to be the highest quality and most sustainable coffee brand, how can Nespresso build sustainability into its luxury positioning to express brand meaningfulness?”

As MA in Sustainability Graduate students, our team naturally found the case to be very interesting. We felt that our curriculum provided us with valuable knowledge we could apply to Nespresso’s objective to align sustainability with their brand. Through our research of the company, we found that Nespresso already participated in many sustainability initiatives.

We were honored to have the opportunity to participate in this challenge; the project really engaged our team members’ strengths while bringing value to Nespresso.

MA in Sustainability Graduate Students Aidan Ganzert, Hannah Slodounik, Deborah Roscoe, and James Lackland

Our goal was to highlight and incorporate their existing environmentally-friendly programs into their current marketing strategy. Some of the programs include agroforestry in conjunction with Rainforest Alliance, community outreach for farmers, a sustainability think tank, fair trade efforts, and environmentally friendly growing practices. Unfortunately, these programs were hidden beneath several layers of the website. To improve visibility of their current initiatives, we suggested promoting this content on the main platform of the website in an effort to give consumers effortless accessibility to the information. Consumers are attracted to companies that engage in philanthropic efforts and incorporate sustainability practices into their business model. In fact, through our research, we found that customers were more likely to support companies who promoted their products with such efforts.

This model of brand awareness highlights Nespresso’s existing sustainability programs and initiatives through education by way of storytelling, generating emotional attachment and interest, and attracting current and potential Club Members. Through the challenge, we showcased Nespresso’s current sustainable initiatives and reiterated the importance of accessibility and promotion of these initiatives to the public to drive sales and create a more meaningful brand. Programs of interest include: AAA Sustainable Quality Program, Ecolaboration, the Nespresso Sustainable Advisory Board, and the AAA Farmer Program.

Covering all aspects of the life cycle of the Positive Cup, Nespresso maintains all the working pieces for a values-based brand. We highlighted methods to offset production costs by incorporating these sought-after competencies into the current business model ROI, employee retention, increased community support, and reduced risk. Properly quantifying and reevaluating the operations of the recycling program will not only encourage sales, but also increase transparency and decrease greenwashing accusations, ultimately giving Club Members a better Positive Cup. We recognize that bridging the gap between the consumers and sustainability involves many factors; however, the foundation to accomplish this objective is the self-actualization for consumers. We used the methods listed above to ultimately bridge that gap by creating conscious self-awareness, highlighting characteristics of Nespresso’s brand that encourage luxury brand seekers to increase consumption while also attracting new customers from diverse backgrounds. The alignment and collaboration of ideas is based on improvements of existing business models, including successful strategies to ensure a positive outcome for incorporating sustainability into brand awareness.

The suggested solutions will present Nespresso in a new light, beaming with innovation and excitement, that will captivate audiences and consumers alike. Nespresso will experience a refreshing, altruistic, and attractive transformation, satisfying the challenge and paving the way toward a meaningful sustainable future through increased brand awareness. This winning strategy ultimately instills a sense of well-being to employees of Nespresso, as well as loyal and existing consumers. By decreasing costs and doubts, and increasing awareness and emotional connection, Nespresso has a winning formula that will ensure a successful outcome showcasing the triple bottom line through economic, social, and environmental sustainability. We believe that effective results start with a truly compassionate objective; sustainably preserving the environment today results in a healthy environment for future generations.

Article by:

Deborah Roscoe
MA in Sustainability Candidate
Wake Forest University