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Sustainable business management is hardly child’s play.
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Lioba Appel, Charlotte Felden and Hangzi Zhu took a clear decision right at the beginning: As well as ensuring sustainable operation of ‘their’ company, they want to use sustainability for promotional purposes and to enhance its corporate image. "Green—right down to the tiniest screw" is the slogan they have chosen to differentiate their cleaning robot from its competitors. Besides, the company’s environment-friendly philosophy is highlighted by the fact that all employees cycle to work. This morning eleven members of the Evonik Perspectives talent retention program, three interns and one apprentice are testing the napuro sustainability business planning game. Their prior knowledge varies enormously. While Lioba Appel recently completed a BA in European Studies and has a relatively clear idea about sustainability thanks to an internship in Evonik’s Corporate Responsibility (CR) department, the topic is almost completely new to Charlotte Felden. She is an intern in Employer Branding, and will soon be completingher master’s degree in business administration. She has heard aboutsustainability but her knowledge is sketchy. The situation is similar for Hangzi Zhu, a PhD student who is currently working in Innovation Networks and Communication at Evonik. Today is set to change that. In the global market for cleaning robots, which is the territory where the teams will be competing against each other, competition is tough and opportunities and risks are difficult to predict. How should the team react if the company suddenly finds the glaring spotlights of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) trained on it because suppliers use child labor? How should they respond if production costs rise dramatically as a result of a shortage of raw materials? Or conversely: how can opportunities arising from innovation, societal trends and changing customer needs be identified and utilized?.
Until now, the participants had not given much thought to such issues and how they interact. As the first step in the planning game, groups of two or three players establish a company and use the equity provided to purchase four out of a total of twelve "action cards" that they feel look most promising within the context of the strategy that has been defined. Their task now is to use their knowledge and judgment to build a sustainability-driven company.
Read the full story in our CR Report 2012more