Innovation + Sustainable Development = New Business Models. Acosta P., Acquier A., Carbone V., Delbard O., Fabbri J., Gitiaux F., Manceau D., Ronge C.

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1 Innovation + Sustainable Development = New Business Models Acosta P., Acquier A., Carbone V., Delbard O., Fabbri J., Gitiaux F., Manceau D., Ronge C. 1

2 Quotations + Key Figures «Sustainable innovation must not settle for a (vague) compromise between the various environmental, societal and economic components of sustainable development, but rather must optimise each of them.» Dominique Guinet, Dominique Guinet, Director of Sustainable Development, Bayer SAS «We do not know how far regulation can go. The various directives sometimes have contradictory logic. A vision that was more broadly shared at the European level would be a big step forward.» Marleen de Rick, Deputy Vice President Innovation, GDF Suez «What we are lacking on all the major sustainable development issues is collective organisation. We tackle these subjects in an overly fragmented way, operating in silos.» Nicolas Blanc, Head of Innovation, Strategic Management, Sustainable Development and Study department, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations «Sustainable innovation stems from a combination of internal competencies and those of our suppliers.» Arnaud Brulaire, Head of Sustainable Development, Picard 34 companies interviewed 5 new business models may emerge from sustainable innovation initiatives 7 Key ideas 80% of the executives interviewed consider that sustainable innovation will be one of the top five strategic priorities for their company in the next five years 64% of the executives think that sustainable innovation initiatives are driven by clients 2013 Year of the first sustainable innovation index More Than 50% of innovation projects take social and environmental criteria into account 2 3

3 Innovation + Sustainable development = New Business Models Study conducted by the Institute for Innovation and Competitiveness i7 at ESCP Europe and weaveair, a consulting firm The current economic and social environment is characterised by two major preoccupations: the growing attention paid to sustainable development issues and the desire to build companies capacity for innovation, which is seen as an essential driver of competitiveness. These two questions are often analysed independently. The economic, ecological and social environment that organisations operate in is being transformed in a structural way. These transformations constitute subjects that may render today s strategies obsolete. But they also provide room for innovation, opportunities to overhaul a company s market offering, working methods as well as mechanisms for corporate governance. To what extent are these issues being taken into account in the economic sphere? How are these issues perceived, integrated and managed in companies innovation strategies? How is the performance of a sustainable development initiative to be measured and what are its key success factors? To answer these questions, we interviewed 36 executives holding various functions (CEOs, innovation directors, sustainable development directors, etc.) in small and large European companies, operating in different sectors (transport, construction, energy, luxury goods, consumer goods, etc.). We also conducted an online survey. More than 300 international respondents supplied information on the importance and management of sustainable innovation in their organisation. In this study we define sustainable innovation as innovation initiatives undertaken by a company to integrate environmental and social issues in its activity. Seven key ideas emerge from the study and serve as the basis for this report. The authors wish to express their gratitude to the four experts who helped them to improve their comprehension of the subject and its issues: Arnaud Berger, Sustainable Development Director, Groupe BPCE (Banque Populaire and Caisse d Epargne); Joachim Bitterlich, Affiliate professor at ESCP Europe, former Chairman of Veolia Environnement in Germany, former advisor to Chancellor Helmut Kohl; Catherine Borg-Capra, Head of the Expertise Department at OSEO; Michel Daigney, Head of Sustainable Development at the Centre Francilien de l Innovation. Key ideas 1. Integrating sustainable development in innovation strategies constitutes a major challenge with great potential, but is highly destabilising for the company 73% of the company executives that participated in the survey declared that sustainable development was a strategic priority for their company. And for 40% of them it was the top strategic priority! But sustainable innovation is highly destabilising owing to its systemic and polysemic nature. Sustainable innovation entails the decompartmentalisation of traditional functions in the company which makes it difficult to implement from an organisational point of view. In reality, sustainable innovation requires the development of new expertise in a variety of areas (design, environmental sciences, social sciences, etc.), but also rethinking the notion of value, its creation, distribution and measurement. 2. Companies see the introduction of sustainable innovation as an incremental process before it generates new business models Today, most companies concentrate on the environmental dimension of sustainable innovation by improving the carbon footprint of their products. The most advanced also examine the environmental impact of their services and take an interest in the social and societal dimensions. However, sustainable innovation constitutes a real opportunity to rethink production and consumption processes of concern to start-ups just as much as to the established companies that are fully committed to it. Several approaches can be used to resolve the equation Innovation + Sustainable Development = New Business Models: a social and solidarity-based economy and BOP approaches; the circular economy; the functionality economy; the collaborative economy; or the reduction economy. 4 5

4 3. Setting up a sustainable innovation initiative requires a complete overhaul of organisational strategies and choices To achieve this, the company can draw on several non-exclusive strategies and modes of organisation: simplify the undertaking by focusing on elements that the company can control, launch a temporary project dedicated to the design of a new sustainable product or service, set up a new division in charge of marketing sustainable products and services or invest in start-ups that already perform well in this area. Each solution has specific advantages and drawbacks. 4. Implementing sustainable innovation means bringing in new skills and new evaluation criteria One of the prerequisites for a sustainable innovation initiative is the ability to bring new skills and competencies into the organisation, whether through training, the recruitment of new profiles or external collaboration. Sustainable innovation depends on the ability to bring together internal and external competencies to create an intelligent open innovation initiative. Appropriate evaluation criteria should be applied to sustainable innovation projects, such as specific ROI thresholds to take into account the fact that the development and diffusion of these projects generally take longer. 5. Two actors play an essential but ambiguous role in promoting sustainable innovation within a company: the end-consumer and the government To succeed in their sustainable innovation initiatives, companies can draw support from two key allies, in spite of their paradoxical reactions: 1) customers and end-consumers are sensitive to these issues even though they sometimes have mistaken perceptions of the environmental and social impact of products and services and do not always convert their concerns into purchases. 2) the government, in its dual role as regulator and buyer (through regulations governing public procurement contracts) may impose criteria and practices, while increased simplicity, strengthened predictability, closer European coordination and a more active role (for example, through the pre-emption of certain patents) strengthen its positive impact. 6. In developing sustainable innovations, organisations need to learn from their failures In developing sustainable innovations, organisations should be willing to accept and manage failure as a source of learning and adopt an iterative experimentation approach. These precepts, which are always valid in innovation, are even more important in the area of sustainable innovation, which concerns products, processes and business models and where practices are still virgin territory and the time horizon is usually further away. 7. Sustainable innovation requires organisations to change scale, to innovate beyond the boundaries of the company and develop business ecosystems Companies do not operate alone on their market. To create value they have to interact with other actors in a complex ecosystem. To develop sustainable innovation, they have to create a common innovation structure that is able to coordinate the innovation in each of the links of the ecosystem. There are three ways of making ecosystems more sustainable: 1) maximise the sharing of information and knowledge of sustainable development; 2) increase the capacity to structure this information and to identify common objectives and orientations; and 3) develop the ability to interconnect actors in the ecosystem and redefine their roles. 6 7

5 The diversity of sustainable innovation initiatives Type of innovation Products & Services Process Business models Sustainable development and innovation nourish each other mutually: sustainable development is an accelerator of innovation and innovation is an essential driver of sustainable development. Sustainable development area Environmental Social Integrated (environmental + social) Eco-designed products Arjowiggings has developed an eco-friendly range of sterilisation papers for hospitals. They are made from 100% renewable materials, i.e. 100% chlorine-free wood-pulp cellulose. Socially-designed services Crédit Agricole runs a Tookets programme where young customers earn points for various transactions on their bank account. These points can be allocated to sustainability projects run by associations or NGOs that are preselected by the regional division of the bank. The points are then converted into euros to help fund these initiatives. Eco-socially designed products Picard has developed a fair-trade, eco-friendly cooler built from 99% natural materials. The cooler is made of jute (known for its insulating properties) and organic, fairtrade cotton sold under the Max Havelaar label, which guarantees a decent income to the producers. Environmental impact reduction Dekra Consulting has built a High Quality Environmental building to meet German standards (DGNB for sustainable construction). This process has enabled the firm to develop consulting services in this area and it is now working with the government to extend the DGNB system to other countries. Social enterprise model Improves the well-being of employees At Véolia, rubbish is filmed as it travels on conveyor belts and operators use touch screens to indicate which objects should be removed from the belt by machines. Thanks to this process innovation, rubbish sorters can avoid being jabbed by syringes, for example, and spend less time standing. Integrating social and environmental criteria all along the value chain La Poste (the French postal service) published a call for tender to replace computers, imposing environmental criteria (materials, toxicity, recycling, a sleep-mode energy performance label) as well as social criteria (manufacturing location and conditions, for example). Circular economy The vehicle parts division at Bosch has developed a range of recycled and remanufactured products for vehicles (starters, alternators, etc.). These remanufactured parts are 30 to 40% cheaper than new ones. The company nevertheless offers the same two-year guarant Bottom of the Pyramid approaches Since 1998, Cemex has been helping low-income families to improve their housing through its Patrimonio Hoy programme. These families can obtain construction materials through microcredits and also benefit from technical support. The functionality economy One example is the shift from battery ownership to battery rental for electric vehicles an idea promoted by Renault, who rents the batteries for its entire range of electric vehicles. The goal is for battery rental and recharging to cost less than filling the tank of a comparable diesel vehicle. 8 9

6 Examples of case studies developed in this study Representatives from Guerlain and Emulsar participated in the round table held on 5 June 2013 at ESCP Europe, following the presentation of the key findings from the study. Refillable products and recovering used products to cultivate the customer relationship: Guerlain case study Part of the LVMH group, Guerlain is a firm specialising in perfume and cosmetics. For several years now the firm has been committed to a sustainable development approach, notably eco-design and managing the end-of-life of its products through innovative work on the impact of its products and packaging. In the 1980s, the firm offered its first perfume refills in a bottle called Habit de Fête. The refill system was later extended to other fragrances and product lines such as foundation creams and, more recently, mascara. In the 2000s, Guerlain would take this concept even further, inviting customers to come to certain boutiques and refill their perfume bottles directly from their «Fontaines Impériales». Today the firm continues to pursue its initiatives with the creation of a new department for refilling jars of Orchidée Impériale cream, a service offered at certain Paris boutiques since September «The beauticians refill the jar in the back of the shop and during that time the client is offered customised treatment including beauty advice, a flash make-up session and tea. The price of a refill is close to the price of a full jar,» remarks Sandrine Sommer, Director of Sustainable Development at Guerlain. In 2012 Guerlain continued to innovate, launching the first refillable mascara with a built-in mirror. As to packaging that cannot be refilled, customers can contribute to Guerlain s efforts by bringing these products back to the boutique to be sorted and recycled. The empty packages are sent to the company s sorting and recovery centre, along with obsolete stock, testers and empty bottles from the shops. Customer feedback is very positive. To explain why they decided to work on products end-of-life, Sandrine Sommer points out that, «the essence of the luxury goods market is quality and prestige, which may be reflected in the use of heavy packaging and several materials assembled together that are hard to sort and recycle.» Guerlain has chosen to work with refilling systems and to think about the environmental impact of the product throughout its lifecycle. Capitalising on a failure to find new business opportunities: how Emulsar reoriented its nano-emulsion technology Emulsar is a young, innovative, French firm that sells its emulsion processes to companies in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries. The firm has developed and patented («pioneering» patent) a nano-emulsion machine and manufacturing process that produces very thin, homogenous and stable emulsions. The drops obtained through this sustainable innovation are 5 to 10 times thinner, contain very few petro-chemical or natural additives and consume 20 times less energy. The emulsions are used as a base in a large number of products in cosmetics (e.g. skincare creams), food (sauces, vinaigrette, etc.) and pharmaceuticals (e.g. injectable liquids). «At least once a day you consume or use a product based on emulsions,» explains Frédéric Arnaud, CEO of Emulsar. This disruptive technology allows client companies to develop new, high-added-value products such as more effective and natural creams that make better use of active ingredients or low-fat oils without any alteration of taste. Having started out selling machines, Emulsar has now become a designer, manufacturer and seller of ingredients in the form of emulsion. One of Emulsar s first and most important projects was to develop a perfume without alcohol. «Today, between 10 and 15% of a perfume is the fragrant substance (essential oils) and 85 to 90% is alcohol, which serves as a vector. The idea was to replace this alcohol with water and to disperse the fragrant substance as tiny drops in the water.» Owing to their thinness, nano-emulsions allow light to pass through. Emulsar has thus managed to create a transparent perfume without alcohol. In spite of a very warm welcome from major perfumers, the companies operating in the sector chose not to use this new process for their products. «The traditional perfume market is not ready,» admits Frédéric Arnaud, CEO of the firm. Nevertheless, Emulsar managed to bounce back from this failure by finding another application for its technology in a different business sector. A pharmaceutical laboratory specialised in ophthalmology showed a keen interest in Emulsar s ability to make transparent emulsions. In ophthalmology, the products that will be placed on the eye (either on the surface or injectable) must be transparent so as not to impair vision. «Not only did we use the technology that we had developed in the field of perfume to make ophthalmological products, but it helped our business!» An invention may serve as the basis for several innovations... or none. In order for an invention to be turned into an innovation and be marketed, the firm needs to know how to capitalise on its failures and constantly experiment with new applications

7 The authors Pilar Acosta PhD candidate ESCP Europe / Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne Aurélien Acquier Associate professor in the Strategy, Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources department at ESCP Europe Valentina Carbone Associate professor in the Information and Operations Management department at ESCP Europe Olivier Delbard Professor in the Economics, Law and Social Sciences department at ESCP Europe Julie Fabbri General Secretary of the Institute for Innovation and Competitiveness i7 at ESCP Europe Florent Gitiaux Manager at weave AIR Delphine Manceau Professor and Director of the Corporate Division at ESCP Europe Catherine Ronge Chairman of weave AIR From top to bottom and from left to right: Acosta P., Acquier A., Carbone V., Delbard O., Fabbri J., Gitiaux F., Manceau D., Ronge C. The goal of the Institute for Innovation and Competitiveness i7, created and supported by ESCP Europe, is to promote a broad vision of innovation and competitiveness in order to encourage research on recent practices and the challenges faced by companies. A European academic think tank, the i7 Institute promotes the creation, dissemination and exchange of knowledge about innovation in its diversity (technological and non technological innovation, practices, changing business models) and its different factors (creativity, R&D, culture, diversity, etc.). It is characterised by its international and multidisciplinary scope. For more information: Founded in 1819, ESCP Europe is the oldest business school in the world and has trained many generations of leaders and avant-garde thinkers. Thanks to its five urban campuses (Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid and Turin) and its profoundly European identity, ESCP Europe has a unique style of management education and a global perspective on management issues. ESCP Europe is a triple-accredited business school (EQUIS, AMBA, AACSB) and every year it welcomes students and executives from 90 different countries. The school s alumni network has members representing 200 nationalities who are present in 150 countries. ESCP Europe is a member of the hésam PRES (higher education and research consortium). For more information: A strategy and innovation consulting firm, weave AIR helps companies to innovate for the «économie légère» (sustainable economy). Because merely optimising what already exists is not enough to face tomorrow s challenges, weave AIR looks to innovation to invent new, value-creating business models. Weave AIR has implemented a specific innovation method, AIR Lab, based on design thinking, human sciences, and the analysis of micro and macro trends in order to create a space for creativity, experimentation and co-construction. To find out more, visit:

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