What happens when you put 12 students in three teams to work on a challenging sustainability case for a few weeks? You’ll end up with three creative out-of-the-box ideas. And a good ‘vibe’ during the Sustainable Business Challenge Final on Friday 13th December where all the participating teams presented their solution for a sustainability case from ForFarmers, KLM Cargo, ProRail, Waternet or Engie. More information about this 'most sustainable business case competition in the Netherlands' can be found in the previous report.
The teams first ‘pitched’ their ideas to the company they were linked to for this challenge. Each company subsequently chose their own winner from the presented ideas.
The three ForFarmers teams had looked into a case which was about circular agriculture. The winning team out of these teams was the one consisting of Esther Snepvangers, Nina Linders, Sylke de Jong and Teun Thyssen. Their idea was: replace the cardboard and plastic used in special feed bags with compostable plastic (bioplastics) and paper and process herbal seeds in this paper, which the dairy farmer can use for herb-rich grassland. “An innovative idea”, according to Sustainability Officer Anouk Wentink, on behalf of the ForFarmers jury. “The team had also ideas as to which parties we could realise this with. And they had a fantastic presentation.”
The other two ForFarmers teams also came up with creative ideas, which - just like the winning idea - are worth investigating for further feasibility. Anouk: “The ForFarmers case was quite complex, especially if you’re not familiar with the agribusiness. But it was great to see students who don’t know each other, who don’t know us and who don’t know the business, yet still managed to come up with concrete ideas in such a short period of time. A huge compliment to all the students who participated.”
The winning team presented their idea again during the major final, when the other company winners also presented their plans. The ultimate winner of the 2019 Sustainable Business Challenge was subsequently selected from all the company winners. This honour went to the team who had been working on Engie’s business case.
Participating with this Sustainable Business Challenge was valuable for ForFarmers. “It provided us with a different way of looking at sustainability”, according to Anouk Wentink. “But above all, it was a fun and effective way of establishing contact with students from various different backgrounds; it helps to put our company on the map with non-agricultural courses”, Anke Rijnshoeven from the HR department adds.
The ForFarmers case participants were all presented with a voucher. This can be redeemed at ForFarmers how they see fit, for example with a career discussion with someone from the HR department, or perhaps by shadowing a specialist for half a day.