I agree with all the initiatives, except for delivery. Not only because of the in-store experience that Mary highlighted above, but also because a vast majority of the Starbucks products are meant to be consumed quasi on the spot. @Michael, if the office intern ordered 14 cups of coffee and they were delivered cold, I can assure you that the intern will lose their job. I can only see an effective delivery system if the Starbucks store was actually in the same building or at most in the same block.
It is interesting to see how Facebook, a digital platform, can undertake the digitization challenge to further innovate in that space.
In terms of effectiveness of the Workplace for other companies, besides the argument that the platform might be missing key components of Facebook culture, I don’t see why companies would go to Facebook for such services while there are plenty of other firms specialized in workplace optimization solutions. I don’t think familiarity with the platform’s look & feel is essential here.
Your article was very interesting to me Exxon, since what you highlighted is very different from what is happening in the Middle East. I worked on a consulting project with a printing & publishing house in Saudi; although you would think that circulation and revenues are going down, in reality, an increase in population coupled with an almost stagnating readership per capita are driving revenues up. This might be due to a sub-par internet penetration in the region – what you highlighted in your article might be what is lying ahead of us in the next decade. We will make sure to use the lessons learned from the Western world by then!
Interesting article Walter, especially the “Keeping the Pace” section. Amazon was truly one of the giants who accelerated digitization. However, every company that is jumping on the digital venture should keep costs in mind. Amazon’s net shipping costs are increasing exponentially with more people joining Amazon Prime feature. Net shipping costs in 2015 were more than $5 billion, up 19% from $4.2 billion in 2014 (see: http://www.geekwire.com/2016/amazons-net-shipping-costs-top-5b-for-first-time-fueling-push-to-build-out-its-own-delivery-network/). Amazon needs to get on top of this issue very soon. One possible disruption to Amazon’s model is an eventual rise carpooling companies (such as Uber or Carpooling.com) who are going to use their flexible work-staff to deliver packages more efficiently.
M-Pesa is a very interesting success story as it helped Kenya and other emerging countries experience the basic form of technology. However, M-Pesa is presenting a clear dichotomy between a) educating people on the use of technology and b) supporting low-tech people with their daily transactions. PwC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2015-2019 forecasts smartphone penetration to become around 70% in 2019, making M-Pesa platform almost obsolete (see: https://www.theatlas.com/charts/NJWtEIoP). Moreover, with Facebook and Google working heavily on connecting the 2/3 of the population that is not connected to the internet, M-Pesa will suffer even faster. Although M-Pesa like platforms are very important in jumpstarting the digital ecosystem of an emerging country, they needs to modify their offering to capture the market when the technology becomes more mature.
Debatably, climate change can increase revenues of Marriott’s hotels (especially the beach resorts) by driving more customers. It is true that climate change means sudden changes in weather, but it also means extended summer periods on average. You mentioned drop in ski resorts revenues – it would also be interesting to see the impact on beach resorts revenues.
Nevertheless, I totally agree with your proposed areas to further improve sustainability (the VR one is very interesting!). It is true that Starwood has already several practices in place that Marriott can leverage. In fact, Starwood has a large sustainability program where the customer can “Make a Green Choice” in return for loyalty points (implying decisions on bed sheets changing frequency, towels changing frequency, keyless access, etc.)
So apparently the quote “Save Water, Drink Coke” is not necessarily true. Your post is interesting because it seems Coca Cola is mainly focused on finding ways to reduce its water usage ratio, while the issue is much bigger than that. Every single being on earth needs water to survive, and it seems that Coca Cola is protecting itself from a decrease in water supply rather than addressing the root cause of the issue. But at the same time, if every company does the same, this will reduce the overall water usage. Since water is the main ingredient of Coca Cola, I totally agree with your point about finding ways to ensure success of similar initiatives in other plants. One idea could be to create some kind of fund to help other firms address this issue.
Coming from the Middle East, where most of our economy depends on oil and gas, I have great affinity to this topic. As per your numbers above, more than 40% of global GHG emission is caused by oil & gas industry activities. It is interesting because Shell and other oil & gas firms become both the major cause and the victim of climate change. Oil & gas companies are therefore really incentivized to find alternative sustainable solutions to break this vicious cycle. However, although Shell is one of the biggest players in the world, it cannot solve the issue on its own. This creates a prisoner’s dilemma where all players should move in the same direction together to avoid having one player losing heavily and one player gaining all the value. I can understand why Shell is struggling between the short term and long term benefits, especially in regions with high pressure from an economy very dependent on oil & gas.
It would be interesting to look at the evolution of the profit margin of McDonald’s since they started these initiatives as most of them involve more costly practices. As you said Brian, other smaller players might be reluctant to start this type of actions fearing to reduce profitability. However, McDonald’s potential success story does not automatically translate into a generic best practice for everyone since most other players do not enjoy the benefits of the economy of scale that McDonald’s has. For instance, sourcing all fiber-based packaging from raw materials according to the FSC might be much less costly per unit for McDonald’s compared to a smaller restaurant chain. I agree with everything you said about the large impact potential that McDonald’s has, but other smaller players will still struggle with the question of profitability vs. sustainability.
Daniel – to be fair, I may or may not know some people who eat Nutella and never feel guilty because it just tastes like drops of heaven. I am pretty sure that many people are really glad that Ferrero is making Nutella more sustainable.
My only concern is that Ferrero is not really negatively impacted by climate change – that is, climate change is not putting pressure on the availability of its raw material, palm oil in this case. Comparing this situation to Ikea’s for instance, where climate change is making their most common resource (wood) more scarce on the long run, you can tell that Ikea is much more incentivized to combat climate change and find alternative solutions to source their raw material. Today, Ferrero have these corporate ethics standards addressing social responsibility and sustainability (available in their Code of Ethics on the following link: https://www.static.ferrero.com/globalcms/documenti/1963.pdf), but I only fear that few years down the road, when climate change puts even more pressure on organizations, they might review these practices to survive. In a way, Ferrero actually benefits from deforestation and climate change.