The Business GRID


Our Sustainability Simulation for Nestlé

ProfitAbility developed a simulation for Nestlé to help their global managers understand the “Nestlé in Society” thinking. The simulation puts participants into teams running a business where they have to make decisions on

1. Managing the existing “core” business
2. Developing their people
3. Launching new products
4. Social and environmental projects with no guaranteed business benefits


While the simulation has relatively few parameters in it, the dynamic complexity (as in real life) is huge. Developing and deploying your people drives quality in all you do, which naturally affects growth, profits and staff turnover. Your external projects affect your company image, which in turn helps drive customer loyalty, staff retention, and the ability to attract the best talent.By working through the model for a few “years”, participants begin to see the linkages between those aspects of the company’s business that they have always thought about, and those that they have not. And because the model is based on participants’ own reality, there is no “learning transfer” needed to get them thinking about their day jobs in the same way.

As one of our global clients puts it : "Using this approach, we can “pressure test” new ways of working by bringing teams together, iterating and improving against a business model that responds and adapts in a way that mirrors our business reality."

The ESG Simulation for your Business

Our generic ESG simulations involve participants who are part of a leadership team, in competition with up to five other teams managing an established company. Using a unique simulation, which represents the workings of a company, each team makes strategic business decisions to remain profitable while embarking on sustainability initiatives. The simulation is run over six business cycles which challenges participants to implement ESG strategies within the company, the value chain and working with competitors in the industry as well as regulators while ensuring that the company delivers its financial objectives.


When it comes to customising the simulation for your employees about profitability and sustainability, we work with you, as we did with Nestlé, to build the components of how your business & industry works in real terms and rapidly align employees to implement your ESG strategy as part of the business. We can also build into the simulations on how your business can align to key (if not all) United Nations Sustainable Development (UNSDG) goals.


The ESG Case Studies

We complement the simulation by facilitating sustainability case studies from top business schools to enhance the learning. We also work with clients to identify relevant case studies to you business challenge and industry. These are some of the case studies that we facilitate on ESG.

Sustainable Tea at Unilever (HBS)


The case study is about Unilever's Lipton Tea that had been successful with the first phase of its certification partnership with Rainforest Alliance. Now the company faced challenges in how to push forward with the transformation of more difficult parts of the supply chain and how to market sustainable tea in developing markets like India.

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Governance and Sustainability at Nike (HBS)


Two members of Nike's executive team must decide what sustainability targets to propose to Nike's CEO and to the corporate responsibility committee of Nike's board of directors. Set in 2012, the case traces the evolution of Nike's approach to environmental and social concerns from its origins in student protests against labor conditions in the supply chain in the 1990s through the development of a board-level corporate responsibility (CR) committee in 2001 to the creation of the Sustainable Business & Innovation (SB&I) strategy in 2009.

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Patagonia's Sustainability Strategy (IMD)

SE Asian & Global Clients

In 2005, Patagonia launched the Common Threads Recycling Program to reduce the number of products Patagonia customers purchased through a two-fold effort. The first part was to encourage customers to fix damaged clothing. The second aspect was to create a second-hand market for Patagonia garments that did not fit or that were no longer worn. Patagonia's next step was to launch a campaign in 2011 to dissuade customers from purchasing clothing that they did not really need. On the busiest weekend for retailers in the US, a 2011 New York Times ad from Patagonia featured a picture of one of Patagonia's highest grossing fleece jackets below the words: 'DON'T BUY THIS JACKET'. Is this the path that Patagonia should pursue?

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"Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate."

Larry Fink, Chairman & CEO, BlackRock, Inc.

"When we articulated this notion of Performance with Purpose, people said, 'Oh this is CSR'. Wrong. This is not about how we spend the money we make. The focus needs to be on how we make money."

Indra Nooyi, Former Chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo.

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