Dominik Fischer, lecturer and researcher at the Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin, invited Johannes Stiegeler, ZU alumnus and Head of Key Account Management at re-cup to give a guest lecture for the Corporate Responsibility & Compliance Course. Because of CoVid-19, the course was offered via an online platform.
Johannes Stiegeler explains that re-cup was initially perceived as a philanthropic initiative, and recalls that he frequently heard statements like “That’s kind of you – a good thing to do!” Thus, they had to inform people and explain that re-cup aims to develop a sustainable business with the idea of a re-usable coffee cup.
Today, re-cup is the leading provider of a deposit cup system for coffee cups in Germany and is expanding internationally.
There are many reasons why the idea has been so successful. One of them, Johannes Stiegeler points out, was or is the pace at which they did everything! As soon as the founding team had the idea, they went to coffee houses and offered them the opportunity to try their cups in order to get a deeper understanding of the potential partnership. This was an easy-to-accept deal for potential partners and it was ultimately successful. Step by step, but relatively quickly, the re-cup team created the re-cup partner system for their deposit coffee cups. The coffee cups can be purchased in a partner store and then returned to any other partner store with full refund of the original purchase price of the cup. The primary purpose is to reduce the amount of waste that is generated by disposable coffee cups.
According to Johannes Stiegeler’s interesting presentation, sustainability is not only a crucial unique selling point (USP) at re-cup, but it is also feasible in several different aspects within and outside the company. The notion of sustainability runs through re-cup. Above all, this can be seen in its corporate culture, which has various measures such as weekly “stand-up team meetings” to discuss current challenges, a 360-degree feedback culture, or full transparency in salary negotiations. In addition, people at re-cup do not work from Monday to Friday or, as Johannes Stiegeler put it, “for any set number of days”; instead, employees’ working time can be decided individually. Maybe this accounts for the ‘Herzblut’, a term used by re-cup to describe the enthusiasm of all re-cup’s employees. With this approach, and the explicit goal of acting sustainably and being successful at the same time, re-cup has grown from a 7-person start-up to employing over 37 people in just four years with strong ambitions to expand.
Many thanks to Johannes Stiegeler for his exciting insights concerning re-cup and the example of how business models can be used with sustainable agendas.
LEIZ Communication Management
Based in Munich, re-cup is a German start-up that was founded in 2016. It has created and manages an extensive network of retail partners for its re-usable coffee cups. With the company’s philosophy of acting in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way, re-cup has established a unique partner system that is not simply limited to coffee houses, bakeries, petrol stations or companies. Customers can use a deposit system and an app enabling users to identify and locate re-cup’s partners and re-use the re-cup cups.
source: reCup GmbH