We want to create lasting change with everything we do. It is therefore natural for us to make a positive contribution to society and our planet beyond our daily consulting work. What does this mean for our bainies? You can get involved in the topic in a variety of ways.
Hendrik and Simon, consultants from our Berlin and Zurich offices, will tell you what this can look like. We spoke to both of them about two exciting projects: the sustainability initiative THE MISSION and the Bain Sustainability Academy. What's behind it, how the two projects work and what role Hendrik and Simon play in it? Read for yourself!
Dear Hendrik, please introduce yourself.
I am a manager in our Berlin office and studied business administration in Lüneburg. I was already very interested in the topic of sustainability back then. That's why I dealt with the topic of sustainable entrepreneurship as part of my master's thesis.
After gaining initial experience in industry and consulting, I joined Bain in 2021. What particularly appealed to me at the time were the exciting strategic projects and the opportunity to really make a difference with my work. Both have proven true in my previous projects in the healthcare, insurance and financial services industries as well as in my work in start-ups. For example, by improving care for those with statutory health insurance using digital technologies.
In addition to my work, I am a mentor in the Earlybird Vision Lab, a program that supports founders with a migration background. In my free time I often go out into nature - on a mountain or gravel bike, surfing or diving. I am also part of our Berlin Bain Band as a guitarist.
You recently worked on a special project. What was it about?
I was part of the sustainability initiative from May to July THE MISSION, which Bain together with the platform Futury, the Handelsblatt and other corporate partners. The initiative brings together start-ups and established corporate partners to implement sustainable and innovative business solutions in the areas of construction, waste and food. The aim is to have a positive impact on the economy, our society and the entire planet.
How does the program work?
Start-ups with a business idea in one of the above-mentioned subject areas can apply to take part THE MISSION apply. We carry out the selection process together with the corporate partners and ultimately accept around five start-ups into the three-month program.
The start-ups are constantly being developed there in close collaboration with the cooperation partners. After six weeks, the teams give an update on the current status of their project at an interim event. After three months, the results obtained are finally presented at the big final event.
What sustainable solutions have you worked on recently? THE MISSION – Waste worked? What was your role in this?
As the name suggests, it was about ideas for sustainably improving the issues of waste, packaging and recycling - along the entire value chain.
On Bain's part, we provided support in particular by conducting workshops on strategy development, business models or pitch presentations and contributed exciting studies and a lot of expert knowledge - for example in the areas of sustainability or financing. In weekly deep dives, the current status quo was discussed with the teams and the next steps were determined.
My role can be best described as an advisor, mentor and sparring partner for the start-ups. I supported all relevant problems - from market analyzes to optimizing the business model to establishing contact with Bain experts. I was in close contact with each other Futuryto address everyone's needs.
Personally, the work helped me THE MISSION It was incredibly fun, especially because everyone who took part was extremely committed. And I was able to learn a lot - be it in the area of sustainability, but also generally about the challenges that start-ups often face.
Can you give us a concrete example of a solution approach?
The start-up Scalize offers cloud-based software that optimizes packaging dimensions to save packaging material, improve logistics and reduce CO2-Reduce emissions. In analyzes has Scalize For example, we found that a significant amount of space in logistics is wasted due to suboptimal packaging. In the current mission, the two founders have already been able to analyze various packaging from corporate partners, derive optimizations and have particularly benefited from the network THE MISSION offers. But the solutions from other teams are also very promising: They include the recycling of diapers (Alkyl), bio-based packaging film (Cell2Green), a solution for the digital product passport (twinu) as well as AI-based waste sorting with a Smart Bin (Aira).
It was particularly nice to see that the teams had a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, from chemists to packaging experts and former consultants to advertising experts. Everyone is driven by the common desire to make packaging and waste management more sustainable.
3 reasons why you should apply for the next mission?
In my opinion, there are far more than just three. But if I have to limit myself, then to the following:
- The opportunity to further develop your own business idea with constant support and with the help of numerous offers.
- The network of founders and corporate partners who bring deep industry and specialist expertise and thus the opportunity to gain new cooperation partners and customers.
- A lot of fun! The three months fly by (unfortunately) thanks to the intensive but also very varied program.
Simon, you joined Bain permanently in 2017. How did that happen?
I did an internship at Bain in 2016 during my studies and was immediately impressed by the strong team spirit and the collegial work culture within the teams and towards customers. When I subsequently received an offer for a permanent position, I didn't have to think twice. I now work as a senior manager in our Zurich Bain office.
Among your previous projects there are also many on the topic of sustainability. A topic close to your heart?
Definitely! During my studies, I was involved in various student initiatives and developed a great interest in the topic of sustainability. At Bain, I was able to pursue this interest and lead several projects at the interface between sustainability and corporate strategy.
From a business perspective, the topic of sustainability is a very complex one: On the one hand, it presents companies with challenges because stakeholders make new demands. Completely new processes, structures and skills are often required in order to tackle issues such as decarbonization.
On the other hand, it also offers countless opportunities to create value, for example through new business models or an adapted corporate strategy. These strategic questions almost always come up in C-level discussions. With regard to decarbonization, these are, for example, questions such as: How can we achieve science-based climate goals? Does this create business trade-offs and how can we address these as part of our corporate strategy? I really enjoy working out opportunities to see how a proactive approach to sustainability can offer not only social and ecological value but also financial advantages for companies.
In 2022, an exciting training opportunity for Bainies in the DACH region was launched. Feel free to tell us a little more about it.
At Bain, we aim to integrate sustainability into all of our work. On this occasion the... Bain Sustainability Academy founded. Because this required further training for our Bainies.
At the beginning, I and my colleagues thought about what such a qualification could look like. With the active support of numerous experts from science and practice, we gradually developed the specific content.
The goal of the Bain Sustainability Academy is to convey the most important basics on topics related to sustainability. And this doesn't work through dry theory, but rather applied and interactive with relevance to the questions we encounter as consultants on customer projects. The training therefore helps us to address our customers’ questions even better.
Who can take part in the Academy and how does participation work?
All Bainies – regardless of their role – can and are encouraged to take part in the program. The content covers the most important topics such as decarbonization and the circular economy, but also highlights sustainable business models, for example.
The individual modules are treated using a hybrid learning concept. Everyone determines their own pace, as their previous knowledge often varies. At the end of each module there is a group discussion in which you discuss questions, get to know other perspectives and learn a lot from each other.
How is the training received by your colleagues?
The feedback is great. From interns to Bainies from our business functions such as Marketing and Finance to partners, numerous Bainies have already taken part. On the one hand, the topic is perceived as very interesting, and on the other hand, it is significantly more practical and interactive than a simple online course. We are pleased that it is paying off that we have completely tailored the training to the needs of our Bainies.
Super interesting, thanks to both of you for the interview and the exciting insights!
Are you also enthusiastic about topics related to sustainability? Then find out here more about how you can advocate for the causes of your heart at Bain.