Friday, September 13, 2013

Day 4 - Danone and Siemens

Another day of business meetings started off with the Director of Public Affairs, Sustainability and Science for Danone. After racing through the wet streets of Munich to get to our meeting place, we learned how Danone tackles the challenges of sustainability and energy efficiency while producing high quality products. We discussed strategies of reducing energy consumption during the food production process, reducing packaging to limit waste and adapting to customer demands and preferences.

She was also eager to learn more about sustainability developments and efforts in the US and particularly California. Since two of our students, Ming and Nate, just finished a consulting project with a dairy processor, we were able to make relevant comparisons.

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After a quick lunch in one of the train stations consisting of doener for some and Burger King for others, we headed to Siemens for our afternoon meeting. We checked in at the front gate to receive our visitor badges and we’re greeted by our host who had arranged a discussion with several Siemens department heads with emphasis on sustainability and strategy.

Siemens identified several mega trends that are shaping their current strategy. These trends are demographic change, urbanization, climate change, and globalization. Therefore, Siemens established an Environment, Health, and Safety department as well as a Corporate Sustainability department which develop and disseminate corporate strategies through company-wide initiatives and action items to increase efficiency, reduce waste, yet maintain high quality products. One such example is the newly created Infrastrucure and Cities sector to “transform cities for the better through sustainable technology”. Each presenter was eager to share their insights and answer all of our questons so that four hours went by without notice.


After our Siemens visit, the team split up for some R&R at the hotel, shopping, and dinner around town before some of group explored the Munich nightlife until the wee hours of the morning.

More exciting adventures to come over the weekend so, stay tuned.

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