CASE STUDY: CO-CREATIVE INNOVATION

SUSTAINABLE CUP CHALLENGE PIONEERING THE SUSTAINABLE CUP MODEL IN NEW YORK CITY

IN A NUTSHELL

The Challenge

To find a solution to reduce the 8 million to-go coffee cups that were being thrown away in New York city in 2014 every day.

Outcome

During the engagement, various commercial options were explored. Several prototypes were validated and resulted in the launch of the pilot “Good To Go”, a revolutionary cup sharing system.

million single-use cups daily

years to decompose

percent success rate among other cup initiatives

THE CHALLENGE

New York, a coffee-loving city, throws away 8 million single-use coffee cups every day – most of which end up in landfills. Since these cups contain a high degree of plastic, they will take up to 1000 years to decompose. Reusable coffee cup initiatives had tried to address the problem, but they were limited to individual chains, making them low-impact and low convenience. They accounted for less than 1 percent of market share. None of the individual stakeholders, including waste management entities, customers, coffee chains etc. had had success in solving the problem.

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THE ENGAGEMENT

The Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability approached the DO School to develop a holistic, integrated solution. In response The DO School brought together the most talented, relevant impact entrepreneurs and innovators working in the field.

Over 1500 high impact individuals applied to participate in the challenge, after which a select group was invited to New York City. Using The DO Method and guidance from DO School facilitators, the group brought together all relevant stakeholders to co-create an innovative solution that generated value for all.

“Everyone from The DO School has done a fantastic job conceiving of the project, executing the details behind it and helping us launch the program”.

JIM MUNSON

President of the Brooklyn Roasting Company

STAKEHOLDER BENEFITS

COFFEE CHAINS

Coffee chains saved on the high cost of single-use cups – which is one of the most expensive factors of production. Sasdas Sadasdas asdasda asddasdadasasd

CUSTOMERS

Customers benefit from reduced prices made possible by a loyalty program. Since the cost of the cup gets deducted from the price, the beverage becomes cheaper.

WASTE MANAGEMENT

City waste management has much fewer throw-away cups to deal with because a circular economy has been created that benefits the environment. Das ashasdjasdjad

THE RESULT

Participants were able to develop over 100 commercial options, which they refined and honed to one single solution: Good to Go. The solution was then piloted across Brooklyn, inviting coffee chains to become part of a cup-sharing system with return stations around the city. After paying a modest deposit customers are given the option of getting a reusable cup. When returned, the cups are sanitized before being reused.

THE PILOT

The pilot was a huge success. The number of borough residents who bought reusable cups went up from 1 percent to 20 percent in just a few days. On completion of the engagement, The DO School and the city made the solution public commons. As a result, other cities across America and Europe have adopted the model. They also developed it further and implemented it in their own cities, leading to significant waste reductions around the world.

THE CUP CHALLENGE IN THE PRESS

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

 “With this new system, fellows are looking to not only transform the to-go cup but also help the city, and later the world, with its waste” 

FAST COMPANY

“A simple fix for cutting down on New York’s enormous waste stream of to-go coffee cups involves returning your cup when you’re done”.

CNBC

Katherin Kirschenmann, The DO School co-founder, explains the “Good To Go” program designed to reduce paper waste from single-use cups”.

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The DO School Innovation Lab GmbH

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Tel: +49 (0)30 847 11 88-0

E-Mail: info@thedoschool.org

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