Case Study

Umicore’s transformation and the monetizing of sustainability

18 pages
May 2016
Reference: IMD-7-1708

Umicore’s CEO Marc Grynberg had been appointed chief executive officer in the last quarter of 2008 in the early stages of a global economic crisis, an ominous start of sorts. As a member of the executive committee, he had been part of the core team that transformed the company from a stagnant mining company – Union Minière – into a true global leader – Umicore Group – in the emerging global circular economy. As a result, the company was named the most sustainable company in the world in the 2013 annual Corporate Knights rankings. This was no small feat for a company that was born in 1805 as Vieille-Montagne. Umicore’s complete transformation was effected in less than a decade. The copper and zinc businesses were spun-off and listed separately, leading to the adoption of a radically new business model. The old mining-refining approach to developing material solutions was replaced by a leading-edge recycling-based model that relied on chemistry and metallurgy. By adopting the new business model, the company had become a leader in terms of innovation and sustainability. It now needed to reformulate its strategy to reap the fruits of the heavy investments. Grynberg and his team were also increasingly challenged to demonstrate how the company could monetize its non-financial performance with key stakeholders. Can sustainability really create value? If so, through what mechanisms?

Learning Objective

Monetizing the circular economy, managing sustainability, stakeholder management, responsible management, change leadership, innovation.

Responsibility, Growth Management, Mining, Financial Reporting, Stakeholder Management, Financial Performance, Pricing, Strategic Change
Umicore, Utilities, Recycling, Materials, Metals and Mining
Field Research
© 2016
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