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Nespresso CEO says its B Corp certification is helping it attract talent

Good morning from Geneva.

It’s a summer Friday, so a travel story seems fitting. Yesterday I took the train to Vevey, a town on the other side of Lake Geneva, to have a coffee with Guillaume Le Cunff, CEO of Nespresso. It turned into a trip that delivered unexpected lessons.

My journey started with a beginner’s mistake. Instead of going to Nespresso's office, I navigated my way to the Le Corbusier-designed headquarters of its parent company, Nestlé, by accident. But with beautiful views over the Swiss riviera, the French Alps, and Lake Geneva, I had no regrets. Whoever insists on working remotely clearly doesn’t work at Nestlé's HQ.

Nespresso's HQ—once I made it there—was just as striking. The coffeemaker’s offices are nestled in Nestlé first-ever factory, built in 1866 and stunningly redesigned. Before being used by Nespresso, the site briefly served as a museum, and the mix between 19th Century industrial and 21st Century modern art elements gives the space a Stanley Kubrick kind of feel.

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As for my meeting with the company’s CEO, the Frenchman Le Cunff welcomed me in white sneakers and offered me a cup of Nespresso—what else?—next to a life-size cardboard cutout of George Clooney.

Le Cunff told me about the company’s achievement of being one of the largest globally certified B Corps. I figured he’d sought the B Corp label for marketing purposes, but he says the principal upside has been employee enthusiasm.

“The main benefit of being a B Corp—and I didn’t expect it—is from the inside,” he said. “We brought 14,000 people across the world along in our journey. You will see it in the signature of people. To attract talent, this is part of the conversation. Any young talent interested in Nespresso, will browse and will see the B Corp label.”

Le Cunff also pointed to the fundamental improvements in operations the B Corp process engendered: “B Corp made us more systematic and homogenous,” he said. “There is a common language between everyone, whether you work for us in Thailand, Malaysia, the U.S., or Chile. Everyone will ask questions about sustainability in the same way, and answer in the same way.”

That shared commitment matters greatly, the CEO said, because “with no commitment to sustainability, there is no coffee.”

More news below.

Peter Vanham
peter.vanham@fortune.com
@petervanham

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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