February 16, 2017

How Heineken Mexico’s CEO Uses Purpose To Unleash The Power Of His Organization


Aaron Hurst

Heineken Mexico CEO, Dolf van den Brink, estimates that the company is saving several million dollars a year by selling their used paper bottle labels to paper companies to make napkins and tissues. “We were paying money to ship the spent labels to a landfill, and now we are going to earn money,” he says.

But for van den Brink it was not just about the outcome, which came out of a company-wide sustainability challenge, but that the source of the “brilliant idea,” was a maintenance worker in one of their breweries. Working on the frontlines, the worker saw firsthand how more than half of the waste coming out of the breweries was the paper removed from old beer bottles, that ended up in landfills when the bottles were washed to be reused. Where others saw trash, he had seen the potential to be a more sustainable business and make money in the process.

When he presented his idea to van den Brink’s team, “we just applauded him and he started crying. He was so touched that he completely became emotional and the tears were rolling.” It was a powerful lesson for van den Brink. It helped him see, “what organizations are capable of if you manage to unleash all those hidden passions and energies that we all have,” as he recalls.

Read more on Fast Co. here.

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