Heleen van Poecke

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On December 13, 2015, Heleen van Poecke commented on Unilever: More Than a Just a Marketing Company :

I think what Unilever is trying to do is super interesting and encouraging. If big players such as Unilever actually commit to sustainability that can actually have an impact. Paul Polman’s reaction to the cop 21 agreement reached in Paris this weekend underlines his commitment but also the fact that Unilever cannot go at it alone. His twitter read: #ParisAgreement gives biz & investors confidence to shift to net zero GHG emissions economy #ZeroBy2050.
In order for Unilever to be able to focus on sustainability and improve on factors such as packaging, as Teti has mentioned, the company needs to work on creating a level playing field for companies that are focused on sustainability and companies that could not care less. It can do that via private-sector partnerships but should also continue to work together with governments globally to enforce regulation and initiatives that can help sustainable companies compete fairly. Unilever can help push small initiatives globally, such as implementing guidelines on compostability of packaging, bans on the use of plastic and replacement with sustainable materials etc. That Unilever does this is paramount, it has both the size and credibility to do that and with Paul Polman’s active engagement in the global climate change negotiations should also have the ears of many governments globally.


On December 13, 2015, Heleen van Poecke commented on Rent the Runway: A Successful Fashion Forward Business :

An interesting business model that still leaves me puzzled. Especially in the case of evening dresses, I see many challenges keeping the consumer satisfied and delivering on the customer promise. Clearly, if RTR succeeds in renting out ~10x it should at least be break-even on the retail purchase price of the dress. Considering that the company by now should have significant buying power I assume the company can buy at significantly lower prices than retail and need not rent a dress out that many times to be able to make a profit. But how do you ensure you have both the breadth in options that fashion-concious women are looking for, as well as make sure a dress is profitable? Especially for smaller or larger sizes, this seems challenging. Although some people might actually be so lazy that dry-cleaning is a hurdle to them purchasing a dress (although I do not really understand that given that in many countries around the world this can now also be arranged hassle-free online), fit to me seems to me the most important consideration when contemplating to buy a dress. In fact, it is the reason why I would not use RTR. Most designer dresses are sold in convection sizes and the actual brand stores offer tailoring in-store to guarantee perfect fit. Although RTR might offer dresses at 10% of retail price, that is still way too much money for an ill-fitting dress. With RTR there is no option for alteration. Is there any way RTR can address customization whilst still being able to rent the dresses multiple times. For instance by altering the length of dresses for certain ranges of length so that women who fall within those ranges can at least rent a dress that they do not trip over?

On December 13, 2015, Heleen van Poecke commented on EWOS – The Global Innovator in Aquaculture :

Interesting business and operating model. The RAPID calculator is sheer marketing genius. It seems as though EWOS products are well protected by IP and that the company is well positioned to grab a large share of the salmon feed production market if it’s products are superior to the limited amount of competitors out there.
I do wonder how far one can innovate in feed production though? At some point the marginal returns of improving salmon feed are going to be so small that competitors might be able to play catch up if they manage to invest in R&D and attract brilliant scientists such as Wathne. This risk is even more obvious if IP expires. Other than with machines, there might be biological limitations to how fast you can make Salmon grow that in the end cap your growth model, even with a strong partner like Cargill backing you and investing in R&D?