Success story by the University of Hertfordshire

The University of Hertfordshire and Nestlé Nespresso have been jointly shortlisted in the UK Times Higher Education (THE) Awards for Most Innovative Contribution to Business-University Collaboration as a result of their work across various initiatives which have furthered Nespresso’s position as a thought leader within the industry.

Professor Jonathan Morris, Research Professor in Modern History and authority on the history of coffee culture at the University of Hertfordshire, was invited by Nespresso to apply his expertise to the design of a new e-learning module within their staff training programme, run by Nespresso and Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). Professor Morris will also deliver face-to-face tuition to staff on this e-learning module and supervise and assess dissertations.

Through his input, Nespresso’s international experts or ‘coffee ambassadors’ will be able to better understand consumer behaviour and Nespresso’s role within the value chain.

Professor Morris, who is also Co-Founder and Director of the Heritage for Business unit within the University’s Heritage Hub said: “This project with Nespresso ties into the work of the Heritage for Business in using history research to drive business growth through brand heritage.”

“As historians we’re able to carry out specialist research that places the history of a particular product, company, or commodity, into a broader context and brings an authority to the claims that a company makes when marketing its product or service.”

The University’s relationship with Nespresso initially began when the company approached Professor Morris to contribute his academic expertise to their industry-defining publication, The Craft and Science of Coffee. The book seeks to unite farmers, baristas, academics and analysts through conversations about coffee as a global product that influences millions of lives.

Dr Britta Folmer, book editor and Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Manager at Nespresso, commented: “Professor Morris was ‘the missing piece of the puzzle’, we needed to bring a broader social and human perspective to why we, as an industry, are where we are today.”

The book has been well received and has already achieved positive outcomes, not just locally, but globally. The book royalties will go towards the pioneering Nespresso AAA Farmer Future Program, the first ever retirement savings fund created especially for coffee farmers in Colombia.

The University of Hertfordshire looks forward to building on its partnership with Nespresso and fostering innovation in other industries through similar collaborative ventures.

Published: 26 September 2018


Find out more about the University of Hertfordshire’s Heritage for Business Hub here.