The Oxford University Animal Ethics Society (OUAES) recently competed in the International Business Ethics Case Competition (IBECC) and won in two competitions, coming second in the third.
Professor Tom White founded the IBECC, which involves international teams analysing a business problem and proposing a practical ethical solution. This year’s team – Susana Higueras Carrillo (Linacre College), Hayden Carroll (St Edmund Hall), Lysander Mawby (St Edmund Hall), Teresa Habib Meriggi (St Anne’s College), and Emma Schneck (Linacre College) – proposed an ethical solution to the production of collagen in the form of yeast-based collagen.
The collagen market is worth 9.1 billion USD a year. Its primary uses are in the beauty and medical industries. The collagen is extracted from the bodies of bovine, poultry, and marine animals. A yeast-based alternative can reduce animal suffering while providing a cleaner, more medically targeted form of collagen.
Students from 18 universities competed from countries including the US, Canada, Iran, and Russia. There was especially fierce competition in the graduate division.
The competition is designed to marry innovative business thinking with ethical problem-solving and is an intensive two-day experience. The OUAES team won in the full 25 Minute and 90-second presentations and was second in the 10 Minute presentations. A paper based on their presentation will be published in a forthcoming Journal of Animal Ethics issue.
Deputy director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, Dr Clair Linzey (who coached the team), congratulated the students on their tremendous achievement: “This is the most successful team the OUAES has ever sent to IBECC. It is a stunning result and admirably well-deserved.
“There is increasing ethical sensitivity to animal exploitation, and it is so good to see students leading the way in devising practical ethical alternatives to using animal products.”