Marketing Case Studies

Amanco: Developing the Sustainability Scorecard

Company: Amanco
Publisher: Harvard
Call Number: 9-107-038
Year Published: 2008

The case describes the challenges of using the Balanced Scorecard to implement a triple-bottom-line strategy for delivering excellent economic, environmental, and social performance. The owners and senior executive team of Amanco, a producer of plastic pipe and complete water treatment systems, want strong financial returns but are also deeply committed to improving the environment and making a difference in people's lives. Robert Salas, CEO, wants a management system that communicates and motivates Amanco's three high-level goals.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
How can Amanco develop and implement an effective measuring stick for its sustainability that will lead to effective managerial strategies?

Website where case study can be found:
http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/web/product_detail.seam?E=1596&R=107038-PDF-ENG&conversationId=1790366


Business Model Innovation by Better Place--A Green Ecosystem for the Mass Adoptions of Electric Cars

Company: Better Place
Publisher: Oikos
Call Number: N/A
Year Published: 2010

Shai Agassi started Better Place with the ambition of setting up an ecosystem – including a ‘smart grid’ of charging stations and battery swapping facilities – for electric vehicles. This ecosystem was expected to eliminate the barriers to the mass adoption of electric cars for personal transportation. This case discusses the innovative business model of Better Place, which proposed to offer transportation services to consumers through miles per month subscription plans, with the cost of the electric car being subsidized based on the tenure of the plan.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
How does Better Place make the electric car more relevant and viable?

Website where case study can be found:
http://www.oikos-international.org/academic/case-collection/inspection-copies/alphabetical-list/better-place.html


Burt's Bees: Leaving the hive

Company: Burt's Bees
Publisher: Harvard
Call Number: 9-507-017
Year Published: 2007

Rapid growth is pushing Burt's Bees' natural personal care products into mass distribution channels, with products and brand elements that are less quirky, more commercial than they used to be. Can Burt's Bees become the "Starbucks of personal care" without distancing itself too much from the people, values, and narratives that have made the brand successful thus far?

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
Can Burt's Bees become the “Starbucks of personal care” without distancing itself too much from the people, values, and narratives that have made the brand successful thus far?

Website where case study can be found:
http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/web/product_detail.seam?E=31390&R=507017-PDF-ENG&conversationId=104171


Cisco's Vision: A Smart+Connected World

Company: Cisco
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B13M116
Year Published: 2013

Having been called upon by global leaders to use its technology to address the global crises of climate change and poverty, Cisco opts to pursue sustainability for corporate social responsibility and as a driver of differentiation and competitive advantage. The case discussion explores how the company answered this call to action and how the resulting strategies have proven effective in protecting its competitive advantage in an increasingly hostile business environment. With the introduction of its new and ground-breaking technology, Cisco seeks to drive sustainability and future profits. The question becomes: will it work? The CEO ponders how he could use his company’s core business of information technology (IT) to drive global environmental and economic sustainability. Can he fulfill his dual responsibility of doing the right thing for his shareholders while, at the same time, doing the right thing for the world at large?

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
How can solving global problems can create advantages for companies and become a source of innovation? Is Cisco is actually helping the world address issues such as climate change and poverty reduction or is it just trying to sell product? Will smart cities and ICT technologies deliver on their promise to both shareholders and stakeholders?

Website where case study can be found:
https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=60638


Clarke: Transformation for Environmental Sustainability

Company: Clarke
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B12C012
Year Published: 2012

Clarke, a pesticide-selling company, has a core business that is environmentally harmful by its very nature. Its journey to sustainability faced unique challenges even when innovation led to new green products, processes, technologies and business models. As such, its leadership had to cope with the overwhelming task of engaging both its employees and customers in the idea that sustainability can be effective and profitable.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
How does a company overcome the challenges involved in acquiring the necessary buy-in from employees and customers who are skeptical about environmental sustainability as a potential driver of business strategy?

Website where case study can be found:
https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=53788


Sustainability Amidst Uncertainty--Columbia Forest Products' Pursuit of Sustainability in a Changing Market

Company: Columbia Forest Products
Publisher: Oikos
Call Number: N/A
Year Published: 2009

From its humble beginnings as a small shuttered plywood mill, Columbia Forest Products has grown to be one of the largest players in the U.S. hardwood plywood products market. This case follows the company’s introduction of a new sustainable plywood product in an extremely competitive and economically challenging market place.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
Should Columbia go ahead with its sustainability theme? Will introduction of PureBond be a feasible option?

Website where case study can be found:
http://www.oikos-international.org/academic/case-collection/inspection-copies/alphabetical-list/columbia-forest-products.html


Deja Shoe (A)

Company: Deja shoe
Publisher: World Resources Institute
Call Number: N/A
Year Published: 1996

Deja Shoe’s founder and new management team wanted to develop a business strategy based on pro-environment principles that would enable the firm to out-compete established industry players Nike and Timberland.?

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
How does a small start up company create environmental footwear?

Website where case study can be found:
http://pdf.wri.org/bell/case_1-56973-137-3_full_version_a_english.pdf


Du Pont Freon Products Division (A)

Company: Du Pont
Publisher: Harvard
Call Number: 9-389-111
Year Published: 1995

In 1988, the Du Pont Co. is abruptly confronted with solid scientific evidence that chlorofluorocarbons are destroying the earth's ozone shield. Du Pont, with its Freon brand product line, was the world's leading producer of these chemicals and had to decide what to do. The purpose of the case is to examine how changing science and environmental problems affect competitive conditions and corporate strategy. In particular, the case examines the criteria by which companies formulate policy.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
What should DuPont do about mounting concerns and legal actions pertaining to the use of Freon and other CFCs in its products

Website where case study can be found:
http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/web/product_detail.seam?E=21813&R=389111-PDF-ENG&conversationId=106150


Ecovative Design LLC: A Biological Materials Startup

Company: Ecovative Design LLC
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B13M125
Year Published: 2013

Ecovative Designs (Ecovative), a start-up company in upstate New York, uses an innovative process to combine agricultural waste and mycelium (mushroom “roots”) to grow forms for use in a wide variety of applications, especially a protective packaging material. Not only does this new product replace the need for the environmentally harmful alternative, extruded polystyrene, but the production process is less energy intensive. It exemplifies the cradle-to-cradle design indicative of a sustainably embedded product and attractive to companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint. In 2013, the partners are considering whether to sign a contract with Sealed Air, one of the largest distributors of packaging materials in the world, but the deal would mean relinquishing control over the only profitable segment of their company. They are considering alternative growth strategies to find the one that fits best with their goal: to have the largest impact on the planet while remaining profitable.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
How can a start-up’s radical sustainability innovation be scaled up (and with who) to meet both the founders’ needs for financial viability and to achieve significant environmental impact?

Website where case study can be found:
https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=60902


Ford Motor Company: New Shades of Green Through Soy Foam

Company: Ford Motor Company
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B13M109
Year Published: 2013

Ford Motor Co. develops and commercializes a green technology that replaces a traditional and scarce resource with an abundant bio-material. The pilot project becomes hugely successful, and, within the company, the idea of expanding the use of bio-material gains considerable momentum, but implementation and customer acceptance prove to be a challenge. Two members from the company’s research and engineering division work together to overcome these obstacles and move the company toward a vision of sustainability that involves more than just fuel economy and cost reduction.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
What are the challenges faced by internal change agents of sustainability projects in their efforts to initiate and grow these projects throughout a large organization? How should these change agents manage the nuances of implementation once the advantages and disadvantages of such a “green” innovation have been determined?

Website where case study can be found:
https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=60433


GOJO Industries: Aiming for Global Sustainability Leadership

Company: GOJO Industries
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B13M108
Year Published: 2013

GOJO Industries, a U.S.-based hand hygiene company, plans to use sustainability as a business strategy in its big hairy audacious goal of reaching one billion people every day by 2020. It uses a six level framework to embed sustainability in every aspect of its business internally and externally. The company has a long history of using sustainability to drive innovation and facilitate expansion into new markets and sees sustainability as a key differentiator from its competitors to achieve its goal. In order to so, the company must also consider the importance of employee engagement in order to further embed sustainability and increase the number of people it reaches with its products.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
For a company pursuing sustainability leadership with a visionary BHAG, how might it engage employees more deeply in the pursuit of such outcomes in ways that are both good for society and the environment and good for customers and the business? What would make it possible for every employee to be even more inspired and authentically engaged in the kind of creativity and innovation that will be needed for the company to achieve its goals?

Website where case study can be found:
https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=60429


Impact Makers

Company: Impact Makers
Publisher: Darden (UVA)
Call Number: UV1042
Year Published: 2009

Michael Pirron was a health care services consultant who had always dreamed of starting a "Nonprofit Competitive Business" with a social mission. In 2006, he launched Impact Makers, a new hybrid entity that crossed the nonprofit/for-profit lines. Impact Makers had several unique components: It would contribute strategic consulting, and all profits, to charitable community organizations; there was no stock and equity ownership; it had a volunteer board of directors and its financial information was open to the public. How would Impact Makers raise investment capital with its unique organizational structure? And how would the company survive?

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
How would Impact Makers get more customers, revenue, business etc?

Website where case study can be found:
http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/web/product_detail.seam?E=1044154&R=UV1042-PDF-ENG&conversationId=236746


Kimpton Hotels: Balancing Strategy and Environmental Sustainability

Company: Kimpton Hotels
Publisher: Oikos
Call Number: N/A
Year Published: 2006

Michael Pace faced a dilemma. He was determined to help the boutique hotel chain "walk the talk" regarding its commitment to environmental responsibility, but he also had agreed not to introduce any new products or processes that would be more expensive than those they replaced. Now that the first phase of the program had been implemented nationwide, he and the company's team of "eco-champions" were facing some difficult challenges with the rollout of the second, more ambitious, phase.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
Products considered for phase 2 of operations would require additional budget to mark total transition to an environment friendly hotel.

Website where case study can be found:
http://www.oikos-international.org/academic/case-collection/inspection-copies/alphabetical-list/kimpton-hotels.html


Living Homes

Company: Living Homes
Publisher: Oikos
Call Number: N/A
Year Published: 2008

Steve Glenn, a successful internet start-up entrepreneur, returned to his love of architecture and commitment to sustainability by creating a company that would provide signature, green, prefabricated homes to the “cultural creative” market. The case outlines the state of both the housing industry and the green building industry in 2007.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
Can Living Homes merge prefabrication, green and high end in the housing market?

Website where case study can be found:
http://www.oikos-international.org/academic/case-collection/inspection-copies/alphabetical-list/living-homes.html


Manila Water Company

Company: Manila Water Co.
Publisher: Harvard
Call Number: 9-508-004
Year Published: 2007

In 1997, the Philippines government privatized its water utility in the metropolitan Manila area. The East Zone concession was won by Manila Water Company and the West Zone concession by Maynilad Water Services. Over the next decade, Manila Water turned in an impressive and profitable performance, while Maynilad failed.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
The opportunity to own the West concession

Website where case study can be found:
http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/search/manila%2520water%2520company?Ntk=HEMainSearch&N=0


Molten Metal Technology (A)

Company: Molten Metal Technology
Publisher: Boston University
Call Number: 99-03A
Year Published: 1999

Just six years after its founding in 1989, Molten Metal Technology Inc. (MMT) was on the verge of huge successes. The company had successfully developed an exciting new technology, catalytic extraction processing (CEP) that would not only break down hazardous and radioactive wastes into benign forms but also recycle them back into marketable products. This new technology had great potential but the growth strategy was critical.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
How can a small start up company go about commercializing a revolutionary technology?

Website where case study can be found:
http://webuser.bus.umich.edu/ajhoff/teaching_cases/MMT%20(A)%20Case.pdf


OQOQO: Socially Conscious Fashions

Company: OQOQO
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B06A023
Year Published: 2006

Chip Wilson started a new streetwear line of apparel that would combine fashion with social consciousness. The apparel sold at OQOQO was made from natural and organic materials, under safe and fair working conditions, and it was produced in a way to reduce environmental impact. There were some problems regarding the sourcing of materials and the customer's perception of certain materials such as soy and hemp. Chip must decide whether to expand the number of OQOQO stores.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
Is expansion of stores needed?

Website where case study can be found:
http://www.caseplace.org/d.asp?d=1147


The Fair Trade Story (A, B, C) (A) The Discovery of Charity Trade; (B) The Foundation of Café Direct; (C) From Charity Spin-off to Gourmet Coffee

Company: OxFam, Cafedirect
Publisher: Oikos
Call Number: N/A
Year Published: 2005

This case traces the evolution of fair trade, from ‘charity trade', i.e. the sale of objects produced in developing countries with little functional value to the sale of functional, and often organic products to developed countries, the increasing role of alternative trade organisations in providing minimum prices, finance, training and other trade ‘premiums’ which are necessary tools for marginal producers to gain access to the global market; the role of consumer support.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
Achieving a balance between market oriented and social/developmental goals

Website where case study can be found:
http://www.oikos-international.org/academic/case-collection/inspection-copies/alphabetical-list/fair-trade-story.html


Pyramyd Air: Looking through the Scope of Values

Company: Pyramyd Air
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B13C038
Year Published: 2013

Pyramyd Air, a small and growing online airgun retailer serving the shooting community, wants to broaden its sustainability practices from its current internal initiatives in order to communicate an even stronger value proposition: sustainability isn’t just about recycling and efficiency, it is about a thriving environment leading to more engaged employees and more loyal premium customers. Pyramyd Air recognizes that some sustainability practices are vital to its customers’ long-term enjoyment of a flourishing outdoor sporting industry. 

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
For a company with strong customer relationships but operating in a sector not usually frequented by pro-environment types, can sustainability strengthen the relationship between employees and customers by building on the inherent industry values of the great outdoors and a sense of community? How can the company’s culture and employee perspectives evolve in order to frame sustainability in a new light leading to specific sustainability initiatives that the company could pursue in order to resonate with customers and increase profits?

Website where case study can be found:
https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=60558


Reciclare: Rethinking the Future

Company: Reciclare
Publisher: SKE
Call Number: SKE-135
Year Published: 2009

In 2006, Reciclare, an association of scavengers of paper, cardboard and reusable materials founded by formerly homeless people from the city of Guariní, celebrated its 16th anniversary. Despite the experience it had gained over this time, its sustainability still faced countless challenges.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
To take part in the public bidding process or not?

Website where case study can be found:
http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/web/product_detail.seam?E=1592168&R=SKE135-PDF-ENG&conversationId=105623


The SEKEM Initiative

Company: SEKEM
Publisher: IESE Business School
Call Number: 0-304-072
Year Published: 2004

Sekem was founded by Ibrahim Abouleish, an Egyptian who had been living, studying and working in Austria prior to his return to Egypt in 1977, the year he established Sekem. In 2003 it consisted of three main parts: the Sekem group of companies, the Egyptian Society for Cultural Development and the Cooperative of Sekem Employees, together employing more than 2,000 people. This case portrays the complex set of circumstances that frames Sekem's decisions to further grow and develop the initiative along its historical path of holistic development in the social, economic and cultural spheres.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
To initiate holistic development able to create economic, social and cultural value in a sustainable manner.

Website where case study can be found:
http://www.caseplace.org/d.asp?d=427


Taj Hotels: Building Sustainable Livelihoods

Company: Taj Hotels
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B13C032
Year Published: 2013

This case explores issues faced by the corporate sustainability manager at the corporate headquarters of a large hotel group in a developing nation as she implements her company’s corporate sustainability strategy through supplier partnerships with bottom-of-the-pyramid (BoP) social organizations. Under the rubric of responsible purchasing, the hotelier’s “Creating Sustainable Livelihoods” initiative engaged cause-based nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) by exploring opportunities where the products or services of such organizations could substitute for similar products or services sourced from for-profit suppliers. 

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
The case illustrates the challenges inherent in a Base-of-the-Pyramid responsible purchasing strategy, including the delicate balance between meeting business objectives while supporting social causes. These challenges revolve around developing and implementing cross-sector partnerships with BoP nonprofit producer organizations in the Indian context. Discussion is likely to center less on differences in partners’ missions, cultures, and long-term objectives, and more on the difficulties present in organizing even when those differences are reconciled, especially through symbiotic long-term objectives.

Website where case study can be found:
https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=60126


Tennant Company: Can “Chemical-Free” Be a Pathway to Competitive Advantage?

Company: Tennant
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B12M020
Year Published: 2012

The case of Tennant Company is one that describes a floor-cleaning company that differentiated itself by introducing chemical-free cleaning equipment. Not only did it strategically evolve as an environmentally responsible sustainable business, it also used that same principle to its competitive advantage. By marketing its products as equally effective in performance, competitive in price and “greener” on the environment, the revamp was a success to all involved parties.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
Is a proven ecological innovation without any customer or financial trades-off enough of a business proposition to meet customers’ expectations, investors’ ambitions, and the company’s goals? And if so, where do you draw the line in making superior environmental performance the basis for competitive advantage?

Website where case study can be found:
https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=53837


Sustainability at Tetra Pak: Recycling Post-Consumer Cartons

Company: Tetra Pak
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B12M069
Year Published: 2012

Tetra Pack India aimed to uphold its image of an environmentally responsible company by meeting its goals for recycling post consumer cartons (PCC). While Tetra Pack’s ‘Renew’, ‘Reduce’, ‘Recycle’, ‘be Responsible’ philosophy succeeded in other regions of the world, the particular geographical, socioeconomic and political climate in India posed various challenges. Tetra Pak India’s team redefined its strategy by forging partnerships and alliances with non-governmental organizations, scrap dealers, rag-pickers, commercial establishments and organizations that champion the cause of the environment.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
With ever-changing mindsets, increasing regulations and growing customer expectations, how can Tetra Pak face the future challenges to ensure that its success from the PCC recycling initiative can be sustained and scaled up?

Website where case study can be found:
https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=55259


The Ambrose Hotel:Eco-labeling Strategy for Sustainable Lodging

Company: The Ambrose Hotel
Publisher: Oikos
Call Number: N/A
Year Published: 2009

The case traces the story of the Ambrose Hotel, a hotel based in California whose owner has invested in green practices and is interested in pursuing an eco-labeling strategy in order to better communicate her environmental achievements. It emphasises the difference between the adoption of environmental management practices and their communication through eco-labels. It highlights the challenges associated with the use of eco-labels as an environmental differentiation strategy when several emerging eco-labels are in competition.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
How should Ambrose go about convincing customers that they are truly green?

Website where case study can be found:
http://www.oikos-international.org/academic/case-collection/inspection-copies/alphabetical-list/ambrose-hotel.html


Costa Rica's Reputation as Ecotourism Destination at Stake?

Company: The Nation of Costa Rica
Publisher: ECCH
Call Number: 508-103-1
Year Published: 2009

Costa Rica has gained the reputation as a preferred destination for ecotourism. It attracted foreign tourists with its beautiful landscapes and climate, national parks, wildlife refuges, beautiful plants, cloudy and rainy forests, and sky-kissing mountains. In addition, political stability and economic growth helped attract 1.9 million foreign tourists earning an estimated $1.92 billion revenues in 2007. But an increasing tourist flow and foreign direct investment in the real estate sector posed a threat for its ecotourism.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
How can Costa Rica maintain its image as an environmentally rich tourist destination in the world?

Website where case study can be found:
http://www.caseplace.org/d.asp?d=5213


Verne Global: Building a Green Data Center in Iceland

Company: Verne
Publisher: Harvard
Call Number: 9-509-063
Year Published: 2009

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
How can Verne best integrate its Green strategy into its Sales and Marketing message?

Website where case study can be found:
http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/web/product_detail.seam?E=823150&R=509063-PDF-ENG&conversationId=139125


Viridity Energy: The Challenge and Opportunity of Promoting Clean Energy Solutions

Company: Viridity Energy, Inc.
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B12M035
Year Published: 2012

Viridity Energy, a smart grid company, is engaged in sustainability for two reasons. On one hand, it finds profitable opportunities by helping its customers cut energy bills. And on the other hand, it’s getting credit for that environmental responsibility. This case highlights the challenges and opportunities of smart grid companies to promote clean energy solutions, especially the challenge of doing less harm to include progressively greater eco-effectiveness in competitive markets.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
Will consuming fewer ‘dirty’ watts be enough of an objective in a future facing rising societal expectations and competitors offering similar benefits?

Website where case study can be found:
https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=54018