Policy Case Studies

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


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


A Model of Clean Energy Entrepreneurship in Africa: E+Co's Path to Scale

Company: E+Co
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 907M59
Year Published: 2009

The founder and executive director of E+Co faces the challenge of ten-fold growth and reviews the core parts of the company's innovative business model, the changes in the energy markets around the world, and the rationale for local solutions to energy scarcity and inefficiency. Also presented is a set of entrepreneurial growth strategies that preserve the core of the model - i.e., simultaneously tackling energy poverty and energy waste, and bringing people up the energy ladder with locally suitable and affordable solutions.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
challenge of ten-fold growth and reviews the core parts of the company's innovative business model, the changes in the energy markets around the world, and the rationale for local solutions to energy scarcity and inefficiency

Website where case study can be found:
http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/web/product_detail.seam?E=59126&R=907M59-PDF-ENG&conversationId=108186


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


La Vaca Independiente: Should a Social Enterprise Adopt a For-Profit Business Model?

Company: La Vaca Independiente
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B13C033
Year Published: 2013

This case presents a social enterprise considering whether a for-profit model might be an effective way to scale its impact. Mexico City-based La Vaca Independiente (The Independent Cow) was founded to bring art to underprivileged children. The founder observed that many global problems are caused by humanity’s increasing state of isolation, with individuals disconnected from the planet and from each other. La Vaca focused exclusively on a program called Developing Intelligence through Art (DIA). Using artwork as a stimulus for thought and discussion, DIA provided individuals with opportunities to develop meaning in their lives. She believed, based on evidence that companies lose annual revenue due to the effects of isolationism on their employees, that she and her team could pursue a for-profit business model in order to expose La Vaca to markets and opportunities inaccessible to a charitable organization.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
What was La Vaca's value proposition? Was it to expand the original DIA model, which had already proven to be successful, or should it attempt to expand into markets other than education? Would it be better to stay true to its original model at a small scale or to branch out and risk the integrity of the program? What internal changes might they need to make in order to become profitable?

Website where case study can be found:
https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=60289


Towards a Sustainable Model and Ecological Integrity in South Africa

Company: Londolozi - KNP
Publisher: Harvard
Call Number: 9-709-001
Year Published: 2008

The Londolozi game viewing reserve in South Africa became a defining icon of ecotourism during the 1990s and early 2000s--that is, a tourist business promoting ecological land management and, at the same time, local economic development. The Sabi Sand Game reserve (within which Londolozi was located) was initially created by the government to provide hunters with an area in which to hunt wildlife. Through the 1980s and 1990s, the farms within the Sabi Sand Game reserve converted their functions from hunting to wildlife viewing, and the fence was taken down.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
The new challenge for the farms while transforming into wildlife viewing became land management and local economic development

Website where case study can be found:
http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/web/product_detail.seam?E=46698&R=709001-PDF-ENG&conversationId=107842


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