Purchasing Strategies and Sustainability: The Migros Palm Oil

Case Abstract

In 1999, a specific theme began to emerge in the Swiss media: the role of the palm oil industry in the deforestation of the rainforest. Given this development of the public debate, the retailer Migros began to investigate purchasing sustainable palm oil for its products. To increase the legitimacy of Migros’ efforts and to gain support by experts, Migros began to collaborate with WWF Switzerland. Jointly, the two parties developed their own standard on sustainable palm oil production.

When Migros purchased the first palm oil supplies complying with this standard, Migros began to fuel the public debate. It now communicated to the public that the palm oil industry was a problem and that Migros was not contributing to it. Once Migros had gained a reputational advantage for its project, it initiated talks on an industry standard for sustainable palm oil production. Today, this standard gains increasing acceptance in the global consumer goods industry.

Authors: Jens Hamprecht, Daniel Corsten
Institution: University of St. Gallen, Switzerland; London Business School, UK
Competition Year2006
Place2nd place
Key WordsCorporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainable Development, Retail and Consumer Goods, Supply Chain, Strategy, Resource-Based View, Institutions, Service, Operations Strategy
Permission RightsThis case is available for purchase from the Case Centre: Part A (606-045-1), Part B (606-046-1). It is also part of the oikos Case Collection book (Volume 1): Case Studies in Sustainability Management and Strategy published by Greenleaf.
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posted June 30, 2006

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