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Bio-Vert: Green to What Limit?

30 June 2012 | Cases | Entrepreneurship

Case Abstract Based in Canada, Savons Prolav is a small manufacturer of the environmentally-friendly Bio-Vert brand of cleaning products. Brother and sister Yan and Bianka Grand-Maison took over the family business in 2002 and have realigned the products to fit their vision: eco-friendly, effective, and affordable. After an environmental crisis in Quebec in 2007 spurred environmental legislation limiting phosphate use in detergents, Bio-Vert’s sales increased over 500%. However, since then ‘Green’ cleaning products have become more mainstream and competition is increasing from local and national brands. The traditional differentiation of the Bio-Vert brand as a cost-competitive environmental friendly alternative which performs as well as traditional mainstream brands is fading and a change of strategy is needed.  The options... »


30 June 2012 | Cases | Conservation, Strategy, Waste

Case Abstract In 2001 Tom Szaky, a Princeton freshman, founded TerraCycle in the hope of starting an eco-capitalist company built on waste – worm waste to be exact. Tom and his small team had little experience in building a business, but all possessed entrepreneurial spirit. Eventually, Tom dropped out of Princeton to pursue his dream of eliminating waste. Surviving on the goodwill of family, friends – both old and new – and a tremendous amount of dedication, the team had to constantly keep developing new ideas to keep the business from bankruptcy. The company eventually moved into partnering with companies who would sponsor the collection of waste associated with their brands, and TerraCycle would transform that waste into... »

Crediamigo: Partnering with VivaCred?

Case Abstract Fortaleza, Northeast Brasil – Marcelo Azevedo, Urban microfinance manager, and the planning committee of Crediamigo, Brazil’s largest microfinance institution need to figure out an entry strategy to Rio de Janeiro’s microfinance market. A part of the Banco do Nordeste, a regional development bank, Crediamigo has a 10 year long and 400,000 clients in the Northeast of Brazil. Its objective is to double its clients base for 2011; Rio de Janeiro’s market, 3000 km South of Crediamigo’s base, was the next priority. Crediamigo has two options. The first one consists of partnering with VivaCred, a small experienced microcredit NGO which operates in Rio de Janeiro slums. VivaCred was a microfinance NGO with relatively low organizational capabilities and... »

Mind the Gap: Royal Dutch Shell’s Sustainability Agenda in Nigeria

30 June 2012 | Cases | Development, Resources

Case Abstract Royal Dutch Shell has started to assume social and political responsibilities that go beyond legal requirements and fill the regulatory vacuum in global governance and a public responsibility gap in Nigeria. Which implications does this engagement have for the firm, governance and democracy? And which public responsibility strategies can a multinational company (MNC) like Shell employ in a complex operating environment such as Nigeria to be sustainable? This case explores the implications of Shell’s politicized role in a context where a regulatory governance framework is missing at the local and the global level. Additionally, the case discusses different public responsibility strategies that MNCs such as Shell can employ in a complex operating environment such as Nigeria.... »

Sustainable Development at PepsiCo

Case Abstract This case is about the sustainable development initiatives of one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, PepsiCo. Faced with various criticisms on the social and environmental fronts, PepsiCo adopted the ‘Performance with Purpose’ strategy in 2009 under the leadership of its CEO Indra Nooyi (Nooyi). This strategy was based upon the philosophy that the company’s financial performance should go hand in hand with its responsibilities toward society and the environment. The new sustainable development program contained 47 commitments that PepsiCo made toward society and these were divided into four broad areas: Performance, Human Sustainability, Environmental Sustainability, and Talent Sustainability. The first component was to its shareholders, committing itself to good returns. The other three... »

Building and Scaling a Cross-Sector Partnership: Oxfam America and Swiss Re Empower Farmers in Ethiopia

30 June 2012 | Cases | Development, Finance

Case Abstract After several years of preparation, in May 2009, Oxfam America (an international relief and development organization) and Swiss Re (a leading global reinsurer) along with other partners piloted Horn of Africa Risk Transfer for Adaptation. HARITA is an innovative model designed to help propel some of the poorest farmers in Ethiopia out of poverty by helping them cope with weather-related risk. Oxfam’s goal for HARITA was to develop a scalable model that could be disseminated throughout developing countries across the globe to help farmers deal with the effects of drought and other challenges associated with climate change. Swiss Re served initially as a funder and technical advisor for HARITA but also engaged in the project to... »

Of Orangutans and Chainsaws: Cargill, Inc. Confronts The Rainforest Action Network’s Palm Oil Advocacy

30 June 2012 | Cases | Consumption, Supply Chain

Case Abstract From October 2007 till September 2010, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), an environment and sustainability-focused nongovernmental organization (NGO) mounted a public campaign against Cargill, the United States-based agribusiness company. The campaign advocated the production and sale of sustainable palm oil because traditional palm oil cultivation destroyed rainforests and caused social upheaval. By 2011, RAN had forced many of Cargill’s customers (Unilever, Nestle, General Mills, and the Girl Scouts of America) to move to sustainable palm oil.  However, Cargill was adamant in its stance that, as a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), it adhered to the organization’s Principles and Criteria for palm oil.  It chose not to respond to RAN’s activism other than... »

Nuru Energy

Case Abstract Nuru Energy is a social venture that was created in 2008 by an MBA graduate with five years experience in the development sector. The entrepreneur starts from nothing, bootstrapping a social venture with the ambitious goal of providing affordable and effective lighting solutions to 800 million poor people without access to the electric grid in sub-Saharan Africa and India. The case describes the challenges of growing social enterprises that have dual roles of profit and social impact. It focuses in particular on financing challenges and provides a context to discuss different financing sources and their implications. The case is written in the first person, based on extensive interviews, and is illustrated with pictures of the products... »

oikos Newsletter June 2012

04 June 2012 | Newsletters

Rio+20 is just around the corner and oikos will be there. Follow our Student Reporters and/or apply until 10 June to join them for the World Resources Forum in October in Beijing. Speaking of deadlines, make sure to apply until 30 June to host the Spring Meeting 2013 and until 1 July to participate at this year’s Winter School! Moreover in this issue: oikos Graz celebrates its 10th anniversary and learn more about the revival of oikos Konstanz and its president Leila Kazmili! We also announce the winners of the 2012 oikos Global Case Writing Competition as well as the release of the latest oikos Case Quarterly. Enjoy! Read more... »

Social Entrepreneurship

22 May 2012

In case you have missed the International Summer School on Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability in Emerging Markets in Georgia, no worries. You will have plenty of other opportunities to learn about social entrepreneurship and how to put this knowledge into practice. Over the last twenty years, the so-called citizen sector came across the thought that an idea reaching the hands of a good entrepreneur is highly powerful. Social entrepreneurs are hence people who possess many innovative solutions to some of the most burning problems of social problems. These folks are remarkably persistent and ambitious while handling big social issues and trying to provide changes at a large scale. What Do Social Entrepreneurs Do? Instead of leaving the needs of... »