Portland Roasting Company: Farm Friendly Direct

Case Abstract

This case describes the issues and dilemmas facing a company in their efforts to differentiate their product through a social sustainability programme. Over the years, the company has built a strong reputation with their sustainability efforts, particularly amongst their peers in the specialty coffee industry. There is some question as to whether this reputation has been visible to consumers and if consumers see the value-proposition.  The case covers the history of coffee, the specialty coffee industry, the supply chain and roles of different participants, and the competitive landscape.

Furthermore, most of the competitive eco-labels and certification schemes are discussed.  The reader is asked to decide the appropriate method for conveying the company’s social sustainability efforts to the marketplace and beyond that, to consider how one might measure and monitor social programs in the developing world. The case is designed to highlight decisions related to marketing and operations strategy, pros and cons of certification, and particularly social sustainability versus the other aspects of sustainability.

Authors: Madeleine Pullman, Greg Stokes, Price Gregory, Mark Langston, Brandon Arends
Institution: Portland State University, USA
Competition Year2010
Place1st place
TrackCorporate Sustainability
Key WordsCorporate Sustainability, Coffee, Social sustainability programme, Supply chain, Eco-labels, Certification, Measuring, Monitoring
CoursesStrategy, Marketing, Supply Chain Management
Target AudienceMBA, Business Executives
Permission RightsThis case is part of the oikos free case collection. Download a free online copy below. If you are a faculty member and you are interested in teaching this case, you can request a free teaching note by sending us an email to freecase@oikosinternational.org.
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posted June 30, 2010

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