Seventh Generation: Balancing Customer Expectations with Supply Chain Realities

Case Abstract

The case focuses on Seventh Generation, a maker of environmentally-sensitive household nondurables such as soaps, detergents, paper products, and diapers. Faced with the prospect of being without a product when a contract manufacturer could no longer make its natural baby wipes, the company substituted conventional wipes. But some of the ingredients in these conventional baby wipes proved unacceptable to its customers. The case provides a broad background on the industry in which Seventh Generation competes, and the developing green niche within it. A history of the company’s circuitous journey to become the leader in its field is then presented, with special reference to the importance of its corporate values to strategy and staffing. The case closes with a meeting to decide what to do about the baby wipes problem.

Authors: Mike Russo, Dan Goldstein
Institution: University of Oregon, USA
Competition Year2007
Place1st place
TrackCorporate Sustainability
Key WordsHousehold goods, Baby wipes, Corporate values, Values-driven organisation, Environmental differentiation, Managing sustainability-oriented tradeoffs
Permission RightsThis case is part of Environmental Management: Readings and Cases (by Sage) and oikos Case Collection book (Volume 1): Case Studies in Sustainability Management and Strategy (by Greenleaf).
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posted June 30, 2007

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