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Responsibility

by Publication Date
published: 26 Feb 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Equipment leasing
  • Region: Africa

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Abstract:
Equity for Tanzania, based in Moshi, a remote area of Tanzania, operates a profitable business model that leases equipment to small businesses. The model could be replicated in other developing markets, including neighbours in East Africa.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Understanding the elements of constructing an interface to support formal market exchange and produce positive social impact.

Keywords:
Inclusive Market, Business Development, Formal Market Exchange, Social Enterprise, Equipment Leasing

published: 29 Jan 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Food
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
Mrida (Sanskrit for soil), a fledgling social business venture, uses the ‘Earthspired’ brand to sell products made from high-value plants and herbs – sourced sustainably from small farmers in India – to middle-class consumers. Mrida’s founders have ambitions to grow the brand in India and internationally but need to address several interconnected questions: What should the value proposition for Earthspired be and how should it be communicated? What is the most appropriate distribution channel – direct selling, retail, or on-line sales? What should be the business strategy to scale the Earthspired brand in view of the limited resources available?

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case has been successfully taught to both MBA and executive audiences. It can be used in courses/modules on doing business at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) to explore the challenges of engaging with the BOP sustainably as a part of the supply chain, by helping BOP members leverage their limited assets more effectively. It also offers an opportunity to think through branding/marketing strategy challenges holistically from a business perspective. The case context – a small and resource-strapped start-up – underlines how branding is not just for large, well-funded companies with large marketing budgets. Branded businesses can be built through the careful deployment of limited resources across business activities.

Keywords:
Social Venture, Sustainability, Bop, Bottom of the Pyramid, Branding, India, Entrepreneurship, Business Model Innovation, Marketing Strategy, Business Strategy, Emerging Markets, Start-Up, Sme, Small Business

published: 30 Oct 2017

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Management Consulting
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
After getting his MBA, Gib Bulloch pursues a conventional management consulting career with Accenture for seven years. Concerned that he is not contributing enough to society in his everyday work, he is given leave to work on a development project with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in Macedonia. The experience strengthens his resolve to transition to a career with social impact. He wonders if he could build a development consulting business within Accenture, but struggles to come up with a business model that could yield a favorable return for the company. What should Gib do?

Pedagogical Objectives:
It is common for people on seemingly successful career paths to have doubts about whether they are making a positive difference to society. Gib Bulloch’s dilemma provides a platform to discuss how people evaluate the societal impact of work, how each person defines career success and finds their own unique path to happiness in professional life. It can be used to debate whether and when maximizing societal impact requires giving up a corporate career and joining an impact-focused organization instead (e.g., a non-profit or social enterprise). This idea can be developed to explore the potential to bring about significant positive change from within a traditional company (e.g., an “intrapreneur” who triggers corporate social initiatives).

Keywords:
Social Impact, Careers, Impact-Driven Business, Corporate Social Responsibility, Creating Shared Value, Social Innovation, Sustainable Development, Sustainability, Corporate Intrapreneurship, Corporate Social Enterprise, Effective Altruism, Management Consulting, Development Consulting, Corporate Philanthropy

published: 30 Oct 2017

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Education
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
This case describes a policy maker who is reviewing evidence on the financial and social impact of giving low-income families access to high-quality preschools. In doing so, the case presents details of the oft-cited Perry Preschool study, which used a randomized experiment design for impact evaluation and cost-benefit analysis of one such programme.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case sheds light on impact evaluation, focusing on how to use a rigorous randomized experiment approach (also called randomized control trials or RCTs). It also serves as a basis for discussing cost-benefit analysis and social returns on investment for interventions like high-quality preschools. It is suitable for courses on public policy, sustainable development, nonprofit management, social entrepreneurship, impact investing and research design.

Keywords:
Impact Evaluation, Social Impact, Public Policy, Social Returns on Investment, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Preschool Education, Outcome Measurement, Social Inclusion, Randomized Control Trials (rcts), Experiment Design, Sustainable Development, Nonprofit Management, Theory of Change, Impact Investing

published: 28 Aug 2017

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Financial Services, Venture Capital, Private Equity
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
This case describes how an intrapreneur helped Credit Suisse launch a commercially viable impact investing business in Asia. It specifically details the investment strategy and process for a new impact fund aligning social impact objectives with commercial goals of the bank. It also presents two new investment opportunities needing evaluation.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case is perfect for teaching about impact investing, sustainable investing or responsible finance. It can also be used more generally for topics related to social impact or base of the pyramid in emerging markets – for example, as part of a course on economic development, entrepreneurship, strategy, social entrepreneurship, private equity or venture capital.

Keywords:
Impact Investing, Social Impact, Sustainable Investing, Private Equity, Venture Capital, Sustainability, Base of the Pyramid, Emerging Market Strategy, Creating Shared Value, Responsible Investing, Economic Development, Social Entrepreneurship, Financial Inclusion, Intrapreneurship

Prizes won:
- Winner 2018 EFMD Case Writing Competition

published: 29 May 2017

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Pharmaceutical
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
This case examines how a drug price increase by one small company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, became the focal point of a controversy that engulfed the entire drug industry. Turing’s decision to raise the price of its anti-infection drug Daraprim, from $13.50 to $750 per dose, is emblematic of the debate about the responsibilities of pharmaceutical companies and business more generally. The case asks: Do pharmaceutical executives have a responsibility to patients when setting drug prices, or are they beholden only to their shareholders? More broadly, what are the responsibilities of companies to shareholders relative to other stakeholders? And what role should be taken by public policy makers in this domain? While set primarily in the United States, the case raises questions of corporate social responsibility and public policy for the global healthcare industry and business more generally. It provides an opportunity to explore the potentially conflicting demands of shareholders and stakeholders, the limits of industry self-regulation and the need for government-imposed price controls, notably in the context of patent monopolies.

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. To explore the nature of corporate social responsibility and its role in business decision-making, especially when the interests of different stakeholders are potentially in conflict. 2. To debate the responsibilities of pharmaceutical companies and other firms providing lifesaving products and services in relation to decisions about price and profitability. 3. How managers can strike a balance between obligations to different stakeholders, applying considerations of profitability, social responsibility, moral obligation, protecting corporate reputation and enlightened self-interest in the context of a life-threatening human need. 4. To identify the limits to corporate social responsibility in answer to the question: How much is enough? 5. To discuss how industries can police themselves, and the role of public policy interventions and industry regulation when they cannot. 6. To highlight the new challenges posed by public dissatisfaction with questionable company practices as expressed via social media, and the implications for business.

Keywords:
Corporate Social Responsibility (csr), Stakeholders, Shareholder Primacy Norm, Drug Prices, Fairness in Pricing, Price Gouging, Government Regulation, Industry Self-Regulation, Patent Monopolies, Industry Reputation, Social Media, Pharmaceutical Industry, Valeant Pharmaceuticals

published: 29 May 2017

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Public transportation/Taxi
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
This case explores the changes wrought by the “sharing economy”, examining the innovations and controversies surrounding the online ride-hailing service Uber. It provides a unique overview of the challenges posed by new business models like Uber’s, which use the internet to link individual providers of goods and services to customers. Raising significant economic, social and environmental sustainability issues, it asks: what are the responsibilities of “sharing economy” companies? More specifically, are they merely “technological platforms” facilitating transactions for private individuals or do they have the same responsibilities as real-world companies such as transportation businesses, hotels and employment agencies?

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. To explore the societal changes brought about by the “sharing economy” model and examine the role of corporate social responsibility and sustainability in developing that new economy. 2. To examine the difficulty of defining the “sharing economy” and explore how various possible definitions influence such companies’ responsibilities and how they are regulated. 3. To facilitate discussion of issues such as labour relations and regulatory oversight of companies created by emerging technologies. 4. To explore the potential for greater sustainability through the adoption of “sharing economy” business models. 5. To encourage discussion of positive and negative strategies that technology companies can use to engage with regulators when introducing new platforms and business models.

Keywords:
Sharing Economy, Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility, Digital Economy, Digital Disruption, New Business Models, Labour Rights, Consumer Safety, Business Regulation, Taxi Companies, Corporate Governance, Investors, Stakeholders and Accountability

Prizes won:
- Winner of the 2019 Case Centre Awards, Ethics and Social Responsibility Category
- 2018 Case Centre Best-selling Case in Ethics and Social Responsibility
- Second Prize in the Corporate Sustainability track of oikos Case Writing Competition 2017

published: 21 Apr 2017

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Non-profit sector (education)
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
In the eight years since doing his MBA, John Wood has had a stellar career with Microsoft, where he is considered a rising star. But John feels a sense of purpose is missing from his corporate career. When he comes face to face with poverty in remote villages in Nepal, he contemplates quitting his prestigious job and starting a non-profit venture setting up libraries to educate underprivileged children in poor countries. However, he is unsure whether such a drastic step would be a smart move. What should John do?

Pedagogical Objectives:
It is common for people with seemingly successful corporate careers to have doubts about whether they are ‘making a difference’. John Wood’s dilemma is designed to launch a discussion on how people evaluate the societal impact of their work, how they come to define ‘career success’, and how they find a unique path to happiness in their professional life. The mini-case can also be used to debate whether and when maximizing one’s societal impact requires giving up a corporate career and making significant financial sacrifice (e.g., by joining a non-profit organization or a social enterprise). This idea can be developed further to examine how one may be able to bring about significant positive change from within a traditional company, e.g. as an “intrapreneur” driving corporate social initiatives.

Keywords:
Social Impact, Careers, Non-Profit Ventures, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation, Sustainable Development, Sustainability, Corporate Intrapreneurship, Asia, Nepal, Education, Charity, Philanthropy

published: 21 Apr 2017

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Social enterprise (water)
  • Region: Africa

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Abstract:
Having had a successful career in advertising, Trevor Field wanted to give back to society by establishing a social enterprise addressing the problem of access to clean drinking water among poor communities in South Africa. His solution involved an invention called the “PlayPump”, a merry-go-round that pumped water from deep under the ground every time that children spun the carrousel. Trevor came up with a business model that combined donor funding for the upfront expense of buying and installing a PlayPump with a revenue model based on billboard advertising to pay for the upkeep. Having achieved significant success initially, Trevor and his funders are considering whether they should scale up across Africa in a big way. Should they?

Pedagogical Objectives:
This mini-case offers an excellent platform for discussing the concepts of “social entrepreneurship” and “social impact” in the classroom. A well-guided discussion of Trevor Field’s PlayPump-based solution should help the students see both the potential and the limitations of the model, and ultimately come to appreciate that just good intentions do not automatically translate into the best possible outcomes and impact. It is important for anybody seeking to make a difference to have the humility and diligence necessary for first understanding a community’s real needs, to continuously measure progress and seek feedback on how their model works out on the ground, and to maintain an openness towards changing the initial model as needed based on initial experimentation. In addition, it is critical to compare not just the benefits but also costs of any new solution with those for alternative solutions. The case also helps debate how fast one should scale up a social innovation, and how much energy should one spend on some form of impact evaluation before doing so.

Keywords:
Social Impact, Careers, Non-Profit Ventures, Philanthropy, Social Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation, Sustainable Development, Impact Evaluation, Entrepreneurship, South Africa, Water, Economic Development, Innovation, Advertising

published: 26 Aug 2016

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Abstract:
When a Greenpeace campaign to boycott PVC products seemed to spell disaster for Hydro Polymers, it embraced the challenge and embarked on a drive for sustainability using The Natural Step framework. The strategy was maintained after Hydro was acquired by INEOS, and ultimately led to significant changes throughout Europe's PVC industry. The case shows how positioning sustainability as a business opportunity rather than a threat can yield substantial commercial success while addressing environmental impacts.

Pedagogical Objectives:
1) Highlight the business value of adopting a scientific, structured, whole-systems approach to sustainability as applied by The Natural Step. 2) Illustrate an innovative, integrated and strategic response to the challenges of sustainability at organizational and industry level. 3) Understand the value of embedding sustainability in business practice and the implications for corporate strategy and marketing.

Keywords:
Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility, Pvc, The Natural Step, Greenpeace, Carbon Neutrality, Recycling, Systemic Change, Corporate Governance, Value Creation, Strategy and Implementation

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