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Responsibility

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published: 29 Nov 2019

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
After years building a solid customer base by cross-selling its financial service offerings, Wells Fargo was engulfed by a scandal over unauthorized accounts opened in customers’ names. Regulators discovered that hundreds of thousands of fake accounts had been opened by bank employees scrambling to meet sales quotas. Was it the work of rogue employees, or the result of an unethical corporate culture coupled with an unrelenting drive to “sell, sell, sell”?

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. To analyse factors that explain unethical behaviour in businesses. 2. To determine whether “bad apples or bad barrels” are the origin of organizational misdeeds. 3. To consider how the causes of organizational misconduct may be mitigated by responsible business leadership, organizational design and corporate governance. 4. To examine corporate hypocrisy in a context where an organization with an excellent banking reputation is nonetheless cheating its customers. 5. To use the ‘fraud triangle’ framework to explore the risks of organizational misconduct.

Keywords:
Organization Misconduct, Business Ethics, Leadership, Fraud Triangle, Stretch Goals, Rogue Employees, Sales Quotas, Corporate Culture, Corporate Hypocrisy, Consumer Banking, Mis-Selling, Rationalisations, Risk Management, Sales Incentives

published: 12 Nov 2019

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
The case describes how the Italian multinational Enel Group, one of the largest power utilities companies in the world, embraced the transformation of the energy sector, combining open innovation with sustainability – or what the company calls “Innovability”). CEO Francesco Starace believes that technology and business model innovation are the key to reducing CO2 emissions and creating a more sustainable future by boosting renewable energy production. From 2014, he makes innovation and sustainability his strategic pillars, embracing the notion of ‘open innovation’ – harvesting ideas externally (rather than just in-house) from an ecosystem of start-ups, SMEs, universities, researchers, suppliers, other corporations, and employees.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Discuss how large multinational corporations can make ‘open innovation’ a global strategy, setting up innovation hubs in different parts of the world and putting sustainability at the core of the organization.

Keywords:
Energy, Innovation, Sustainability, Renewable Energy, Sdgs, Digital Transformation, Fourth Industrial Revolution, Business Model Innovation, Open Innovation

published: 12 Nov 2019

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
Jacqueline Novogratz quits a prestigious banking job to pursue a career in development but discovers that achieving real impact is harder than she had imagined, especially as grant-funded non-profits often lack the skills and accountability to be really effective. After getting an MBA and some experience with the Rockefeller Foundation, she starts work on setting up an impact investing fund called Acumen, with a mission to finance and support social enterprises that serve the world’s poor through market-based solutions.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This short case is suited for modules related to purposeful leadership, meaningful careers, nonprofit management, effective philanthropy, financial inclusion, impact-driven business, base-of-the-pyramid, social enterpreneurship and impact investing. It provides a basis to discuss why – in the absence of mechanisms to ensure accountability – the effectiveness of organisations in the social sector may be limited. It shows how combining an intention to make a positive impact with the discipline of a market-based approach can lead to more sustainable, scalable solutions to pressing societal needs.

Keywords:
Purposeful Careers, Social Impact, Venture Philanthropy, Base of the Pyramid (bop), Impact Investing, Business Model Innovation, Social Enterprise, Nonprofit Management, Inclusive Business, Impact Evaluation, Financial Inclusion, Social Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Development

published: 26 Jul 2019

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Africa

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Abstract:
This case puts participants in the shoes of the directors of Barry Callebaut (BC), a cocoa-sourcing and chocolate manufacturing company. Chairman Andreas Jacobs is passionate about cocoa sustainability in West Africa – ensuring the cocoa crop (endangered by poor farming and climate change) and the farmers who grow it will survive and thrive. However, in response to a falling share price, the BC board has shifted strategy to achieve cost leadership. Moreover, customers have been unwilling to pay a premium for sustainable cocoa beans. Given the scale of the problem, the company cannot ‘go it alone’. Nonetheless, when the CEO steps down in 2008, Jacobs sees an opportunity for BC to embrace sustainability and urges the board to go beyond goodwill gestures – like its earlier building of schools in Ivory Coast – and take “real action”. Should the board follow his lead? What would “real action” mean?

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. How business should be involved in sustainability and the challenges involved in taking real, impactful action (not simply paying lip-service). 2. Consider sustainability challenges in the context of business challenges – seen through the eyes of the board – and the role of the board in driving sustainability initiatives. 3. Evaluate the extent to which board members should follow the lead of a strong chairman pursuing a personal passion. 4. Identify solutions to the sustainability challenges faced by Barry Callebaut.

Keywords:
Sustainability, Corporate Governance, Boards, Cocoa, Chocolate, Supply Chains, Côte D’ivoire, Africa, Child Labour, Poverty

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published: 26 Jul 2019

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Africa

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Abstract:
This case puts participants in the shoes of the directors of Barry Callebaut (BC), a cocoa-sourcing and chocolate manufacturing company. Chairman Andreas Jacobs is passionate about cocoa sustainability in West Africa – ensuring the cocoa crop (endangered by poor farming and climate change) and the farmers who grow it will survive and thrive. However, in response to a falling share price, the BC board has shifted strategy to achieve cost leadership. Moreover, customers have been unwilling to pay a premium for sustainable cocoa beans. Given the scale of the problem, the company cannot ‘go it alone’. Nonetheless, when the CEO steps down in 2008, Jacobs sees an opportunity for BC to embrace sustainability and urges the board to go beyond goodwill gestures – like its earlier building of schools in Ivory Coast – and take “real action”. Should the board follow his lead? What would “real action” mean?

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. How business should be involved in sustainability and the challenges involved in taking real, impactful action (not simply paying lip-service). 2. Consider sustainability challenges in the context of business challenges – seen through the eyes of the board – and the role of the board in driving sustainability initiatives. 3. Evaluate the extent to which board members should follow the lead of a strong chairman pursuing a personal passion. 4. Identify solutions to the sustainability challenges faced by Barry Callebaut.

Keywords:
Sustainability, Corporate Governance, Boards, Cocoa, Chocolate, Supply Chains, Côte D’ivoire, Africa, Child Labour, Poverty

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published: 31 May 2019

  • Topic: Responsibility

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Abstract:
The global population is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, of which 70% will be living in cities. Over the past 40 years, however, 30% of the world's arable land has become unproductive. Given the scarcity of land and rising demand for food, there is an urgent need for solutions that require less land and labour yet produce higher yields. Vertical farming uses three-dimensional space to achieve more than a hundred-fold increase in crop production over traditional agriculture. However, such farms involve extremely high capital and operating costs. The case study reviews the the technologies on which vertical farms depend and the conditions under which they can become economically viable.

Pedagogical Objectives:
. To discuss the challenge of feeding the fast-growing world population. . To review the technologies involved in the vertical farming ecosystem. . To assess conditions under which such technologies become viable.

Keywords:
Farming, Sustainability, Vertical Farms, Urban Farms, Agriculture

published: 25 Apr 2019

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
In 2013, India passed a law to make corporate social responsibility mandatory for large companies. The case examines the context in which the CSR legislation was introduced and how Tata Motors Ltd (TML) responded to it. Case (A) explores the meaning of corporate social responsibility and the question of whether a company should put community projects before profits. Case (B) examines Tata Motors’ CSR programmes in depth and provides an opportunity to consider their impact. Students are challenged to come up with their own ideas for how the philosophy of “more from less for more” can be used to address issues related to poverty and lack of education in India.

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. Explore the meaning and practice of corporate social responsibility and the normative (moral) and instrumental (business case) motivations for companies to engage in it as a voluntary activity. 2. Understand why the Indian government mandated CSR (by the Companies Act 2013) and its implications for companies and their stakeholders, in response to pressing social needs. 3. Consider the impact of CSR programmes, how it can be increased, and ways it can be measured using a Social Return on Investment methodology. 4. Explore the benefits of board involvement in CSR policy-making and reporting. 5. Encourage students to come up with their own ideas about how to do “more from less for more” in India and elsewhere.

Keywords:
Corporate Social Responsibility, India, Government Regulation, Csr Mandate, Social Return on Investment, Corporate Governance, Poverty, Skills Training, Motor Industry, Board of Directors, Kpmg

Prizes won:
- Winner 2018 EFMD Case Writing Competition

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published: 25 Apr 2019

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
In 2013, India passed a law to make corporate social responsibility mandatory for large companies. The case examines the context in which the CSR legislation was introduced and how Tata Motors Ltd (TML) responded to it. Case (A) explores the meaning of corporate social responsibility and the question of whether a company should put community projects before profits. Case (B) examines Tata Motors’ CSR programmes in depth and provides an opportunity to consider their impact. Students are challenged to come up with their own ideas for how the philosophy of “more from less for more” can be used to address issues related to poverty and lack of education in India.

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. Explore the meaning and practice of corporate social responsibility and the normative (moral) and instrumental (business case) motivations for companies to engage in it as a voluntary activity. 2. Understand why the Indian government mandated CSR (by the Companies Act 2013) and its implications for companies and their stakeholders, in response to pressing social needs. 3. Consider the impact of CSR programmes, how it can be increased, and ways it can be measured using a Social Return on Investment methodology. 4. Explore the benefits of board involvement in CSR policy-making and reporting. 5. Encourage students to come up with their own ideas about how to do “more from less for more” in India and elsewhere.

Keywords:
Corporate Social Responsibility, India, Government Regulation, Csr Mandate, Social Return on Investment, Corporate Governance, Poverty, Skills Training, Motor Industry, Board of Directors, Kpmg

Prizes won:
- Winner 2018 EFMD Case Writing Competition

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published: 19 Dec 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
This case focuses on the contribution of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), an American trade organization based on an industry-wide collaboration and a multi-stakeholder approach, to the fashion industry. The Higg Index is a self-assessment tool that aims to measure and reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel supply chains. While the SAC’s initiative is succeeding as far as the global scenario is concerned (measured by the number of member companies and adoption of the Higg Index), the challenge is changing. New strategically relevant issues force SAC to re-evaluate its approach to future expansion.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case was designed for MBA and EMBA sessions on sustainability and social innovation to help students: • analyse the value of self-regulation through an example of self-regulation in the apparel and textile industry (see background on social self-regulation mechanisms in this note); • analyse the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and its self-assessment tool, the Higg Index, and evaluate conditions under which the SAC can be successful; • examine how competitors in the market come together when a common strategic issue such as sustainability emerges; • discuss how collaboration can enable companies to focus on product and process innovation; • critically analyse the pros and cons of the SAC’s operations strategy; • identify the risks of self-regulation (for companies and for SAC); • discuss the nature of “wicked problems” and their relevance for managers.

Keywords:
Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Textile Industry, Self-Regulation, Higg Index, Patagonia, Wal-Mart, Fast Fashion, Sustainable Fashion, Jason Kibbey, Rick Ridgeway, Apparel Industry, Wicked Problems, Pilot Washing, Self-Assessment

published: 24 Sep 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: financial services
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
Kiva is an online platform that sources crowdfunding for low-income borrowers. By 2018 it has facilitated $1.1 billion in loans to 2.5 million borrowers worldwide. However, as questions are raised about the adverse effects of microcredit worldwide, Kiva must adapt its strategy to demonstrate maximum impact on improving the lives of the poor, while continuing to grow the user base and ensure financial sustainability.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case is well-suited for modules related to social enterprise strategy, microfinance, financial inclusion, crowdfunding, technology for good, scaling up, venture philanthropy, impact investing and impact evaluation. It demonstrates how “good intentions” are not the same as “maximizing impact”, and how an enterprise can contribute to, as well as learn from, cumulative knowledge on how impact is best achieved in a given sector.

Keywords:
Microfinance, Financial Inclusion, Venture Philanthropy, Base of the Pyramid (bop), Impact Investing, Business Model Innovation, Social Enterprise, Crowdfunding, Sustainability, Social Impact, Impact Evaluation, Access to Finance, Entrepreneurship, Economic Development

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