Clarke: Transformation for Environmental Sustainability
Clarke, a mosquito abatement company seen as having a core business that is environmentally harmful by its very nature — selling pesticides — faces unique challenges in its transformation into a sustainable enterprise. Should it shift its focus entirely towards offering “green” pesticides and risk losing some of its customers, or should it keep offering its less expensive, more toxic products? This case shows how even when innovation leads to new green products, processes, technologies, and business models, the leadership of a company must cope with the daunting task of engaging employees and customers in the idea that green can be effective and profitable.
The objective of this case is to provide students with an idea of the difficulty involved in transforming a company from an environmentally unfriendly business into an environmentally sustainable services company. The focus is on the challenges involved in acquiring the necessary buy-in from employees and customers who are skeptical about environmental sustainability as a potential driver of business strategy. Their resistance to change is evident here. The case serves as an example of how industry leaders need to take into consideration a myriad of factors in any attempt to shift paradigms regarding environmental performance. What strategy works well for one type of customer may not necessarily work for another. The analysis and development of the case are ideal for students in strategy, entrepreneurship, and innovation classes. Classes that deal with leadership and change management will also find it useful. Finally, any class that discusses sustainability or sustainable businesses will find that it provides valuable insights into the challenges of employee support and customer adoption of greener initiatives.
United States, Medium, 2008
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