Bio-Vert: Green to What Limit?
(13 pages of text)
Bio-Vert is a leading Canadian brand of eco-cleaning products manufactured by Quebec-based Savons Prolav. Run by a brother and sister team, Savons Prolav bases its products on their vision, which includes eco-friendliness, affordability and effectiveness. Demand for Bio-Vert’s phosphate-free detergents has increased dramatically since the 2007 blue-green algae bloom outbreaks in Quebec’s waterways and subsequent legislation restricting phosphate use in cleaning products. However, now that “green” cleaning products have become more mainstream, Savons Prolav faces the issue of how to adapt and grow in an increasingly crowded marketplace. This discussion considers how Savons Prolav can remain competitive in this difficult industry segment while maintaining its environmental focus.
This case highlights the pressures that an SME with strong environmental values faces in a competitive market. It includes a portrait of the cleaning products industry, consumer patterns with regards to eco-friendly products, and a background of the provincial socio-environmental event that triggered increased demand for green cleaning products in Quebec. Savons Prolav’s history, business model and core values are discussed along with potential growth options. Details on related industry, societal and marketing perspectives are provided to guide the reader through the advantages and disadvantages inherent to each opportunity.
This case can be used in a variety of undergraduate and introductory MBA settings including strategic marketing, strategy & entrepreneurship, and business & sustainability. It provides students a context to explore the alignment of SME owners’ ecological values in developing the firm’s future strategy and product design and marketing. Depending on the instructor’s orientation, case learning objectives may include:
- Identifying the firm’s core values and managing according to the values.
- Identifying market segments and attracting/educating customers.
- Creating brand image and brand loyalty.
- Anticipating customer needs and social trends.
- Understanding an industry’s behaviours and factors.
- Navigating a saturated market place through differentiation.
- Using an environmental differentiation strategy.
Canada, Small, 2010
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