Britannia Industries Ltd.
(9 pages of text)
The CEO of Britannia Industries Ltd, a manufacturer of bakery products, was at a crossroads. Two years earlier, the firm had started providing specially fortified biscuits to small groups of school-going children in selected locations in India. The product offered a step toward addressing the widespread national problem of malnutrition and, unlike corporate philanthropy, this initiative was an extension of what the company was fundamentally good at – making biscuits. After early signs of success, Britannia’s CEO faced two challenges. How should Britannia scale up the manufacture and distribution of social products? And, how should the firm develop the social products into a sustainable business?
The case encourages students to address issues related to applying the principles of corporate social responsibility within a firm's broader strategy. The case pushes students to understand what contribution a single firm can make to address a global social problem – in this instance, malnutrition. Having understood the key factors behind initial success, students must decide how the social product - fortified biscuits - will fit with existing product portfolios, and whether a different approach is required to both expand the market and build a sustainable business model (financially + socially). Depending on the specific course, one or more of the following teaching objectives could be emphasized:
- Examine a firm’s approach to corporate social responsibility, focusing on the issues faced by a firm primarily serving a large developing economy.
- Evaluate the role that different stakeholders might play in either facilitating or inhibiting the expansion of a social product.
- Consider the linkages between brand management and social products, including pricing, location, and capacity expansion.
- Explore how an evolving business model might be leveraged into a broader international strategy for growth.
India, Large, 2011
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