Taj Hotels: Building Sustainable Livelihoods
This case explores issues faced by the corporate sustainability manager at the corporate headquarters of a large hotel group in a developing nation as she implements her company’s corporate sustainability strategy through supplier partnerships with bottom-of-the-pyramid (BoP) social organizations. Under the rubric of responsible purchasing, the hotelier’s “Creating Sustainable Livelihoods” initiative engaged cause-based nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) by exploring opportunities where the products or services of such organizations could substitute for similar products or services sourced from for-profit suppliers. The case illustrates the challenges inherent in a BoP responsible purchasing strategy, including the delicate balance between meeting business objectives while supporting social causes.
The case helps business students understand cross-sector partnerships in the context of responsible sourcing at the BoP. An alternative use of the case could be in non-profit management courses, where students can take the role of non-profit directors seeking to develop supplier relationships with a large corporation. This approach is not covered in this note, although some material in the note could be adapted to this approach.
After discussing this case, students should be able to:
- Describe how business CSR and NGO efforts can align for improving conditions for BoP populations, specifically through corporate responsible purchasing initiatives.
- Analyze and assess the problem of engaging in transactional social partnerships as differentiated from solely philanthropic CSR initiatives at the BoP. Students can draw on recent perspectives of authors contributing to this domain.
- Evaluate the collaboration problem and opportunity from the perspective of a CSR manager seeking not only to create both social and business value in the short term, but also to create a situation in the long term where producer partnerships for responsible sourcing can be effectively managed to establish a self-sustaining ecosystem without dependence on the corporate partner.
Accommodation & Food Services
India, Large, 2012
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