Ivey Publishing
First Solar: The Module Recycling Opportunity
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13 pages (10 pages of text)
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Case (Field)
In 2014, the vice-president and director of recycling at the Arizona-based First Solar, Inc., the world's leading solar energy company, was considering a business plan to convert its solar panel recycling initiative from a cost centre to a profit-making business. Although the company pre-funded the recycling of photovoltaic solar panels by adding the recycling cost to the end-customers’ purchase price, Europe had recently enacted laws requiring that solar modules be recycled after their useful life had ended. First Solar’s vice-president and director of recycling recognized a business opportunity in recycling solar panels but wondered about the timing of entry into this area and the profit potential of such a move. How could they best position First Solar's recycling offering to take advantage of the North American recycling regulations that they believed were imminent but that had not yet transpired?
Learning Objective:
This case discusses sustainability in the context of strategy, which makes it best suited for an upper-level undergraduate or a graduate course in strategic management or corporate social responsibility. After completion of the case, students will be able to:
  • Understand the social responsibilities of an organization.
  • Examine the business case for environmental responsibility.
  • Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of being a first mover.
  • Debate the pros and cons of a sustainability decision.
General Management/Strategy
Administrative, Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services
United States, Large, 2014
Intended Audience:
$5.30 CAD / $5.00 USD Printed Copy
$4.50 CAD / $4.25 USD Permissions
$4.50 CAD / $4.25 USD Digital Download
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