Method: Entrepreneurial Innovation Health Environment and Sustainable Business Design Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

However, Method’s strategy to incorporate environment sustainability into the business couldn’t gain success until and unless it did not use PLA (Poly-lactic Acid) to manufacture its product line which was developed by the process of genetic modification, which retailers hesitate to stock. This was a major obstacle of Method in manufacturing the sustainable product line. No U.S manufacturer was willing to develop the PLA-based fabric suitable for the white non-woven dry floor duster that Methods wanted to produce. According to an estimate, approximately 83,000 tons of oil-based polyester ended up in landfills annually, which would be enough to fill 9,000 tractor-trailers. According to Lowry, even if the PLA went in the landfills, they would decompose quickly as compared to the oil-based polyester. As Lowry suggests the cradle-to-cradle strategy for PLA, which refers to manufacturing, using and then break-down of the product to use it again without compromising on quality, Method should join hands with the Chinese Manufacturing Company. This would help Method test the waters for the product at an initial level. On the contrary, as Method claims to produce sustainable products, importing cloth from China would incur social costs which Method itself needs to internalize. Social costs refers to the costs associated with harming the nature, in this case for example, if Method contracts with the Chinese Manufacturer, it would result in burning of a lot of non-renewable fossil fuels which is not a sustainable action and proves contrary to Method’s claims. Further if the retailers don’t agree on shelving the PLA products inclusive of GMO, then Method would incur a great loss. As either strategy would hurt Method’s reputation in the market and would give critics an opportunity to accuse Method for deviating from its claims; therefore, it is better to research more on how to bring sustainability into its processes. Further, producing the cloth in China would harm the host country’s environment, which is not ethical.

The reason being, ethics doesn’t imply to the home-based production only, but also to the host-based production. It is evident from the facts that China is one of the least concerned states for environmental pollution and that America too (Shawn, 2013), with 61% and 60% least concerned citizens. This does not imply, that Method take environment at China for granted, rather it should focus on moving its value chain to produce sustainable products. Therefore, Method should not push forward the idea of producing the PLA-based product in China. Doing so, will make Method’s reputation hurt in the market, and the corporate giants will also take advantage of the opportunity to crush Method’s sustainable image in the mind of consumer. Further, this is not a suitable idea  because Method can’t monitor the corn coming to the mill. As PLA- based cloth was produced from an agricultural material most often corn or its waste brought by the farmers to the central milling plant, which separated the ingredients that could be used in the manufacturing of PLA. This was another threat for Method to use this strategy as Method couldn’t claim that the corn was free of GMO.

In conclusion it is best for Method to use its social networking forums to first gain acceptance through retailers and customers in order to communicate its implications and usability of the PLA-based product. It should also communicate the harms of producing in China and get feedback on what consumers perceive the idea to be worth. After that Method can better communicate the use of PLA-based cloth and if it conducts the production there at China, then it needs to internalize the social costs associated with burning the fossil fuels; either by giving the products at low cost to the Chinese consumers or charging a high premium for its social costs. This will be more of an ethical strategy to pursue by the wider acceptance of the idea by the consumer. Method can conduct online buying intentions survey by giving a short concept of what it plans to produce, how it plans to produce it and what are its environmental impacts both in home-based and house-based production.................................

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