Unilever Sustainable Tea: Leapfrogging To Mainstream Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

IMD-2-0157 © 2010
Seifert, Ralf W.; Ionescu-Somers, Aileen; Braga, Tania

Unilever’s journey is documented by the case toward entirely using accredited sustainable tea in its leading tea brands. It illustrates the conclusion of Lipton’s executives to source all tea from Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM farms and follows their attempts by positioning it at the center of an ambitious market transformation effort to raise it to a higher degree within Unilever. It gives a framework for conversations around the company case for sustainable sourcing of mainstream brands. It also raises questions associated with the possible economic impacts for Unilever of transforming the whole industry to accredited tea, and its particular adversaries. The case sets the scene for conversations around the challenges of sustainability conversion of high value brands and market roll out of supply chain. On the supply chain side, it reveals of obtaining rapid wins by going for the “low hanging fruits” in sustainability conversion, supported by existing abilities in Lipton’s own tea plantations in Kenya, Unilever’s strategy. It also follows the business’s attempts to expand certification and training to fragmented elements of its supply chain. On the market side, it demonstrates the case for an accelerated roll out.

The case finishes by pointing to the important challenges Unilever faces other leading players in the world market start to certify their own brands and as the demand for accredited tea grows exponentially. It also describes Unilever’s dilemma when it contemplates taking an even bigger measure: extending sustainable sourcing to the domestic market of India, the world’s consumer and biggest producer of black tea. Learning objectives: 1) To gain an awareness of the company case for major brands to convert to sustainable sourcing. 3) To get the framework of market transformation for sustainability and its particular business case. 4) To recognize the change in the traditional understanding of company responsibility by encouraging activity on sustainable agriculture and other “mega-problems.”

Unilever Sustainable Tea Leapfrogging To Mainstream Case Study Solution

Subjects: Sustainable agriculture; Tea; Supply-chain; Brand development; Rainforest alliance certification
Settings: Global ; Food and Beverage ; €39 billion revenues; 163,000 employees ; 2006 - 2010

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