Case Study

Unilever tea (B): Going beyond the low-hanging fruits

12 pages
September 2011
Reference: IMD-6-0328

The case follows Unilever along the implementation of its efforts to source all the tea in Lipton, PG Tips and Lyons teabags sold in Western Europe from Rainforest Alliance Certified (TM) farms. The case starts by looking at the roll-out of certification in large tea estates and then explores Unilever efforts to reach out to smallholders in Kenya and Argentina. It shadows Unilever next challenge; face a surge in the demand for certified tea to come on the aftermath of the decision of its major competitors to also supply their major brands from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.

Learning Objective

Understand the business case for major brands to convert to sustainable sourcing. Understand the challenges of aligning suppliers behind a major market transformation effort. Illustrate the dilemmas of adapting to a changing business context while staying on course with long-term objectives. Change the traditional perception of business responsibility in pushing forward the agenda for action on sustainable agriculture and other “mega-issues.”

Sustainable Agriculture, Tea, Brand Development, Sustainability Certification, Production Management, Operations Management
Field Research
© 2011
Available Languages
Related material
Teaching note, Video
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