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Prize winner
Published by:
Institute for Management Development (IMD) (2011)
Revision date:
12 pages
Data source:
Field research


This is part of a case series. 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 objectives: 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.'


Supply chains; Sustainable agriculture; Tea; Brand development; Sustainability certification
EUR39 billion revenues, 163,000 employees
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2011 - EFMD Case Writing Competition - category winner

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