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Nigel Roome (Vlerick Business School); Celine Louche (AUDENCIA)
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19 pages
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Published sources


On March 17, 2010, Greenpeace launched a new campaign against the conversion of tropical rainforest to industrial palm oil plantations. The campaign directly attacked Nestle because its supply-chain included palm oil from alleged unsustainable sources. The campaign began with a 60 second video clip. Although Nestle was directly targeted by the campaign, other actors such as companies in the same sector, the suppliers and marketers of palm oil, and NGOs protecting the rainforest were also affected. The video went viral within a few days and Greenpeace followed up with other actions. The case is set up as a role play in two rounds. In round 1, students are invited to consider how the Greenpeace campaign might affect each of a set of five actors (but not Nestle). The five actors present their responses to the campaign and this provides a context to round 2. In round 2, students take on the role of managers at Nestle who have to decide what the company should do next. This role play is about better understanding the impact of organisations on society in a dynamic context shaped by the unfolding positions and actions of a number of organisations. It involves comprehending organisations and their actions in a more systemic perspective than usual; seizing on the complexity and context dependent nature of sustainability. At the same time the case introduces the phenomenon of targeted social activism; and the question of change not only by an organisation but also at the field level. The case study can also be used to critically assess the value of a range of management concepts such as stakeholder theory and creating shared value as well as exploring the business contribution to sustainable development in developed and developing countries.


Sustainability; Corporate responsibility; Social activism; NGO campaign; Supply chain; Food and beverage; Palm oil; Global chain
330,000 employees as of 2012
Other setting(s):
March 2010 onwards

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