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WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management (2008)
15 pages
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Climate protection and sustainability have evolved into one of the most controversial issues in the first world countries all over the globe. Apart from the commitment of politicians and international organisations, consumers now jump on the bandwagon of ''sustainable products''. Taking up this background, the main focus of the case lies on the choice of the optimal global sustainability strategy for companies through appropriate customer communication by using labels. Advanced labelling, such as carbon footprint, is an approach that aims to enable companies to first analyse and then optimise their footprint in accordance to their strategy. The analysis of the case provides past experience and first trials of labelling in Germany. The case demonstrates two pilot projects with the companies OTTO and OBI, which followed a guiding system with respect to sustainability for a trial period of three months. With this information the students are asked to develop a more complex idea of the sustainable strategy and labelling by themselves and to relate their insights to possible future development and trends. Therefore, the students first have to investigate the existing labels to reveal where there is room for improvement and potential for applying these labels. Based on this, they are asked to evaluate the different labels and find an appropriate approach for the industry of clear and stringent communication. Finally, the students should develop an approach towards a consistent labelling and sustainability strategy that can be applied in the industry with high commitment by the producers and retailers. The case is adequate for MBA and executive education programmes with focus on strategic footprint and operations management.


Sustainability; Product labels; Sustainable products; Retailing; Eco-labels; Guiding systems; Carbon footprint; Strategy; Quality label; Certification; Environmental label; OBI; OTTO

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