Breaking Ground: Method and the Brownfield vs. Greenfield Debate

by: Andrew Hoffman

Publication Date: April 12, 2017
Length: 18 pages
Product ID#: 1-430-508

Core Disciplines: Economics, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Operations Management/Supply Chain, Social Impact, Strategy & Management, Sustainability

Partner Collection:

Available Documents

Click on any button below to view the available document.

Don't see the document you need? Don't See the Document You Need?
Make sure you are registered and/or logged in to our site to view product documents. Once registered & approved, faculty, staff, & course aggregators will have access to full inspection copies and teaching notes for any of our materials.


Need to make copies?

If you need to make copies, you MUST purchase the corresponding number of permissions, and you must own a single copy of the product.

Electronic Downloads are available immediately after purchase. "Quantity" reflects the number of copies you intend to use. Unauthorized distribution of these files is prohibited pursuant to term of use of this website.

Teaching Note

This product has a teaching note available. Available only to Registered Educators. Please login to view it.


Method’s environmentally friendly cleaning products were rapidly gaining market share, both domestically and overseas. Due to its 2012 acquisition by Belgian cleaning brand Ecover, Method now had access to Ecover’s expertise in building eco-friendly factories, as well as the capital necessary to build Method’s first manufacturing plant. Method can either build a factory on previously undeveloped land, known as a greenfield, or they could redevelop and recover an existing industrial site, known as a brownfield. The case highlights Method’s founders’ interest in the revitalization of inner cities, as well as the brand’s commitment to environmental and social responsibility. It also explores the challenges and benefits of brownfield vs. greenfield development.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Examine the challenges associated with Triple Bottom Line decision-making processes
  • Evaluate the merits and challenges of greenfield and brownfield development, including costs, benefits, tradeoffs, environmental impacts, and societal implications
  • Identify influential factors affecting regional expansion decisions