Gigawatt Global: Electricity in Africa Fueled by the Power of Purpose

by: Sheri L. Lambert, James Oldroyd, Narasimhan Srinivasan, Lynne Sprugel

Publication Date: October 10, 2023
Length: 14 pages
Product ID#: 4-693-108

Core Disciplines: Base of the Pyramid, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, International Business, Social Impact, Sustainability

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Third Place Winner; 2023 Energy Innovation in LMICs Global Case Writing Competition

Gigawatt Global Coöperatief U.A., a multinational renewable energy company focused on the development and management of utility-scale solar and wind fields in emerging markets, faces a striking dilemma: the firm’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities may be limiting its efforts to bring clean energy to Africa.

Gigawatt Global’s strategy is to partner with diverse stakeholders—energy financial entities, governments, development groups, and other institutions—to structure renewable energy investments in emerging markets. As a mission-driven company, it invests significant resources into CSR efforts alongside each project it completes. The challenge for the company is determining the right amount of mission-fulfilling CSR efforts it should invest in, while also growing and thriving as a business in a market replete with uncertainties. Where is the right balance, where should the CSR line be drawn, and why?

The case presents conditions and potential decisions that the company’s chief operating officer was actually facing.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Appraise how the leadership of Gigawatt Global embeds its purpose of bringing sustainable energy solutions and CSR engagements to its stakeholders.
  • Understand the economics of renewable energy projects such as solar, compared to fossil fuel operations, such as diesel.
  • Evaluate the company’s focus on the expansion of a region’s economy with renewable energy projects.
  • Determine a strategy to balance the company’s day-to-day efforts with CSR initiatives by determining what resources are consumed by these efforts. Should CSR work replace the company’s regular operations?