Jamba Juice and the Foam Cup

by: Andrew Hoffman

Publication Date: February 16, 2013
Length: 20 pages
Product ID#: 1-429-298

Core Disciplines: Operations Management/Supply Chain, Strategy & Management, Sustainability

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Teaching Note

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Environmental issues increasingly influence many aspects of business including strategy, public relations, and supply chain operations. This case looks at how Jamba Juice, a publicly traded smoothie company, will respond to public outcry about its environmental footprint. Jamba Juice CEO James White must determine how to respond to an online petition started by a young California girl who collected over 100,000 signatures asking Jamba Juice to phase out its use of polystyrene foam cups, which she believes to be harmful to the environment. Jamba Juice must consider how phasing out foam cups would impact its core business, brand, and product delivery as well as if it would attract or deter new customers and how it might affect shareholder value. This case also challenges students to examine what makes one product more environmentally benign or harmful than another and how businesses should weigh this information in altering the way they do business amidst significant public scrutiny.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Describe the impact of public pressure on a company’s actions
  • Discuss what some of the costs and benefits (financial or otherwise) might be of a switch from polystyrene to cup alternatives (e.g., paper cups, reusable plastic cups, etc.)
  • Articulate whether this is an isolated case or an issue that is likely to spread to other companies that use polystyrene products
  • Compare concerns about the environment versus product performance
  • Recognize how public perception of the environmental impacts of a product affects a product’s marketability
  • Discuss a company’s obligation to do the “right thing” with regard to the environment as well as what the “right thing” is and whether it is always clear for a company