Monsanto Company (A): Quest For Sustainability

by: Stuart L. Hart

Publication Date: September 9, 2008
Length: 36 pages
Product ID#: 1-428-688

Core Disciplines: International Business, Leadership/Organizational Behavior, Sustainability

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Teaching Note

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This case explores Monsanto’s sustainability-based strategy and subsequent transition from a chemical company to a giant in the life sciences, particularly in the area of biotechnology. There are five sections to this case 1) a survey of the sustainability challenges facing the agricultural sector, 2) an overview of the agbiotech industry, 3) a brief history of the Monsanto company, 4) a summary of Monsanto’s sustainability initiatives and a description of its transition to life sciences, and 5) an overview of stakeholders’ responses to the development of genetically modified crops.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Explore the concept of sustainability and the specific challenges confronting the agricultural sector;
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of Monsanto's sustainability-driven corporate strategy, in terms of both developing and industrialized economies;
  • Demonstrate the escalating importance of broad-based stakeholder engagement and the growing power of civil society;
  • Discuss the process by which a strategic vision is conceived, communicated, and institutionalized.