Runa: Creating Value in the Amazon

by: Lindsey Hiebert, Kara Sheppard-Jones, Taylor Valentine

Publication Date: April 3, 2015
Length: 20 pages
Product ID#: 1-429-426

Core Disciplines: Base of the Pyramid, Economics, Leadership/Organizational Behavior, Marketing/Sales, Operations Management/Supply Chain, Social Impact, 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.


Third-place winner of the 2015 Next Billion competition. The hybrid organization Runa has built the world’s first guayusa tea supply chain in Ecuador. The CEOs of the company have proposed a new hybrid structure to scale operations to Peru consisting of Runa LLC (the business in Brooklyn, New York), its foundation, and an impact investor, giving the foundation a stable source of income. The executive director of the foundation faces a dilemma: Keep the foundation an independent watchdog for the business side of operations, scale its operations in Ecuador, or expand to Peru. The foundation is imposing its best practices on an indigenous culture of subsistence farmers that has been growing the sacred crop for thousands of years, getting the farmers to dedicate, in some cases, more than 1 hectare of land to the crop and paying them on average $160 a year. Students are ultimately asked to consider if the organization is benefitting or exploiting the culture.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Weigh the risks and opportunities of scaling socially responsible supply chains and evaluate the importance of financial and social timeliness in the decision.
  • Identify the challenges of decision-making within a complex hybrid structure.
  • Assess the efficacy of an independent foundation acting as a watchdog for business operations.
  • Discuss the responsibility associated with commercializing a sacred crop and doing business with indigenous populations.