Tea and Sustainability at Unilever: Turning Over a New Leaf (A)

by: Andrew Hoffman

Publication Date: February 27, 2015
Length: 12 pages
Product ID#: 1-429-413

Core Disciplines: International Business, Marketing/Sales, Social Impact, Strategy & Management, Sustainability

Partner Collection:

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Teaching Note

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Michiel Leijnse, global brand development director of Lipton Tea, faces a very important meeting with Unilever CEO Patrick Cescau in a few short hours, during which he will recommend strategies on how Lipton can become credible with consumers, obtain sustainable certification, integrate sustainable practices into its entire supply chain, and tell customers about it. He has to consider the financial implications of the decision and demonstrate a reasonable return on investment. Would there be a first-mover advantage for Unilever or would the company be paving the way for its competitors to sustainably source tea without the investment? He would also have to recommend a certification agency and craft a plan for implementation of the change.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Understand the market for sustainable products.
  • Recognize the importance of having a partner’s credibility and evaluate the risks and rewards of partnerships for both big organizations and local non-profit organizations.