2020 EFMD Case Writing Competition Winners Interview Series: Corporate Social Responsibility

EFMD encourages and rewards innovative and impactful cases in management development each year. This year brought an exceptional variety of winning cases across various industries. EFMD decided to interview the winners to find out more about their motivation, inspiration and significant challenges.

The following interview is with Syeda Maseeha Qumer from the ICFAI Business School (IBS), one of the authors from the “Corporate Social Responsibility” category.

The winning authors:

  • Syeda Maseeha Qumer, ICFAI
  • Debapratim Purkayastha, ICFAI

The 2021 edition of the EFMD Case Writing Competition is now open for submissions. Find out more on the webpage and submit your case.

SC Johnson and the Global Ocean Plastic Crisis

SC Johnson is a family company dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care, as well as professional products.

Could you share with us what the greatest inspiration for your case was?

Ocean plastic pollution is a wicked and intractable environmental problem due to its many complications. There seems to be no easy solution or alternative to waste generation rates. It is deeply embedded in climate change mitigation, circular economy, and waste management.

Few cases deal with the critical issue of ocean sustainability, which is high on the global policy agenda, as evidenced in the UN adoption of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 – Life Below Water. FMCG companies have a key role to play in addressing this global issue as they are major polluters due to the volume of plastic waste they create and the size of their footprint. So, we felt students would be able to relate well with SC Johnson’s ocean sustainability initiatives.

One of the primary goals of this case is to help students understand ocean sustainability, livelihoods and communities, and food security. With issues like ocean plastic pollution dominating the global conversation, students will be able to relate to the need for sustainability and the SDGs. We felt that a case based on this theme would help bring these critical issues to the classroom and also help find solutions to the problem.

What were the major challenges in designing the case?

Writing a compelling case study is no easy task. For this case, we explored various theoretical sources related to ocean sustainability, the plastics value chain, dimensions of sustainability, etc. One of the key challenges was to write concisely and integrate our ideas well, given that a plethora of information was available on the topic. The challenge was to present all sides of the ocean sustainability issue and link the issue to a particular concept or theory to enhance students’ learning outcomes.

The challenge was to present all sides of the ocean sustainability issue and link the issue to a particular concept or theory to enhance students’ learning outcomes.

In what ways, according to you, could the case impact society and business in the near future?

The global crisis of plastic pollution has captured the world’s attention. This case illustrates the potential of businesses, through the philosophy of CSR, to assist in reducing the amount and impacts of marine plastic debris. How SC Johnson is bringing global attention to the issue of ocean plastic by raising awareness of this crisis and potential solutions by reaching and engaging people around the globe is explored in the case.

This may motivate other businesses to take similar steps and encourage greener behaviours among customers by offering them eco-friendly and plastic-free choices. The case tries to highlight the need to build marine debris awareness among society and businesses.

This case emphasizes that companies must focus on social and environmental concerns as they do on profits, that governments should make plans to take action, and that consumers should change their consumption behaviours.

About Sponsorship

The category “Corporate Social Responsibility” is kindly sponsored by the ESC PAU Business School. EFMD greatly values the sponsorship, the expertise and the effort of the sponsor to contribute to the Case Writing Competition.

Florent Deisting from the ESC PAU Business School shares more information about sponsoring this category.

“CSR is part of our positioning. Since 2019, ESC PAU Business School implements a new strategic Plan when we develop our offer on new programs based on Circular Economy principles. The topic of case study permits to encourage the use of experiential learning in the classroom. It’s our part of our development. SDGs are not an objective for ESC PAU Business School. It’s part of our DNA. Sustainability, responsibility, inclusion, etc. are day-to-day actions for our students, collaborators, partners, corporate partnerships, and alumni.”

Each year, more than 14 institutions sponsor categories in the EFMD Case Writing Competition. The choice of category, its exact definition and any specific conditions are the privileges of the sponsor. Sponsorships for the following categories are currently available – Bringing Technology to Market, Continuous Improvement: The Journey to Excellence, and MENA Business Cases. If you are interested in sponsoring the mentioned categories or launching a new category relevant to case writing and teaching, please contact Hansol Park at hansol.park@efmdglobal.org.

More information about the 2020 EFMD Case Writing Competition can be found on the EFMD Global Case Writing Competition page.

Please visit the Case Centre’s webpage to access the collection of the winning cases.