2022 EFMD Case Writing Competition winners interview series: Responsible Leadership

Responsible Leadership

EFMD encourages and rewards innovative and impactful cases in management development each year. This year again brought an exceptional variety of winning cases across various industries. We interviewed the winners to find out more about their motivation, inspiration and significant challenges. The following interview is with Julia Binder & Heather Cairns-Lee of IMD – International Institute for Management Development, the winners of the “Responsible Leadership” category.

‘Carbon is the new calorie: Logitech’s carbon impact label to drive transparency in sustainability’

What was the inspiration for your case?

Our case study was inspired by Logitech, a company located near IMD in Lausanne. Over the past few years, we have had the privilege of collaborating with Logitech on various projects. Logitech’s reputation as an innovative company intrigued us, prompting us to delve deeper into its increasing sustainability orientation. During our exploration, we stumbled upon Logitech’s carbon label initiative. We were captivated by the fact that Logitech willingly discloses the carbon footprint of their products. This raised questions in our minds: What drives a company to voluntarily share such information? What are the motivations and benefits behind this disclosure? To gain further insights, we scheduled a call with Prakash Arunkundrum, the Head of Global Operations and Sustainability at Logitech. Our conversation with Prakash reinforced our impression that Logitech’s carbon labelling initiative would provide a fascinating case study. His expertise and the valuable in-depth information he shared helped us recognize the significance and implications of Logitech’s sustainability efforts.

What were the major challenges in designing the case?

One of the primary challenges stemmed from the complex nature of the overall constellation of the case. The interplay of various factors, including the diversity of Logitech’s stakeholders, their voluntary carbon labelling initiative, and the motivations behind it, made the case intricate and multifaceted. Integrating these elements into a coherent and cohesive narrative was no easy task. Furthermore, the challenge arose from the fact that the puzzle presented in the case does not have a definitive or perfect solution yet. This meant that there was no clear-cut answer or prescribed course of action to address the issues raised. This ambiguity can be both exciting and challenging for case designers, as it requires careful consideration to ensure that the case remains thought-provoking and fosters critical thinking among students.

The writing of the teaching note posed an additional challenge. As the case explores a topic where no perfect solution exists yet, it was essential to provide guidance to instructors on facilitating discussions and guiding students effectively. Our teaching note needed to strike a balance between offering relevant background information, posing thought-provoking questions, and encouraging students to explore different perspectives and potential solutions. Navigating this balance while keeping the case’s complexity in mind kept us busy for several days (and nights)!

What would you like to highlight from your case?

Firstly, we aimed to emphasize the multifaceted nature of pursuing ambitious sustainability goals. Logitech’s voluntary carbon labelling initiative is not just about calculating and disclosing carbon footprints but also about understanding the broader implications and complexities involved. The case delves into the various dimensions of sustainability, such as supply chain management, product design, and consumer behaviour, highlighting the interconnectedness of these factors. Another important aspect highlighted in the case is the significance of engaging multiple stakeholders in sustainability efforts. Logitech’s journey towards responsible business practices involves collaborating with various partners, both within and outside the organization. The case explores the challenges faced in building strong partnerships, aligning interests, and fostering cooperation to achieve common sustainability objectives. It underscores the importance of stakeholder engagement and the need for collaboration to address complex sustainability challenges effectively. Responsible leadership emerges as a critical theme in the case. Logitech’s Head of Global Operations and Sustainability, Prakash Arunkundrum, exemplifies the role of a responsible leader in driving sustainability initiatives. His leadership style, ability to garner internal support, and commitment to meaningful change play a pivotal role in the success of Logitech’s sustainability efforts. Our case, therefore, highlights the importance of leadership in driving sustainable practices and inspiring organizational change.

How do you believe your findings could impact society and business in the future?

We believe that the case serves as an inspiring example of how companies can prioritize responsible business practices and make a significant impact on the planet and society. Logitech’s voluntary carbon labelling initiative demonstrates that companies can take proactive steps towards sustainability, even in the absence of regulatory mandates. It showcases how innovative thinking, responsible decision-making, and a commitment to environmental and social responsibility can lead to positive change.

Delve into a wealth of valuable insights within the remaining Case Writing Competition interviews.

The Sponsor’s Commentary

The category “Responsible Leadership” is kindly sponsored by The Knauss School of Business – University of San Diego. EFMD greatly values the sponsorship, the expertise and the effort of the sponsor to contribute to the Case Writing Competition.

Eileen Daspro from The Knauss School of Business – University of San Diego shares more information about sponsoring the category.

In the current global context, why is case writing and teaching on Responsible Leadership important?

The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that business was now viewed as the only global institution to be both competent and ethical, surpassing government by a wide margin. Society increasingly expects CEOs to assume leadership on societal issues of material interest to the firms they lead and to make tough decisions that inherently involve difficult trade-offs among diverse stakeholder groups impacted by the activities their businesses perform. Given the magnitude and urgency of sustainable development challenges we face and the pace of change in the current global business environment responsible, ethical decision-making by the world’s business leaders is a necessity.

What are the reasons The Knauss School of Business – University of San Diego encourages case writing on Responsible Leadership by sponsoring this category?

The Knauss School of Business-University of San Diego sets the standard for engaged, contemporary Catholic higher education where innovative changemakers confront humanity’s greatest challenges. As a designated Changemaker Campus, USD is part of Ashoka U, a worldwide network of universities focused on social change and innovation. We encourage our community to commit to addressing social issues that matter to them and exploring new ways to make a positive social impact.

Knauss embraces a vision of business stewardship. We believe in business as a force for good and that businesses have a responsibility to care for and protect the societies in which they operate. On our campus, rigorous academics converge with experiential learning so that graduates are equipped to tackle real-worth problems and are empowered to protect and care for society while embracing a stewardship approach to business.

What would you like to highlight from the winning case?

The authors of this case provided a clear succinct overview of Logitech’s new carbon labelling system “Carbon Clarity” and the challenges associated with engaging multiple stakeholders in the adoption of a new, industry-wide carbon footprinting standard. The case offers a fantastic opportunity to learn about carbon footprinting and the role of responsible leadership in engaging multiple stakeholders to work together to increase environmental impact. The writing is clear and concise, and the teaching notes are extremely thorough. The stakeholder map activity will promote critical thinking and active discussion among learners. It is a winning case in this category because it is carefully researched, written and analyzed and because it highlights the transformative role of a single firm in scaling impact and changes across an entire industry.

About Sponsorship

EFMD Case Writing Competition is proud to have dedicated sponsors who drive management education towards impactful teaching and learning. Sponsoring a category allows you to showcase your institution’s expertise in the specific field of management education in the wide EFMD network. 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, Corporate Social Responsibility, Responsible Business, MENA Business Cases, Responsible Leadership, and Women in Business. If you are interested in sponsoring the mentioned categories or launching a new category relevant to case writing and teaching, please check out our category sponsorship opportunities page or contact Hansol Park at .

More information about the 2022 EFMD Case Writing Competition can be found on the EFMD Case Writing Competition page. Please visit The Case Centre’s webpage to access the collection of the winning cases. See other interviews from this series.