Analyze sustainability issues for a hypothetical organization.In this course, you will work independently to analyze sustainability issues for a hypothetical organization.
Assignment 3: Course Project—Sustainability at Top Shelf Shoes
In this course, you will work independently to analyze sustainability issues for a hypothetical organization. The assignments follow one another so that you can apply the methods and skills you learn in each module to develop your Course Project. Each week you will be asked to prepare a document that addresses the specified topics. In this assignment, you will begin your analysis.
Outlined below is the scenario for the organization that is the focus of your Course Project—Top Shelf Shoes.
Course Project Scenario: Top Shelf Shoes
Top Shelf was found in 1990 by Tie Woodward. Within five years, Top Shelf had established a solid presence in the global shoe business with production facilities in Asia and sales throughout the world. By 2000, Top Shelf had a share of 45 percent of the global market in shoe sales. In 2001, Top Shelf made the Fortune 500 list of privately held companies and Tie was awarded the coveted International Business Award. However, Tie claimed the real success of his firm could be seen in the stylish Top Shelf shoes being worn by everyone from villagers in Africa to rock stars in Hollywood.
In 2003, a major competitor of Top Shelf began a green marketing campaign to highlight its efforts to reduce its environmental footprint with its new “Green Shoe.” A simultaneous, growing concern for environmental issues helped spur the sales of Top Shelf’s competitor—it gained market share. As the competitor’s sales increased, news stories began to question the implications of Top Shelf’s business practices, especially as they related to low cost labor and environmental concerns. Within a fiscal quarter, Top Shelf sales were down by 10 percent. Tie responded by exclaiming on the Nightly Business Report that everyone had to wear shoes and Top Shelf made the best looking and most affordable foot fixtures on the planet. Sales fell another 5 percent the following quarter. Tie’s management team attributed this to the competition’s green efforts and the bad publicity received by Top Shelf.
Tie’s firm hired a middle manager for environmental affairs and launched a green campaign that touted a Top Shelf shoe-recycling program with the slogan “We make them, you wear them, we’ll recycle them. It’s good for your feet and good for the earth.” Sales climbed back up 7 percent over the next quarter, and the boss gave out bonuses to his management team.
While initial reaction to the marketing was positive, especially among longtime Top Shelf shoe wearers, two reporters, Burnstone and Woodwoe, broke a story about the impact of air and water pollution at Top Shelf’s shoe-recycling facility on the outskirts of a major city in Asia. Apparently, some of the shoes were recycled to produce energy. According to the report by Burnstone and Woodwoe, the shoes were being burned by low-wage workers without any precautions for the workers’ health. An increasing number of children and elderly in the region began showing up at clinics and hospitals with breathing problems, dizziness, and toxic blood poisoning. Then, a worker at the plant collapsed and died in front of the large kiln.
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