NatureWorks LLC: Green Chemistry's Contribution to Biotechnology, Innovation, Commercialization, and Strategic Positioning
NatureWorks LLC, Cargill Inc.
Andrea Larson, Alia Anderson, Karen O'Brien
Darden School of Business
Last year covered in case
In 2002, NatureWorks LLC, a small subsidiary of U.S. agricultural giant Cargill Inc., was recognized for its development of the first synthetic polymer class to be produced from renewable resources, specifically from corn grown in the American midwest. The product held the potential to substitute a renewable feedstock for petroleum-based polymers. With this enormous vote of confidence, the company was poised to move forward from a niche market in which it was selling tens of thousands of tons polylactic acid to a mainstream one with possibly hundreds of thousands of tons in sales. But how could it position itself to do so profitably?
Key Management Reading
- Ambec, S. & Lanoie, P. (2008). Does it pay to be green? A systematic overview. Academy of Management Perspectives. 45-62
- Reinhardt, F. (1999). Bringing the Environment Down to Earth. Harvard Business Review. July; 149-157
- NatureWorks LLC pre-reading for case
Chris Laszlo, Meredith Myers, Institute for Sustainable Value in Business at the Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit, 2005.
Based in Minnesota with manufacturing facilities in Blair, Nebraska, NatureWorks LLC is a stand-alone company wholly owned by Cargill. NatureWorks LLC is the first company to offer commercially available greenhouse-gas neutral polymers derived from 100 percent annually renewable resources with cost and performance that compete with petroleum-based packaging materials and fibers.
When it pays to be green: Green Chemistry and the corporate bottom line
Slide deck and audio presentation of lecture from Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry course.
Green Chemistry Principle
- Principle 6 Design for Energy Efficiency
- Principle 7 Use of Renewable Feedstocks
- Principle 10 Design for Degradation
Textiles and Fibres
Business government relations
Business, government and society
Food vs. Fuel debate
Self Identified as Green Chemistry?