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Norsk Hydro ASA: Sustainable PVC at Hydro Polymers?

Company name
Norsk Hydro/Hydro Polymers

Josephine Brennan under the supervision of Professor N. Craig Smith


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Norsk Hydro ASA: Sustainable PVC at Hydro Polymers?

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Last year covered in case 


On 21st March 2006, Hydro Polymers Limited, a division of Norsk Hydro ASA, the fourth largest polyvinyl chloride (PVC) manufacturer in Europe and one of only two in the UK, brought its key UK customers together to showcase its strategy for sustainable PVC. Since 2001, Hydro Polymers had been working with The Natural Step (TNS)—an international non-profit organization promoting a scientific, whole-systems approach to sustainability—to address the industry-wide threat of end users boycotting PVC products because of environmental concerns. Sustainability had been a priority for Hydro Polymers since Greenpeace, a non-governmental organization (NGO), had launched a campaign targeting retailers to “Buy PVC-free” products and lobbying for European legislation to ban PVC, Hydro Polymers’ sole product. By 2006, the time had come to engage the PVC supply chain and gain key customer support for the long-term development of sustainable PVC. In Hydro Polymers’ opinion, it would be impossible to address sustainability in isolation; all of the supply chain needed to work together. Given the risks and cost implications, could it be commercially viable to produce sustainable PVC? 

Teaching note

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 

    Other Readings

    • N/A

    Audio/Visual Material

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    Discussion Questions

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        Green Chemistry Principle

        • Principle 3 Less Hazardous Chemical Syntheses (process)
        • Principle 6 Design for Energy Efficiency


        Teaching Topic
        Corporate citizenship
        Environmental issues
        Private/Non-Profit partnerships
        Social Marketing
        Social reporting/Social accounting
        Stakeholder relationships
        Technological change and development
        Workforce management/Employment relationship

        Management Discipline
        Business, government and society

        Business Logic
        Product differentiation
        Environmental Risk management
        Relation with external stakeholders
        Cost savings
        Redefining markets

        Environmental Issue
        The natural step framework
        Climate change


        Self Identified as Green Chemistry?

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