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Sensible Life Products

Company name
Sensible Life Products

Brent McKnight and Charlene Zietsma

Richard Ivey School of Business

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Sensible Life Products

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Last year covered in case 


An entrepreneur and chief executive officer (CEO) of Sensible Life Products has developed a revolutionary botanical disinfectant called Benefect, the flagship product of his company. This new product is unique among disinfectant products in that it is non-toxic, unlike the majority of conventional disinfectants containing harmful chemicals, such as ammonia, alcohol and chlorine. As a result of the unique properties of the product, the CEO has received numerous offers to purchase or license the technology and is faced with the decision regarding which offer, if any, he should accept. The purpose of this case is to expose students to entrepreneurial exit situations as well as social entrepreneurship issues associated with disruptive technologies. A follow-up supplemental case, Sensible Life Products (B), '9B07M058', introduces a fifth opportunity to the students in the form of a joint venture with a major product development firm. The deal involves Sensible Life Products co-operating in further developing the Benefect product into a consumer focused hand sanitizer product.  

Teaching note

  • N/A 

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

    • Wilson M, Schwarzman M, Malloy T, Fanning E, Sinsheimer P. (2008) Green Chemistry: Cornerstone to a Sustainable California. Special Report to the California Environmental Protection Agency. University of California Centers for Occupational and Environmental Health 
    • Poliakoff, M., & Anastas, P. (2001). A principled stance. Nature, 413(6853), 257. 
    • Hjeresen, D.L., Kirchoff, M.M., Lankley, R.L. (2002) Green Chemistry: Environment, economics and competitiveness. Corporate Environmental Strategy, 9(3). 259-266  
    • Manley, Anastas, Cue. (2008) Frontiers in Green Chemistry: meeting the grand challenges for sustainability in R&D and manufacturing. Journal of cleaner production. 16:743-750  
    • Larson, A. (2006) Illustrating the Financial Benefits of Green Chemistry. Darden Business Publishing. Case #: UVA-ENT-0076

    Audio/Visual Material

    Discussion Questions

    • Which principles of green chemistry are used in the case?
    • How do the principles of green chemistry translate into business benefits?

      Green Chemistry Principle

      • Principle 4 Designing Safer Chemicals

      Soaps and Detergents

      Teaching Topic
      Business-Government Relations
      Corporate Citizenship
      Environmental issues

      Management Discipline
      Business, Government and Society

      Business Logic
      Differentiating products
      Managing environmental risks
      Selling pollution control technologies

      Environmental Issue

      North America

      Self Identified as Green Chemistry?

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