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Mid-Missouri Energy: Ethanol from Corn

Company name
Mid-Missouri Energy (MME)

Forest Reinhardt, Noel Michelle Holbrook, James Weber, Karla Sartor

Harvard Business School

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Mid-Missouri Energy: Ethanol from Corn

Year published 

Last year covered in case 


Mid-Missouri Energy (MME) is a farmer-owned cooperative created to take advantage of the growing interest in ethanol as an automotive fuel. MME’s 40-million-gallon-per-year plant began production in February 2005 and, since that time, has exceeded all performance projections in terms of output, high price received for ethanol, and low price paid for feedstock (corn). Aided by record gasoline prices and usage mandates in the 2005 energy Bill, U.S. ethanol demand is projected to increase. MME must decide whether to double plant capacity.

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

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Discussion Questions

  • Which principles of green chemistry are used in the case?
  • How do the principles of green chemistry translate into business benefits?
  • What are the tradeoffs between the principles? Is this really a "green" technology?

Green Chemistry Principle

  • Principle 7 Renewable Feedstocks

Fuels and Biofuels

Teaching Topic
Business-government relations
Community Development/Economic Development
Economic Systems
Environmental issues
Social need as business opportunity

Management Discipline
Business, Government and Society

Business Logic
Better access to certain markets

Environmental Issue
Climate change
Food vs Fuel 

Self Identified as Green Chemistry?

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