Sustainability Through Open Innovation: Carlsberg and the Green Fiber Bottle

by Henry W. Chesbrough, Marcel Bogers, and Robert Strand

The case follows Danish brewer Carlsberg as it develops the Green Fiber Bottle, a beer bottle made of wood pulp, in collaboration with a startup, a small-to-medium sized enterprise (SME), and a Danish University. The case has a dual focus. First, it demonstrates how a company can successfully innovate by leveraging the concept of open innovation. Second, it shows how sustainability - and relatedly, the idea of purpose - can be a powerful motivator to drive open innovation efforts. In this respect, this case serves as one of the first formal documentations of how open innovation can effectively drive innovation activities to address a stated sustainability objective. This co-mingling of sustainability and open innovation has the potential to become a domain in its own right (perhaps under a moniker such as 'Sustainable Open Innovation').

Learning Objectives

1. Showcase open innovation in action: provide an example of how the concept of open innovation is put in practice and the benefits that follow. 2. Give an example of how sustainability can effectively drive open innovation activities. 3. Provide a specific example of how a perceived challenge of open innovation can be overcome. 4. Explore how addressing a sustainability challenge can be a motivating factor for collaboration and innovation activities independent of the potential of an immediate business case. 5. Consider how the Nordic context in which Carlsberg operates - which includes the comparatively cooperative business environment and a corporate ownership structured around the Carlsberg industrial foundation - may have contributed to the outcomes of this particular case, and how these lessons may be applied in another context. 6. Illustrate one instance in which open innovation driven by sustainability is being used to address a grand societal challenge - that of plastic waste.


Pub Date: Sep 30, 2018

Discipline: Social Enterprise

Subjects: Cooperative strategies, Open innovation, Organizational values, Corporate social responsibility, Packaging, Partnerships, Social responsibility, Sustainability

Product #: B5922-PDF-ENG

Industry: Retail & Consumer Goods,Alcoholic beverages,Packaging, cartons & containers,Bottling & distribution

Geography: Denmark, Sweden

Length: 21 page(s)

Berkeley Haas Case Series
Berkeley Haas Case Series The Berkeley Haas Case Series is a collection of business case studies written by faculty members at the Haas School of Business. Cases are conceived, developed, written, and published throughout the year, on subjects ranging from entrepreneurship and strategy to finance and marketing. Each case includes a teaching note for use in the classroom.


Berkeley Haas Case Series

A new collection of business case studies from Berkeley Haas

The aim of the Berkeley Haas Case Series is to incite business innovation by clarifying disruptive trends and questioning the status quo.

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