Berkeley Haas Case Series
The Berkeley Haas Case Series is a collection of business case studies created by UC Berkeley faculty
The Berkeley Haas Case Series is proud to have published Corporate Greenwashing: Are Environmental Claims Just Empty Promises? and Cancel Culture: Corporations Flock to Carbon Offsets to Solve their Climate Problem, but do Offsets Truly Reduce Emissions? by Andrew Isaacs and Natàlia Costa i Coromina. Both case studies have been selected by the Financial Times as highly commended recipients of the publication's annual Teaching Cases Award. The award designates these cases as being among the best for students hoping to acquire a practical toolkit to fight the world’s most pressing issues.
Now in its second year, the Teaching Cases Award is part of the wider Responsible Business Education awards, which recognize the business cases published within the last three years that have made the most substantial impact in responsible business education, with a focus on emerging topics like sustainability and climate change. Given the magnitude of the climate crisis, climate emissions reduction featured prominently many cases considered for the award.
It is not enough for business school students to develop theoretical knowledge; they also want to acquire a practical toolkit to fight the world’s most pressing issues — from global warming to managing plastic waste. The submissions for the Responsible Business Education Awards reflected a rise in the quality of teaching materials on sustainability in recent years. This left some judges struggling to mark the increasingly advanced work, as schools get better at integrating sustainable business education into curricula.
Read full report on FT
Berkeley Haas Professor Andrew M. Isaacs prepared these case studies with Natàlia Costa i Coromina (UC Berkeley, Master of Development Practice 2023) to illustrate some of the difficulties companies face in accounting accurately for their carbon emissions. The cases can help students evaluate various existing methods businesses have used to address the negative environmental impact of their operations — examining controversial practices like carbon offsets, that can make companies appear more green than they are in reality.
Isaacs and Coromina's cases join Patagonia's Path to Carbon Neutrality by 2025 by Daniel M. Kammen, Paul Hendricks, Seren Pendleton-Knoll, Vincent Stanley, and Robert Strand — which was selected as a recipient of the Financial Times Teaching Case Award last year.
These winning cases are several among many new publications from Berkeley Haas in the emerging environmental, social, and governance (ESG) research space. The Berkeley Haas Case Series has published a growing collection of ESG cases. Many major brands have begun to recognize the need to build sustainability into the core of their businesses. In collaboration with the Berkeley Haas Center of Responsible Business, apparel company Patagonia has been the subject of an ongoing case competition — the basis of Kammen et. al's award-winning case study, and has attracted worldwide attention. In past years, faculty and students of the Haas School of Business have regularly selected cases with an environmental focus to win the annual Best Case Award, indicating a consistent interest in companies that have made strides in sustainability, from reducing packaging waste to prioritizing renewable energy, regenerative agriculture, and fabric recycling.
ESG remains and important focus of both the California Management Review and Berkeley Haas Case Series, as well as for many other groups within the Berkeley Haas community. For more information, please refer to the resources below.
Trust in corporate entitles comes into question since consumers, investors, employees, and other interested parties can’t be certain which environmental claims represent real impact on addressing climate change, and which claims are inconsequential. Students will learn the origin and patterns of corporate greenwashing, and how to differentiate between greenwashing and actual, consequential climate action.Learn more
Are offset claims a dangerous distraction because companies can continue business as usual rather than make fundamental changes to their operations? Students will learn the origin, purpose, and types of voluntary carbon offsets, and examine the challenges associated with using offsets to address climate change.Learn more
The Berkeley-Haas Case Series is a collection of business case studies written by Haas faculty. Our culture and vision at the Haas School of Business naturally offer distinctive qualities to the Series, filling a gap in existing case offerings by drawing upon lessons from UC Berkeley's rich history and prime location in the San Francisco Bay Area. We seek to publish cases that challenge conventional assumptions about business, science, culture, and politics.
Explore our collection
Theranos: How Did a $9 Billion Health Tech Startup End Up DOA? (2022)
By Ernesto Dal Bó and Guo Xu
ENEL X: Driving Digital Transformation in the Energy Sector (2021)
By Henry Chesbrough
Patagonia: Closing the Loop on Packaging Pollution (2020)
By Sara Beckman, Kate O'Neill, Seren Pendleton-Knoll, William Rosenzweig, and Robert Strand
Patagonia's Path to Carbon Neutrality by 2025 (2019)
By Daniel M. Kammen, Paul Hendricks, Seren Pendleton-Knoll, Vincent Stanley, and Robert Strand
Eliminating the Gender Pay Gap: Gap Inc. Leads the Way (2018)
By Kellie McElhaney and Genevieve Smith
Patagonia: Driving Sustainable Innovation by Embracing Tensions (2017)
By Dara O'Rourke and Robert Strand
Back to the Roots Ventures (BTTR) (2016)
By Jorge Calderon and Nishant Bagadia
Castlight Health: Disrupting the Health Care Industry (2015)
By Kristiana Raube
People Operations at Mozilla Corporation: Scaling a Peer-to-Peer Global Community (2014)
By Homa Bahrami
Alphabet Energy (2013)
By Beverly Alexander, Adam Boscoe, Mason Cabot, Philip Dawsey, Luc Emmanuel Barreau, and Russell Griffith