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Case Studies

A collection of award-winning cases on social entrepreneurship and sustainability written by Portland State University faculty, staff, and students. Email Jacen Greene ( for teaching notes or questions on usage. Many of these cases are available to use for free in educational settings.

Replication School: Scaling Social Innovation
through Dissemination Training

white paper | 1.3 MB

download PDF

Grameen Intel Social Business: Technology
Solutions at the Base of the Pyramid

academic case | NextBillion 2015 2nd Place Winner

purchase online

2016 Case Studies

Altruism versus Profit: Clean Water in India

A social enterprise delivering clean drinking water in India deals with the fallout of a crisis in its parent foundation. Published in Business & Society: Ethics, Sustainability and Stakeholder Management 10e, Cengage, 2016.

2015 Case Studies

Hopworks Urban Brewery: A Case of Sustainable Beer (2015 oikos Award 1st Place)

Explores the financial and branding cost/benefit tradeoffs facing a craft brewery in their efforts to incorporate sustainability into their long-term strategy.

Grameen Intel Social Business: Technology Solutions at the Base of the Pyramid (2015 Next Billion Competition 2nd Place)

Technology-based product development, new market entry, and impact measurement within social businesses/social enterprises serving the base of the pyramid.

2014 Case Studies

Clean Water Grow: Go or No Go? (2014 oikos Award 2nd Place)

Analysis of marketing mix options, in terms of break-even quantity and return on investment, for a product to support wastewater infrastructure in the face of population growth and increased pressure on natural systems.

2013 Case Studies

Madécasse: Competing with a 4x Fair Trade Model (2013 oikos Award 1st Place)

Highlights decisions related to marketing and operations strategy, measurement of social and environmental impacts, pros and cons of eco-labels and certifications in the chocolate industry.

2012 Case Studies

Burgerville: Instilling A Sustainable Culture

Explores the ways in which a regional fast-food chain developed a staff culture of sustainability to support a strategic focus on the triple bottom line.

2011 Case Studies

Burgerville: Sustainability and Sourcing in a QSR Supply Chain (2011 oikos Award 2nd Place)

Sustainable sourcing, local purchasing, and certifications as an emergent strategy in the fast-food industry.

Tropical Salvage's Growth Strategy: From Recession to Expansion (2011 oikos Award 3rd Place)

This case study provides students with the opportunity to analyze a social enterprise operating in an intensely competitive global industry.

2010 Case Studies

ALTIS: A Microfinance Startup in Rural Nepal (2010 oikos Award Finalist)

Examines the creation of a new microfinance organization and associated capacity-building programs within an existing international NGO. Published in Case Studies in Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability, Greenleaf, 2011.

Country Natural Beef: A Maturing Co-op at the Crossroads

Analyzes the choices faced by a rancher cooperative as it seeks to incorporate sustainability efforts and meet changing consumer demands.

Portland Roasting: Farm-Friendly Direct (2010 oikos Award 1st Place)

Highlights decisions related to marketing and operations strategy, pros and cons of certification, and social sustainability versus the other aspects of sustainability in the coffee supply chain.

2009 Case Studies

Sustainability Amidst Uncertainty: Columbia Forest Products' Pursuit of Sustainability in a Changing Market (2009 oikos Award 3rd Place)

The case is designed to highlight decisions related to strategy, adverse industry reactions, public policy and health claims. In addition, it provides an example of a product developed through biomimicry.

Case Videos

Hopworks Urban Brewery: A Case of Sustainable Beer

Grameen Intel: Business Model Canvas

Burgerville: Instilling a Sustainable Culture

Portland Roasting: Farm-Friendly Direct