Breaking Ground: Method and the Brownfield vs. Greenfield Debate (pdf abstract)
Purchase the full report on WDI Publishing (Case study #1-430-482) – published 04/2017, 18 pages

Developed by:

Natalie Payer, Dayna Sason, Mark Green, and Edouard Bapst. This case was written under the supervision of Andrew Hoffman.
Description: Method’s environmentally friendly cleaning products were rapidly gaining market share, both domestically and overseas. Due to its 2012 acquisition by Belgian cleaning brand Ecover, Method now had access to Ecover’s expertise in building eco-friendly factories, as well as the capital necessary to build Method’s first manufacturing plant. Method can either build a factory on previously undeveloped land, known as a greenfield, or they could redevelop and recover an existing industrial site, known as a brownfield. The case highlights Method’s founders’ interest in the revitalization of inner cities, as well as the brand’s commitment to environmental and social responsibility. It also explores the challenges and benefits of brownfield vs. greenfield development.

Teaching Objectives:
After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Examine the challenges associated with Triple Bottom Line decision-making processes
  • Evaluate the merits and challenges of greenfield and brownfield development, including costs, benefits, tradeoffs, environmental impacts, and societal implications
  • Identify influential factors affecting regional expansion decisions