Seventh Generation and Unilever: Would an Acquisition Affect Sustainability? (pdf abstract)
Purchase the full report on WDI Publishing (Case study #1-430-507) – published 04/2017, 18 pages

Developed by:

Kirstie Hostetter, Cory Wydysh, Anna Hayden and Mike Porcelli. This case was written under the supervision of Andrew Hoffman.

Seventh Generation, a sustainable cleaning and personal care products company, has received a purchase offer from Unilever. Seventh Generation’s CEO is deciding whether to accept the offer and, if so, under what terms. The deal would open many new avenues for growth and expansion for Seventh Generation, but would they be able to continue to pursue their mission “to inspire a consumer revolution that nurtures the health of the next seven generations” under the ownership of Unilever? Could Seventh Generation impact the values of Unilever to make both organizations more sustainable?

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

  • Understand how the triple bottom line framework can be applied to a company’s mission and whether the two align.
  • Articulate the thought process that goes into the decision to either accept or refuse an acquisition offer.
  • Discuss the ability of large conglomerates to be sustainable and whether this requires brand autonomy and a hands-off approach.