Cargill: The Risky Business of Integrating Climate Change and Corporate Strategy (pdf abstract)
Purchase the full report on WDI Publishing (Case study #1-430-506) – published 04/2017, 14 pages

Developed by:

Whitney Augustine, Kimberly Kennedy, and Jon Moss. This case was written under the supervision of Andrew Hoffman.

Description:  The complex and fragmented agribusiness sector has been resistant to legislation surrounding greenhouse gas emissions and other climate change regulations. Cargill, one of the largest agribusiness companies and the largest privately held company in the U.S., has the ability to become a significant driver of the climate change conversation and set new industry standards. But, in 2013 Cargill was a traditionally silent group with a negative environmental record. Cargill CEO Gregory Page must decide whether to push Cargill into the climate change spotlight by joining the Risky Business Project, a new and innovative initiative that sought to evaluate the economic impact of climate change on the U.S. economy. Page must weigh the environmental and business implications of his decision, as well as how it may affect company stakeholders.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Understand the dynamics of the agribusiness industry and how agribusiness differs from other industries with respect to climate change
  • Understand the relationship between different agribusiness players and climate change
  • Evaluate when and why (or why not) the private sector decides to engage in public sector debates
  • Evaluate the operating consequences of Cargill’s decision to enter the climate change conversation