The case examines the sustainability practices of the US-based apparel manufacturer Nau Inc. A start-up that was envisaged in 2004, Nau was built on the 'green foundation' and started selling its products in mid-2007. The founder and the core group of the company, with their wide experience in the outdoor apparel industry, designed the company from scratch, based on the ethos of sustainability. They believed that companies should be responsible to the community in which they operated. Forming a part of the bylaws of the company was a set of commitments toward environmental and social responsibility, and managing the company ethically. Nau's business model adequately addressed the social and environmental aspects of the triple bottomline. However, the economic viability of the model is yet to be proved. The case provides insights on how Nau challenged the established conventions in the apparel industry, relating to design, marketing, and distribution. Though Nau has established itself as a sustainable company, industry experts, however, are of the view that the sustainability of the company's business model is a point to deliberate on. This case is designed to enable students to: (1) understand sustainability as a corporate strategy with reference to the incorporation and operation of Nau; (2) understand the challenges faced by start-ups and ways to overcome them; (3) evaluate the methods by which companies can use sustainability as a competitive advantage; and (4) appreciate the emerging trend among the companies to assume broader responsibility toward the environment and society. This case is aimed at MBA / PGDBA students and is intended to be part of the corporate social responsibility and sustainability management curriculum. It includes a detailed teaching note.
This case is aimed at MBA / PGDBA students and is intended to be part of the operations and supply chain management curriculum. The teaching note includes the abstract, teaching objectives and target audience, teaching approach, assignment questions, feedback of case discussion, references and suggested readings. It does not include an analysis of the case.