New Belgium Brewing: Social Responsibility as a Competitive Advantage

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Case 9: New Belgium Brewing (A): Social Responsibility as a Competitive Advantage

1.What environmental issues does the New Belgium Brewing Company work to address? How has NBB taken a strategic approach to addressing these issues? Why do you think the company has taken such a strong stance toward sustainability?

New Belgium Brewing Co. (NBB) is a craft beer leader that embraces sustainability and corporate responsibility. For New Belgium, social, ethical, and environmental responsibilities are as important to the company’s operations as profitability. For New Belgium, business is as much about improving the local community as it is about making beer.

From its inception, New Belgium Brewing has sought to minimize resource consumption, maximize energy efficiency, and redefine waste. In 1999, New Belgium became the US first brewery to subscribe to wind energy. By treating process waste water onsite, New Belgium is able to produce 15% of its total energy needs. In 2009, New Belgium implemented the largest private array of solar panels in Colorado; 870 panels mounted atop the bottling facility produce over 200 kW of power onsite.

New Belgium has also adopted green building practices throughout the brewing facility and has incorporated innovative engineering and design in its operations.

New Belgium believes that making choices that are environmentally sustainable or enriching for the society is just good business sense. New Belgium has taken such a strong stance toward sustainability based on its belief that doing the right thing pays.

2.Do you agree that New Belgium’s focus on social responsibility provides a key competitive advantage? Why or why not?

A growing body of evidence asserts that corporations can do well by doing good. Well-known companies have already proven that they can differentiate their brands and reputations, as well as their products and services, if they take responsibility for the well-being of the societies and...
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