Sustainability (and such)

CSR Case Study Project

  Project Objectives:  Consider this case study an exercise to help you:

  1. Develop understanding of corporate social responsibility
  2. Apply critical thinking within context of communication methodology and techniques
  3. Deepen awareness of current happenings in sustainability movement in a CSR context
  4. Create grounded recommendations to demonstrate mastery of subject


Case Study Timeline


Due date:

Sign-up for client and social media       (2 points)

Week 3

Fact sheet about client (5 points)

Week 4

Initial social activism analysis            (5 points)

Week 5

Draft case study (8 points)

Week 9

Team conference call with instructor  (5 points)

Week 6

Executive summary and final case study posted (15 points)

May 2

Key Factors and Requirements

  • 1,000 – 1,500 words; appendix can include additional pages beyond the word limit
  • Use size 12 Times New Roman font, double-space, and use APA style (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association) for all citations and references, outlined at:
  • Grades will be based on the quality of content, including: clarity of the thesis statement; frequent/accurate use of material from course texts and readings, including quotations; coverage of key communication and sustainability issues, and points of debate; learning insights and recommendations

Sustainability and CSR Focus Area:  Choosing Your Object of Study

The “Subject” (choose companies from this list that have clearly succeeded and/or failed at their CSR endeavors)

  • Choose a company that has been integrating sustainability into its corporate brand, product, service, green, social and/or cause marketing campaign; in addition, make sure they have a strong online presence and you can follow them via Twitter and RSS feeds or other social media
  • Compare it to relevant competition, including national and global parallels and ramifications
  • Analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the product, service, and/or campaign

 Structure:  Each element below must be included; however, expand as appropriate for your study’s needs.

  • Introduce the topic/issue
  • Define the topic/issue (e.g.: Strategies about green products or services that are produced and distributed in an environmentally and socially responsible manner)
  • Put forth the problem you will explore
  • Suggest the thesis
  • Build the story (the who, what, when, where, why, how of your report), including factors of:  Company industry, size, growth; defining the competition; defining the issue/problem
  • What actions/strategies did the company take and what were the results?
  • Analyze the CSR and communication strategies, applying findings and perspectives from our class resources plus current market realities and affairs/trends in sustainability and CSR including those on the national and global level
  • Put forth your insights and make recommendations

Some Thought Starters:

  • Is the company a leader/pioneer in sustainability and CSR?

If so, what are the key factors that lead to this position, how/why did it take this course, what are the key strategies that have led to its leadership position?

  • What is the company’s distinctive CSR value proposition, and how does it communicate this?
  • Describe the industry and key trends within it.
  • Who is the primary competition and how is the company positioned against its competition?
  • What communication opportunities do you see that the company can leverage for increased success?




  • Is the company a sustainability follower?
  • If so, what are the key factors that lead the company to get on board with sustainability?
  • How/why did it take this course, and what are the communication strategies that have led to this position?
  • Who is the primary competition and how is the company positioned against its competition?
  • What marketing and/or branding opportunities do you see that the company can leverage for increased success?
  • Can mainstream companies authentically deliver upon CSR strategies?


Tip:  How should you choose the case for your case study? 

The most successful case study comes from access to potential data, whether it comes from analyses of the corporate website, records or documents, or interviews/observations.  For this assignment, look at two or three potential cases and compare which would yield the most data.  By having a comparison, you can reference CSR strategies as well as patterns of competition and collaboration.  While the above bullet points outline your final product, I recommend that you do some preliminary work to strengthen your research design, beginning with a strong research question and potential data.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: