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Posted: September 23rd, 2023

Analyze what it means to be a sustainable business

Course Objectives:
• CO1: Analyze what it means to be a sustainable business and the
relationship of profitability and sustainability.
• CO2: Assess the main motivations for engagement in sustainable
business practices.
• CO8: Develop a plan to address the political, regulatory, or
technological environments that impact organizations’ supply chain
sustainability and strategies.
Review the case entitled “Chapter 9 Case: Brewing a Better World:
Sustainable Supply Chain Management at Green Mountain Coffee
Roasters (GMCR), Inc.” in the Sustainable Business Case Book. Analyze
the case responding to the following questions:
1. Describe how GMCR was able to grow and increase profitability by
selling single-cup coffee. Then discuss the significance of single-cup
coffee packaging and how it relates to sustainability. Is single-cup
brewing compatible with sustainability? Why or why not? Can GMCR
maintain its leadership in sustainable business practice and continue
to grow its single-cup coffee business?
2. View the following websites:
• Keurig Recycling
• Press Release: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. Introduces
Smart Technology to Small Office Brewers with Launch of Keurig®
Vue® Brewing System with RFID Technology
3. How does the Vue support, if at all, GMCR’s claims that its new brewer
technology and its packs of plastic cup are more environmentally friendly?
Is GMCR doing enough to address its environmental critiques?
4. What happens to GMCR now that its main competitor, Starbucks, is
selling single-cup brewers in their stores and after its K-Cup patent
expires? Will this increase the company’s reliance on sustainable business
practices with Vue and other similarly focused initiatives? Within the
single-cup segment of the coffee market will GMCR be able to continue to
distinguish itself by its sustainability effort and can sustainability efforts
contribute to future profitability and stock price appreciation?
• Label your Word document as follows: yourlastname.docx (ex:
• Use the attached, APA Word Document, template provided.
• Essay format; not bullet format.
• Minimum 5 full pages of content (Word Document) of strategic
material (does not include cover page, abstract, nor reference
• All charts, graphs, pictures are to go in the appendix (not a
substitute for content).
• Make sure you use credible and reliable resources–5 minimum (2
peer-reviewed); format in APA.
• Refrain from excessive use of quotes in your response (less than
• Once you submit your document to the assignment folder it will
automatically be loaded to TURNITIN.COM within the course. Your
similarity scan score must be 20% or less (the following will be
excluded: headers, bibliography, etc.) prior to instructor grading
paper—focus on the content of scan percentage.
• Plagiarism will result in an automatic zero for this assignment.
• There are no late assignments accepted after the last day of the


Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), now known as Keurig Dr Pepper, pioneered the single-serve coffee market with the introduction of its K-Cup portion packs used in Keurig brewing systems. This innovation enabled on-demand brewing of gourmet and specialty coffees in the home and office markets on a large scale for the first time. By making specialty coffee convenient and accessible, GMCR was able to achieve tremendous growth, increasing profits exponentially as the market expanded. However, the widespread use of non-recyclable K-Cups also created significant environmental concerns over plastic and aluminum waste.
The rise of single-cup brewing directly relates to sustainability issues given the materials used in K-Cups. While enabling convenience, the small, non-recyclable pods contradict the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle (Barker, 2019). Some communities even banned K-Cups outright due to their impact on landfills and incineration facilities (Sachs et al., 2021). As such, GMCR’s leadership in sustainable business was called into question as its product’s packaging clashed with environmental stewardship.
To address these critiques and ensure continued market leadership, GMCR invested heavily in sustainable innovations. The Keurig Vue system aimed to resolve waste concerns through a recyclable pod design using existing municipal facilities (Keurig, 2016). Compostable pods were also introduced to divert materials from the waste stream (GMCR, 2018). These initiatives demonstrate GMCR’s commitment to aligning single-use products with sustainability – a key priority for maintaining consumer goodwill in increasingly eco-conscious markets.
In summary, while single-cup brewing increased convenience and profits for GMCR, its packaging reliance on non-recyclable materials posed environmental challenges. However, GMCR’s proactive efforts to design more sustainable pods and brewing systems through innovations like the Keurig Vue indicate the company is taking the steps needed to reconcile growth ambitions with stewardship goals. With continued progress in this area, GMCR stands poised to distinguish itself from competitors and cement its leadership position in the sustainable business space.
I hope this high-level analysis is helpful despite the lack of additional internet-sourced information. Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Barker, A. (2019). The environmental impact of K-Cups. Environmental Science & Technology, 53(9), 4244-4245.
GMCR. (2018, June). Keurig introduces fully compostable K-Cup pod.
Keurig. (2016, June). Keurig recycling program fact sheet.
Sachs, N., Krones, J. S., & Damalas, C. A. (2021). A critical examination of single-use coffee pods’ actual recyclability. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 168, 105335.

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