Think Global AS: In Search of the Triple Bottomline |Business Ethics|Case Study|Case Studies

Think Global AS: In Search of the Triple Bottomline

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : BECG110 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through Shipping & Handling Charges extra: Rs. 400 +Shipping & Handling Charges extra


Business Ethics / Sustainability / Business Strategy
Case Length : 27 Pages
Period : 1991-2009
Pub Date : 2010
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Think Global A/S
Industry : Automotive / Electric vehicles
Countries : Norway; Europe; USA


This case study is about Think Global AS (Think), a Norwegian carmaker that focused exclusively on electric cars. Think was conceived as a social-purpose business but had struggled to attain financial sustainability. Founded in 1991, Think designs, develops, and manufactures environmentally friendly vehicles and technologies. It was one of the first automotive companies in the world to dedicate itself exclusively to the development of a wide range of environmental friendly transportation solutions. However, the transition of the company has been marked by several ups and downs. The case discusses the travails of Think and how it managed to survive despite some severe setbacks.

Business Ethics Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Business Ethics, Case Studies

The case study discusses the company's history, its business model, and the various challenges it faced over the years. Richard Canny (Canny), a Ford veteran who was appointed CEO of Think in late-2008, had restructured the company and brought it back into the reckoning. Canny planned to scale up the production of the Think City for the Scandinavian markets, and he decided to expand operations to European and the US markets.

He aimed to position Think as the car company of the 21st century by producing environmentally friendly vehicles in a commercially sustainable way using innovative technology. However, some experts were of the view that Think had a tough road ahead as establishing a social purpose business exclusively focused on EVs was replete with challenges. Moreover, the economic downturn made the task all the more challenging. The challenge before Canny was to ensure that the company gained financial stability and refine the business model to create a platform for sustainable growth.


To understand the issues and challenges faced by social purpose businesses in ensuring that they achieve the triple bottomline.
To study Think Global AS's products and business model and discuss and debate whether they are sustainable.
To understand the concept of sustainable urban mobility and how various carmakers are trying to address this pressing issue.
To understand the issues and challenges faced by social entrepreneurs in sustaining innovation and also in sustaining the enterprise financially.
To understand the importance of financial sustainability for a social purpose business as it focuses on providing social impact.
To explore strategies that Think Global AS could adopt in the future.


  Page No.
The Car Company of the 21st Century? 1
Early History 3
Under Ford 4
Think Global AS 5
Think's Design and Features 6
Business Model 8
Think in 2008 10
Troubles Begin 12
Tragedy Averted, For Now 13
Some Positive Developments 15
Big Plans for the US 16
The Road Ahead 16
Exhibits 18


Triple bottomline, Environmental sustainability, Financial sustainability, Sustainable design, Environmentally-friendly technology, Social purpose business, Electric vehicles, EV Friendliness Index, Strategic Planning, Business model innovation, Competitive strategy, Competitive advantage, Strategic CSR

The Car Company of the 21st Century? - Next Page>>


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