This case won the European Foundation of Management Development (EFMD) Case Writing Award 2018 in the 'Urban Transition Challenges' category

The Greater Manchester Waste Development Authority – Challenges in Sustainable Waste Management

The Greater Manchester Waste Development Authority – Challenges in Sustainable Waste Management
Case Code: OPER137
Case Length: 17 Pages
Period: 2000-2018
Pub Date: 2019
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.500
Organization: Greater Manchester Waste Development Authority
Industry: Waste Management
Countries: United Kingdom
Themes: -
The Greater Manchester Waste Development Authority – Challenges in Sustainable Waste Management
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


In 2017, The Greater Manchester Waste Development Authority (the Authority) took a sudden decision to break up its joint venture – VLGM – formed with the Viridor Waste Management and John Laing. The decision raised several question marks over the Authority's ambitious vision and the tall goals it had laid down and aspired to achieve through the collaboration. The mission of the Authority was "Our Aim is Zero waste" and it had pronounced several goals which included 90% diversion from landfills by 2015, 100% by 2025, and a reduction in residual household waste to 400 kg per household per year by 2025.

The Authority had documented an exhaustive framework of policies and objectives which spelt out several action points and the suggested appropriate modus operandi to achieve the goals. The policy objectives ranged from designing the waste prevention and reduction strategies to coming up with effective communication strategies for achieving the goals.

Waste prevention was preferred to waste disposal, which prompted the Authority to undertake various innovative initiatives like creating parallel markets for repair and refurbishing, creating circular economies, building waste hierarchies, creating a market for second-hand goods, raising creative campaigns for waste prevention, and introducing new shopping concepts like swap shops.

Nonetheless, the path toward waste reduction and prevention was replete with challenges including situational challenges, behavioral inhibitions, and information barriers. Rising costs and levies also played an adverse role in preventing the Authority from attaining its objectives. Amidst the challenges, the break-up of the VLGM joint venture was expected to affect the progress of the Authority. In the wake of these adversities, the Authority had the daunting task of creating a robust system that would ensure reduction of waste and complete avoidance of landfills by 2025.


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Analyze the significance of the communication strategy in driving waste management
  • Explain and evaluate the significance of waste hierarchy
  • Evaluate the philosophy of a circular economy in light of the case study



Waste Management; Climate Change; Sustainability; Circular Economy; Landfills; Waste Hierarchy; Sustainable consumption; Sustainable Production; Recycle; Reuse; Refurbish; Waste disposal; Waste Policy; Waste communication strategy

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