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Shaw Industries: Sustainable Business, Entrepreneurial Innovation, and Green Chemistry

18 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008  

Andrea Larson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Karen O'Brien

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Alia Anderson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Shaw Industries, a leading U.S. global manufacturer of floor coverings, produced EcoWorx technology to create a carpet tile that is PVC-free and able to be recycled, upon return to the company, as a carpet tile of equal quality and performance. Using green chemistry, the company has created a sustainable business innovation that cut costs, improves revenues, positively influences health and the environment, improves the brand, and enhances Shaw's strategic positioning going forward. The case explores drivers of change toward sustainably designed floor coverings and EcoWorx as example of innovative change using sustainability framework.

Excerpt

UVA-ENT-0087

SHAW INDUSTRIES: SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS,

ENTREPRENEURIAL INNOVATION, AND GREEN CHEMISTRY

The carpet industry is the battlefield where the war for sustainability is being waged.

—Architect William McDonough

In 2003 Shaw's EcoWorx® carpet tiles won a U.S. Green Chemistry Institute's Presidential Green Chemistry Award. The company had earned the award by combining the application of green chemistry and engineering principles (Exhibit 1) with a cradle-to-cradle design (C2C) approach to create a closed loop carpet tile system, a first in the industry. The product met the rising demand for “sustainable” innovations, helping to create a new market space that opened up in the late 1990s and 2000s as buyers became more cognizant of human health and ecosystem hazards associated with interior furnishings.

. . .

Keywords: innovation, sustainable business, environment, environmental, entrepreneurial innovation, corporate transformation

Suggested Citation

Larson, Andrea and O'Brien, Karen and Anderson, Alia, Shaw Industries: Sustainable Business, Entrepreneurial Innovation, and Green Chemistry. Darden Case No. UVA-ENT-0087. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1278403

Andrea Larson (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/larson.htm

Karen O'Brien

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Alia Anderson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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