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Trashy bags: sustainability crisis of a sustainable business

Mathew Tsamenyi (Department of Accounting, China Europe International Business School, Shanghai, China)
Nana Yaa Antwi-Gyamfi (China Europe International Business School, Africa Campus, Accra, Ghana)

Publication date: 23 June 2017


Subject area

Entrepreneurship, Business Strategy, Leadership, Marketing and Decision-making in business.

Study level/applicability

This case is suitable for graduate-level programmes in business management as well as executive education programmes.

Case overview

Stuart Gold, CEO of Trashy Bags is at a crossroads with respect to the future of his business. With deficits estimated at about GHS 120,000 annually, Gold is considering switching from the made-to-stock production model to a made-to-order model. Although the latter may tap into an available market and thus boost revenue, it would likely result in the displacement of the social enterprise’s loyal following and disenfranchisement of its employees’ creativity; not to mention the possibility of neglecting its mandate of repurposing plastic waste. Gold wonders if there is a case for maintaining the current made-to-stock model by driving up sales and reducing costs to eliminate the deficit.

Expected learning outcomes

Students should be able to: appreciate the exigencies of managing social enterprises in a largely profit-oriented economic domain; understand the interplay of choice and trade-offs in business management and apply theory-driven frameworks in making optimal choices and analytically assess instances of tension between the art (e.g. passion, emotional stakes, psychological and other influences on business management philosophies) and science (e.g. the need for business skills, use of effective models and the quest for production efficiency) of business management.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only. Please contact your library to gain login details or email to request teaching notes.

Subject code

CSS 3: Entrepreneurship.



Tsamenyi, M. and Yaa Antwi-Gyamfi, N. (2017), "Trashy bags: sustainability crisis of a sustainable business", , Vol. 7 No. 2.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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