Toilets for all: corporate social entrepreneurship in Bangladesh and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa


Case overview: This case uniquely challenges students by introducing the history of how LIXIL transformed its corporate social responsibility (CSR) program to create shared value within the global sanitation sector by launching the SATO business unit as a social enterprise. SATO is a “self-sustaining social business that establishes a local Make, Sell, Use cycle in the community – creating jobs and allowing local manufacturers and stakeholders to continue the business independently” (LIXIL, 2019). From 2012 to 2021, NGOs helped the company design and market the SATO toilet pan and other products that form the SATO business unit. The SATO business unit must balance its social mission of improved sanitation with the need to gain a profit and become a sustainable business – the ongoing challenge of social entrepreneurship. Leaning objectives: After completing this case study, students will be able to meet the following objectives: understand the difference in corporate strategy between CSR and ventures that create shared value; understand the sometimes-competing goals of social enterprises and analyze how they can balance both economic and social objectives; understand that developing and emerging markets are different from each other; explain how corporations can decide which markets to pursue, and how they can meet the needs of the diverse BOP markets; understand how the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals can create economic opportunities for corporations; and (optional: suggested for post-graduates) identify activities and challenges of MNC market entry in developing country contexts. Analyze institutional voids in developing country contexts and explore how partnerships can help to address these voids. Complexity academic level: This case is most appropriate for the study of international business, corporate social responsibility, and social entrepreneurship students at both the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. The case may be used for undergraduate students to illustrate corporate social entrepreneurship, creating shared value, NGO partnerships, and marketing to the base of the pyramid (BOP) consumers. An optional section on BOP market entry is presented for early- and late-stage post-graduate students, illustrating the concepts of the liability of foreignness and institutional voids. Supplementary materials: Teaching notes are available for educators only. Subject code: CCS 3: Entrepreneurship.

Publication Title

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies