The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

To sign-up to receive the CSR Newsletters regularly during the fall and spring academic semesters, e-mail author David Chandler at

Monday, May 11, 2009

Strategic CSR - TerraCycle

The article in the url below profiles an innovative recycling entrepreneur, Tom Szaky, and the business he founded, TerraCycle (

“Tom Szaky, an eco-entrepreneur in his late 20s, who gave up his studies at Princeton University to pursue his dream of a zero-waste, worm-excrement-based business.”

Initially an entry to a business plan competition at Princeton, Szaky’s idea was to:

“… use worms to turn the university's cafeteria waste into an excrement-based fertiliser.”

Packaging for the product was:

“… re-used and relabelled 20 oz plastic drinks bottles.”

Eventually attracting the attention of Home Depot and Wal-Mart, TerraCycle took off:

“… with sales up from $70,000 in 2004, to $1.5m in 2006.”

Importantly, Szarky’s business strategy rejects the price premium that many associate with CSR:

“"eco-capitalism" will only work when it delivers goods that do not require the buyers to pay a premium.”

Take care

Bill Werther & David Chandler
Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility
© Sage Publications, 2006

The adventures of an eco-entrepreneur
By Jonathan Birchall
742 words
23 April 2009