Sun & Earth and the “Green Economy”: A Case Study in Small-Business Innovation

Sun and Earth and the “Green Economy

Kristoffer Whitney
Studies in Materials Innovation
2009, Chemical Heritage Foundation
25 pp
Soft cover, 8.5 x 11, Product #1437952763

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Since 1980 the household-cleaning-products industry has proliferated with small, niche firms catering to consumers interested in plant-based surfactants, or oleochemicals, rather than petroleum-based cleaners. While oleochemicals are still a relatively small part of the market, a few successful firms have not only inspired other similar small bus. but have also led large producers to innovate their own lines of “green” household products. This case study focuses on one of the earliest co. to produce “natural” household-cleaning products, Sun & Earth, and places the co. in the context of the larger phenomenon of the so-called green economy. The case of Sun and Earth illuminates what it means to innovate as a small business in a niche market.

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