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The North Australian Pastoral Company - Corporate Strategy in a Changing Climate

This case focuses on The North Australian Pastoral Company Pty. Limited (NAPCO), a producer of beef cattle and one of the oldest and largest players in the Australian beef industry. Since its foundation in 1877, the major accomplishment of NAPCO has been its survival, despite harsh environment conditions with frequent droughts, drastic changes in market demand, disease incidences among the cattle, and an attempted corporate takeover. Recently, the company faced new and unprecedented environmental disruptions caused by more severe and longer periods of drought. Are the drought conditions part of a broader set of issues around global climate change, and what actions the company should undertake? The case outlines the background of the Australian beef industry as well as NACPO’s position and journey within it, and raises questions about the future strategies of the company in a changing climate.

Materials

  • NAPCO Case Study
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Intended Audience and Usage

This case study can be used across strategic management, corporate sustainability and climate change courses.

This case study tells of a pastoral company that is in the midst of the longest drought in its history. This drought can be seen as a symptom of more-severe-than-expected extreme events under a future climate. A central message students will take from this case is that adapting to changes in climate is not beyond reach, but requires strategic leadership and careful strategic consideration. As the world is set to experience increasingly severe and disruptive climate trends, the strategies of companies will need to change. The case is set to introduce students to the concept of environmental jolts and how the initially effects of jolts can be managed through leveraging an organizations slack and learning.

In conclusion, students are brought face-to-face with an array of threats and opportunities that are connected with the change in climate. The roles of stakeholder engagement and technology in supporting adaptation are acknowledged, though the fundamental notion students are left to digest is that industries share a co-dependence with the natural environment, and as the climate changes the strategies that manage this co-dependence will need to change.

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