Sustainable growth in times of crisis: L’Oréal Russia
This study enables to critically assess: what constitutes the consequences of a financial crisis to a multi-national enterprise operating in the emerging market of Russia; the decision-making processes behind crisis management and the corresponding search for informational grounds to be used as decision justification; and the role of sustainable development in times of crisis.
During the 2014–2015 financial crisis in Russia, L’Oréal Russia managed to increase growth by 7%–15%, strengthening its place as the market leader in the country. First, the case illustrates the way Antonio, the General Manager of L’Oréal Russia, had successfully approached this situation by learning from the shortcomings of the company’s strategy during the 2007–2008 crisis and deciding to take a proactive position concerning stakeholders. Then, upon recalling his success story, Antonio suddenly found himself at the dawn of yet another crisis caused simultaneously by the COVID-19 outbreak and oil prices drop. In the face of uncertainty regarding the applicability of prior crisis management strategy for the new economic and social reality of Russia, Antonio was worried about whether the company would be able to achieve the 2020 sustainable development goals of L’Oréal by the end of the year. The case dilemma involves choices Antonio faced during mid-March 2020 about strategy formulation based on an adjustment to the expected consumer behavior patterns and possible need to rethink sustainable development goals priority.
Complexity academic level
This case is appropriate for an undergraduate or graduate-level program curriculum for courses dedicated to or including topics related to crisis management, doing business in emerging markets, corporate social responsibility and consumer behavior. Before engaging with the case, the students should be aware of basic management- and economics-related concepts and terms, such as strategy, sustainable development, CSR and economic crisis.