Case | HBS Case Collection | November 2008 (Revised March 2009)

South Pole Carbon Asset Management-Going for Gold?

by Forest L. Reinhardt, Jost Hamschmidt and Mikell Hyman


In late 2008, Christoph Sutter, CEO of South Pole Carbon Asset Management, reflects on his firm's early success at originating carbon credits in developing nations and selling them to governments and firms that seek to offset their greenhouse gas emissions voluntarily or to fulfill regulatory obligations. South Pole's early strategy has focused on being a first mover in the niche market for premium quality carbon credits. But as the market evolves in the face of significant policy uncertainty, Sutter wonders what South Pole's strategy should be for the future. This case study can facilitate discussions about environmental markets, about opportunities for entrepreneurship raised by new environmental regulations, and about challenges in markets for tradable pollution permits.

Keywords: Developing Countries and Economies; Non-Renewable Energy; Entrepreneurship; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Environmental Sustainability; Corporate Strategy;


Reinhardt, Forest L., Jost Hamschmidt, and Mikell Hyman. "South Pole Carbon Asset Management-Going for Gold?" Harvard Business School Case 709-030, November 2008. (Revised March 2009.)