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Strategic planning, Business enterprises -- Planning, Corporations -- Growth, Biodiesel fuels industry -- Case studies


SeQuential, a vertically-integrated biodiesel company based in Portland, Oregon, pursued a more sustainable supply and production strategy than many competitors by securing inputs from used cooking oil (UCO) rather than new crops. A fragmented U.S. biodiesel industry produced more than 1.25 billion gallons of the fuel in 2016 from a mix of virgin materials and UCO, but the environmental impact of crop-based biodiesel was increasingly controversial. Meanwhile, UCO collection had grown rapidly in recent years, and with strong forecasted growth, offered a potential additional revenue stream for vertically-integrated biodiesel firms.

The price of the UCO used to produce SeQuential’s biodiesel and the fuel itself were driven by commodity indices, creating a highly volatile market. In addition, industry profitability was heavily reliant on government support. This support was manifested through funding for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) and tax credits. The recent election of a U.S. President publicly opposed to climate change mitigation, and the re-election of a sympathetic U.S. Congress, worsened perennial uncertainty around the renewal of these policies.

Tyson Keever, President and CEO of SeQuential, had guided the company through a period of major growth and vertical integration by overseeing a series of regional mergers and acquisitions. As a result, the company now faced growing pains linked to employee turnover, operational integration and efficiency, and instilling a culture of sustainability in all SeQuential employees. At the same time, SeQuential was developing a new strategy for future growth, while attempting to mitigate increased regulatory and market uncertainty. In this case, students are tasked with developing a series of strategic, mission-aligned growth proposals that address these challenges.


This case is accompanied by a teaching note, available upon request (hidden supplemental file).

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