Itâ€s Not Easy Being Green: Bringing Real Life to the Undergraduate Legal Environment of Business Classroom Tanya M. Marcumn and Sandra J. Perrynn
Itâ€s not easy being green. â€“Kermit the Frog.1
I. INTRODUCTIONFENGAGING STUDENTS
In the Legal Environment of Business course in a traditional undergrad-
uate business curriculum, students are expected to acquire knowledge
about many areas of the law and the application of law to business, society,
and the international marketplace. Current concepts in undergraduate
business education, such as ethics and sustainability, must also be included
in our classrooms. Some texts highlight issues with landmark cases or fea-
ture articles about businesses that have experienced high-profile legal and/
or ethical dilemmas. Using high-profile cases and newsworthy business
situations are useful in stimulating discussions. However, professors often
struggle with keeping students engaged while in the classroom. Most of
our students are of Generation Y or the Millennial Generation, young
adults who expect to be entertained in the classroom. Students often find it
difficult to relate to some of the traditional cases used in the textbooks to
illustrate the legal principles relevant to their studies and the underlying
curriculum. Real-world examples in the classroom have the best pedagog-
ical value because of their appeal to traditional college students.2
r 2010 The Authors Journal compilation r 2010 Academy of Legal Studies in Business
Journal of Legal Studies Education Volume 27, Issue 1, 81â€“104, Winter/Spring 2010
nAssistant Professor of Law, Bradley University.
nnProfessor of Law, Bradley University.
1JIM HENSON, ITâ€S NOT EASY BEING GREEN: AND OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER (2005).
2See John D. Donnell, The Businessman and the Business Law Curriculum, 6 AM. BUS. L.J. 451 (1968), which basically made this point as far back as 1968.
TerraCycle, Inc. is a business that can portray many of the legal
principles taught in a Legal Environment of Business course, and this
business is interesting to students. This business and its actual litigation
with a competitor, coupled with hypothetical legal issues faced by typical
businesses, can be used as a basis for discussion for the entire semester to
illustrate many of the principles of a typical Legal Environment of Business
course. Although this semester-long case study focused on this particular
start-up business, any business of interest to students can be used.
II. THE BUSINESS: TERRACYCLE, INC.
TerraCycle, Inc. is a relatively new start-up business focusing on sustain-
ability and being green. Being green can be defined as having a positive
environmental attribute or objective3 and is currently a popular marketing
claim.4 Students are conscious of their carbon footprints and those of the
businesses around them. Empirical research shows that it pays to be
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