Evolving shared value, sustainability and the leadership challenge: Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Lyal White, Pamela Fuhrmann, Ruth Crichton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Learning outcomes: The learning outcomes of this study are to assess the shared value model and elaborate on new multi-stakeholder approaches to business, where the stakeholders include the founders, investors, partners, employees, clients and the surrounding community; to consider the synergies between community development, environmental stewardship, sustainable business practices and the long-term health of organisations and communities, considering these as the new fundamentals of business; to examine the interconnectedness of vision, strategy, purpose and leadership in creating and evolving the shared value model; to explore the relationship between shared value practices and collective well-being, and a specific reference to nurturing transformative experiences through nature, personal development and community upliftment is made; and to assess Grootbos’ ability to translate their purpose and value proposition into a strategy and sustainable vision with a possibility of Grootbos achieving global impact through its evolving model, beyond the founder. Case overview/synopsis: This case study explores the evolution of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve and Foundation, a luxury hospitality lodge and award-winning ecotourism destination, from humble beginnings in the Western Cape of South Africa to a global example of conservation, community, commerce sustainability and transformative experiences. The establishing of Grootbos and its growth and widespread recognition can be attributed to the vision and inspirational leadership of its founder, Michael Lutzeyer. Although much success has been achieved in conservation, community upliftment and individual development of community members within their region, Lutzeyer’s and ultimately, Grootbos’ vision extended well beyond South Africa and aspired to elevate their floral kingdom and model of development and conservation to a global platform of awareness. Although a shared value vision and strategy had transformed the business, placing Grootbos as a leader in transforming their industry and sparking an evolution in the shared value model itself through the interjection of transformative experiences, the larger question remained: How can Grootbos extend the impact, towards people and planetary well-being, beyond the scope of their individual place-based business and their industry? And in terms of the dilemma Lutzeyer and the management team at Grootbos faced: How will this vision and global ambition continue through succession, beyond Luzeyer’s personal drive at the helm? Complexity academic level: Experienced leaders within a graduate degree program, executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) or executive education in the areas of leadership development, strategy, shared value and international business. Supplementary material: Teaching notes are available for educators only. Subject code: CSS4: Environmental management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-39
Number of pages39
JournalEmerald Emerging Markets Case Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Environment and society
  • Environmental management strategy
  • Leadership
  • Sustainable tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management


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