Businesses and countries alike are finding new ways to protect the environment by reducing emissions of harmful pollutants. One of these ways is a market-based approach called carbon trading which provides economic incentives for business firms that limit their output of carbon emissions. These carbon trading markets are beginning to form all around the world and the country of Kenya plans to launch Africa’s first carbon exchange.
globalEDGE Blog Archive November 2010
I have been following the currency markets quite heavily in the past few weeks trying to gage the effects of the much discussed QE2 that the U.S. Federal Reserve implemented. Personally, I was expecting that to lead to more inflation in the U.S. dollar and depreciate its value relative to other currencies, including the Euro. Imagine my surprise when I found that I was correct in inflation being expected by the market (due to high treasury yields) but that the Euro was actually the one depreciating versus the dollar! How could this be?
In the past few years, there has been a lot of speculation on companies’ labor and environmental standards. Consumers are finding it more and more important to buy from companies that are responsible with their resources and that are careful not to exploit developing countries and low wage workers. Corporate responsibility is a term that is often used to describe these obligations that corporations have to workers and their families, to consumers, to investors, and to the natural environment. Since this has become more of a priority worldwide, it has exposed several companies that have taken advantage of workers and the environment in the past. Luckily, many companies are making a big effort to improve their standards.
Social media has swept the nation with nearly everyone and their grandmother posting daily updates on the likes of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. However a recent study by global PR firm Weber Shandwick finds that 64% of CEOs at the world’s 50 largest companies do not engage in social media.
The success of the National Export Initiative (NEI), which calls for the doubling of U.S. exports and adding millions of new jobs in 5 years, depends in part on the 265,000 plus U.S. exporters finding buyers in additional country markets. If an exporter is selling to Canada now, Mexico or Chile might be good places to expand. But how will the U.S. company know which market to choose?
A few decades ago Botswana relied solely on its agriculture and was one of the poorest nations in the world. However, ever since the discovery of diamonds in the late 20th century, Botswana has become a success story. Jwaneng, the richest diamond mine in the world when measured by value of recovered diamonds, has been the main source of the prosperity of the African country. Not only has the per capita income increased to close to $6000 a year, but the infrastructure has been improved as well. The country's citizens have seen new roads, hospitals, and schools as well as an improved system to deal with the H.I.V and AIDS problem the country has had.
The Wall Street Journal brought together CEOs of 100 major corporations to discuss their thoughts on recent economic challenges. During the meeting in Washington D.C., CEOs argued that the only way to increase jobs in the United States is to embrace increased global trading relationships. This plan would necessitate government and business leaders to work together and promote free-trade agreements that would open doors to international markets.
With China’s push for rapid economic development, it’s no surprise that China consumes more energy than any other country in the world. As China dominates the global energy market, it also is the single biggest force in causing oil prices and carbon emissions to increase. However at the same time, the International Energy Agency claims China to be the most influential country in the development of renewable energy. China is looking to lower the costs of oil and reduce carbon emissions linked to negative climate change by improving the progress of green energy. This developmental process of increasing the supply of energy in China will affect almost every country in the world.
It is no secret that going global has become more and more essential for successful businesses in this competitive world. Still, some smaller companies find it difficult to break into foreign markets and are struggling to know where to start. Luckily, the U.S. Commercial Service and the National Export Initiative provide several helpful tools for businesses looking to export. One of the most useful resources for businesses looking to expand internationally is international trade shows. These can provide businesses with trade leads, business connections and exposure to the latest trends and technologies.
A new study by NEWSWEEK ranked the top 100 largest publicly traded companies in the world based on their green performance. Each company was given a rating for three different components: environmental impact, green policies, and a reputation survey. International Business Machines (IBM) came out as top dog, Hewlett-Packard was ranked second, and Johnson & Johnson took home the bronze medal.
There are 33 CIBERs within the United States. These Centers for International Business Education and Research (CIBERs) were created by Congress under the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, the purpose being to increase and promote the nation's capacity for international understanding and competitiveness.
Did you know that only 14% of children who live in Latin America receive a private education? As with many parts of the world, education and economic status go hand-in-hand in this region. Recently, large companies have viewed Latin America as a unique test bed to join business with social issues for the benefit of children’s education. Microsoft has come alongside organizations whose goal is to provide one laptop per child throughout Latin America. This is just the tip of the iceberg in growing education, technology and human capital concurrently in a part of the world that is considered an emerging market.
Nine trillion dollars are spent annually on worldwide logistics costs. When most people look at this figure their heads spins thinking about the number of zeros in that number and the scope of activities that it represents. Corporate leaders have also started to look at this number as a huge opportunity to streamline processes and reduce expenses. Everything from agriculture to manufacturing is being analyzed in a whole new light and directors have been pleasantly surprised by the possibilities.
Free trade agreements (FTAs) have long been in controversy. By some they are hailed as the end all be all of economic growth, while others view them as a tool for the strong to exploit the weak, or a hindrance of worker’s prosperity. While there are degrees of truth to both arguments, the fact remains, trade increases, economic activity increases, and average wealth increases. FTAs need to be utilized with caution however, as many industries in many countries are not up to the competitive standards of the established powerhouses of developed countries. In addition, first-mover advantages often need to be cultivated in insulated environments where kinks in production can be removed and experiments explored without loss of the initial advantage. All of that being said, FTAs drive competition, and competition, in the end, is the best driver of economic growth and innovation.
With the Americas Competitiveness Forum in full swing now, and globalEDGE dedicating an entire blog series towards international competitiveness, there is definitely a lot of attention on the subject here. But what exactly is “competitiveness” and how can a country change how “competitive” their economy is in the global market place? That is where this particular blog comes in play: to give a brief answer to both of these questions.
The fourth annual Americas Competitiveness Forum is happening right now in Atlanta, Georgia. Representatives from countries all over the Americas will be there to give updates about their country and region and brainstorm improvements for export collaboration across borders. This event has over 1,000 participants including government officials, educators, trade experts, and business leaders and is the foremost economic and commercial event in the Western hemisphere. Its main focus is on the competitiveness of companies within the region and trade facilitation and border clearance. There are numerous of different topics that will be discussed but the four main themes of the conference are:
- Innovation and green technologies
- Education and workforce development
- Entrepreneurship and small business development
- Trade facilitation, border clearance and supply chain logistics
Government, business, and academic leaders are coming together this week from throughout the Western Hemisphere to discuss the pursuit of competitiveness and innovation in the Americas. These distinguished representatives will discuss trends, ideas, and best methods that have been utilized to stimulate economic activity in the region. The Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) is being held in Atlanta, Georgia and will be hosted by United States Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. This week’s blog series will dig deeper into the goals of this conference as well as analyzing the state of competitiveness in businesses around the world.
By supporting India for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, President Barack Obama positioned the United States for a long-term political and economic partnership with the emerging Asian nation. While much focus has been put on the political alignment of the United States and India against their rivals in China and Pakistan, there are also great opportunities for business partnerships to emerge. As is often the case, strengthened political ties may lead to strengthened economic ties as well.
Just recently, on November 8, 2010, gold reached its non-inflation adjusted high of $1,400 per ounce. As shown in this chart by Kitco, gold has been increasing at a very rapid pace in the past year. This has prompted many investors to say that gold could potentially be the next “bubble,” or a security that has a huge increase in price only to suddenly “pop” and decrease rapidly in price. However, there is evidence to contradict these fears, especially in the U.S. bond markets.
China has recently come under pressure from Europe for its domestic bias to companies competing for public construction contracts. While China has had to loosen the wording of laws after coming under fire before, many companies are up in arms after trying to endure some of the trials entailed in entering the Chinese economy.
Today, immigration is often regarded as an economic threat because jobs are believed to be stolen by immigrants. However, a recent study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research contradicts this popular bias. The results of the study indicate that immigration encourages business activity and produces more jobs for a country’s economy. You may be asking yourself: “How can immigrants competing with domestic labor for jobs, actually create more jobs?” There are several reasons which help answer this question.
Is it possible that corporate social responsibility, one of the most popular trends in modern business, is an irresponsible goal for any profit-driven organization to pursue? Is the pursuit of the triple-bottom-line (people, planet, profit) contrary to the value that corporations provide for society? Ann Bernstein, the leader of the Centre for Development and Enterprise in South Africa argued in her new book that it is more valuable for companies to focus solely on profit while leaving people and planet to fend for themselves, especially in developing nations.
Carpet sales have been the center of Nepal’s exports for years (up to 1/3 of total exports), but recently sales have been on a steep decline. Many carpet firms in Nepal have gone under due to the extreme decline. There was once over 3,000 in operation but now only around 600 remain. While there are still hundreds of carpet companies in Nepal, they say that they will need help from the government in order to stay on top of this global market.
China remains a robust destination for a gamut of businesses. The country offers a particular wealth of advantages for manufacturing companies. Often solely regarded as a region for inexpensive labor, China also offers an increasingly sophisticated range of manufacturers and workers. Today, China accommodates the entire span between high quality manufacturing needs and orders for manufactured commodity goods. For most global companies, perhaps the most important benefit of establishing a presence in China is the fuller access into the Chinese market that this provides. But what is the best way to navigate business operations in China?
The Irish love to own their own property and home. In the past 20 years, the value of their homes had for the most part increased dramatically, creating a solid investment in something the Irish cherish greatly. In the past year however it’s been a different story, the bubble finally burst. Most of the property values have been cut in half. Many are now owned by banks, and most toxic loans are bundled into a nationalized body called the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). The government bought out many banks to a tune of 50 billion euro. The bond market in Ireland is in major trouble. Many experts are saying there is a huge need for leadership in not only Ireland’s government, but in Europe as a whole (or the European system may possibly collapse).
The lore of leaving is engrained in the Irish culture. There were 27,700 emigrants this year, an increase of 42%, due in part to unemployment being at 13.7%. In the short run, emigration is just a safety valve. However there is still hope in Ireland. Watch the video to see how George Boyle dealt with her company going bankrupt, and how she stimulated her own micro economy of sorts.
Dubai, one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates, faces major environmental problems after years of rapid urbanization and business growth. Located in the desert south of the Persian Gulf, Dubai’s biggest challenge is providing fresh water to its residents. However, the city has many other problems including waste management and sewage treatment operations. Despite being situated on vast oil reserves, the region is also running low on energy sources to support its lifestyle. On top of these complications, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is preparing for a population boom this upcoming decade. Therefore, concepts of sustainability and environmental issues are becoming very important to businesses and citizens of Dubai.