Everyone sees the recycling label, the organic food label, and sometimes something similar to the Rainforest Alliance label on their food and home products. These let us know what the product stands for and where it came from. Now a new label may be appearing on many of your household products, the WindMade label.
globalEDGE Blog Archive April 2011
When you think of a major international business hub, densely populated metropolitan areas such as London, Tokyo, and New York City come to mind. They are home to many multinational corporations’ headquarters and countless commercial offices; business never seems to cease in these cities. The relentless rise of electricity prices and a growing demand for high-quality power could drastically change the geography of these international business hubs in the next decade.
Today, many people buy produce at a local grocery store but newly designed agriculture programs are looking to change this typical consumer trend. Members of community-supported agriculture programs, known as C.S.A’s, have their fruits and vegetables delivered directly to their homes or neighborhoods. This direct grower-to-consumer relationship has had success on a local scale and now the program will test itself by entering the global marketplace.
Pecans have long been a steady source of income for farmers in the United States. Southern farmers produce two-thirds of the world’s supply and U.S. consumers have been the main source of their business. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the current price of $2.14 per pound for pecans is nearly twice as high as three years ago. What has caused this sharp spike and what does the future hold for the pecan industry?
In October 2010's newsletter, I discussed some of the statistics regarding the global water supply. To summarize: the situation is not good. Many industry experts and market pundits have suggested that the combination of low supply and higher demand will lead water to one day be traded just like other commodities such as gold and oil. Companies are catching onto the trend and are seeking to strengthen their water pipeline divisions in order to supply the expected future demand.
As Colombia’s energy sector expands and major infrastructure projects continue to develop, vast opportunities will be made available in Colombia for exporters across the globe. The United States has been Colombia’s top trading partner for the last couple of years but competition is increasing as other countries aggressively pursue trade opportunities in Colombia’s active and growing market.
Two weeks ago, the European Central Bank (ECB) raised its benchmark interest rate from 1 percent to 1.25 percent, putting it at odds with its counterparts in the United States and Britain. This move has sparked a debate as to whether the ECB jumped the gun with the interest rate hike.
Brazil has been growing like a weed and companies from all over the country and in all different industries have been benefiting. As the Brazilian economy continues to expand, consumers have found more and more discretionary income that needs to be spent. Two industries that have received a lot of this new wealth are the fast and casual dining sectors. Consumers have voted with their wallets - they are very hungry and are willing to pay for it.
Just as many global businesses are beginning to feel comfortable doing business over the Internet, smartphones and tablets are opening up a whole new avenue to interact with customers. While still relatively new, the market for mobile applications is expected to grow into a nearly $30 billion per year industry by 2015. E-Bay’s mobile application has already been downloaded by more than 50 million people worldwide, representing 190 countries and eight languages.
Supply chains have received a lot of attention lately including being featured in globalEDGE’s April Newsletter on the emerging industry of Reverse Supply Chains. However, another important part of a product’s life cycle is end-of-life management. Historically consumers’ only choice was to throw unwanted products away and manufacturers could help the environment by reducing packaging or making it biodegradable. Many consumers are now being offered the opportunity to recycle and companies around the world have sprung up to offer products and services that create profit while helping municipalities and citizens "Go Green!"
In 2009, China became Brazil’s largest trading partner in the world, overtaking the position that the United States has held since 1930. Brazilian exports are increasing rapidly to meet China’s immense demand for raw materials and commodities. On the other side of this trade relationship, cheaper goods imported from China are opening new horizons for Brazil’s growing middle class. This commercial relationship between these countries is continuing to grow and has reached an entirely new level.
The world is changing rapidly. People are becoming more interconnected than ever. Information is increasingly easier and cheaper to come by. Whether it's texting, social media, emailing, faster logistics, or finding information on the internet, it all leads to one thing, making a faster paced and more competitive business environment. Here are some top trends in business that are already happening but will play a significant role in the future.
It’s no secret that in these hard economic times companies worldwide have had to streamline processes and cut back on costs. These cut backs are starting to directly affect the value consumers are getting for their money. Now, due to rising global food prices, food and beverage companies are struggling more than most and having to cut back even more. Chips are mysteriously missing from bags, canned vegetables contain fewer ounces than before, and packaged goods of all types are seeing box size reductions. Even things like diapers are seeing shrinking package sizes. This is certainly not good news for consumers.
As of recent, companies in Spain have been following a common trend of expanding overseas. The country’s ability to grow in foreign markets is on the rise as successful Spanish companies turn their focus to manufacturing and developing new products in emerging markets abroad. Over the last three years, Spain has maintained a 1.8 percent share of world trade despite the rise of China and the Far East. As Spain looks to retain its position as a strong exporting nation by expanding into new markets, the domestic workforce will face steady unemployment.
Wine production is a source of great pride for many French citizens. Partners throughout the global supply chain are proud to take part in an industry with such cultural importance. Change is not easily embraced in an industry with so much history and a rapidly aging workforce. Regardless, to make products more affordable and accessible there has been a push to use plastic wine bottles. There are clear advantages and disadvantages associated with this trend, but its popularity amongst consumers is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.
I recently came across a very interesting article in the New York Times about the misunderstandings of starting a small business. There are many fears to venturing out and starting a small business of your own. Hopefully after reading over this list, you will have a better idea of what is true and what is false when it comes to opening a business.
With the recent concerns in Japan over nuclear power hazards, many around the world are questioning the use of nuclear energy. Some ask if the benefits outweigh the costs while others just question the precautions necessary when using nuclear energy. Of the questions asked, Germany has an answer. Don't use nuclear energy at all.
As we are wrapping up this globalEDGE blog series of “top trends,” we thought there’d be no better way to finish then with a custom-made list talking about top global business trends as seen by us here at globalEDGE. The list is in no particular order (i.e. trend number 1 is no more prevalent then trend number 5), but we feel that all of these trends are making themselves known in the international marketplace now. Here’s the list!