Tuesday, January 20, 2015

End of Peak Oil

The Economist declares that the notion of "peak oil" is being dealt a death blow in its latest special report on energy and technology.

There is no shortage of hydrocarbons in the Earth’s crust, and no sign that mankind is about to reach “peak technology” for extracting them.

That of course, is a short-term view.  We are living off the past with hydrocarbons, and as large as the planet is, and as long as the past is, hydrocarbons are a finite resource.  Cutting dependence on this finite resource that has long term negative consequences to sustaining a planet as we know it.  And here, the Economist helpfully suggests curbing subsidies that encourages dependence on hydrocarbons.

For now, though, low oil prices put money in consumers’ pockets and give a bit of breathing space to governments, making it easier to cut fossil-fuel subsidies (and perhaps even tax carbon emissions). In 2013 some $550 billion was spent on subsidising fossil fuels, a policy of extraordinary wrongheadedness that favours the rich, distorts economies and aggravates pollution.

While oil prices are dropping, policies should target subsidies at renewable energy sources.  The boost in renewable capabilities and capacity would certainly prepare us for when oil prices return to their highs.

Other reading:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Remington: Don't Call Gun Fix a 'Recall'

Remington is being forced to fix 7.85 million guns with a firing mechanism known as the Walker trigger.  The issue: the guns are prone to firing without the trigger being pulled.  But is it a defect?  Remington denies they have a defect and insists the thousands of consumer reports they've had are "user errors."
Recalls are still seen as a bad thing in lawsuit happy jurisdictions.  Admitting to a defect and recalling a product opens companies up to liability claims.

This is what being between a rock and a hard place must feel like.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A look at 2014 conflict minerals efforts

Source Intelligence just published a summary of the activities involving their solution for managing conflict minerals risks in the supply chain.
ref. An Insightful Look at 2014 Conflict Minerals Efforts (free registration required)

The report aggregates their client data from 2013 efforts, covering the apparel, electronics, manufacturing, oil & gas and retail industries.  At tier 1 in the supply chain, they have 1,336 suppliers -- which increased significantly as they delved into deeper tiers -- and impacted around 2M products.  Source Intelligence is definitely doing the sales pitch.  Their report shows efficiency and effectiveness gains if you use their resources for education and data collection.  But it isn't smoke and mirrors.  It makes sense that supply chain partners who are educated (having awareness of context) are better suited to effectively participate in reporting.  It also makes sense that automating the data capture is the way to go.

Apart from the above, the report is an interesting read to get a sense of how folks having to comply with regulatory requirements are doing.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

DHL's Global Connectedness Index 2014

DHL last week released the third edition of its Global Connectedness Index -- and despite the global economic malaise, things are looking good for the globalization of trade. DHL's analysis looks at the cross-border movement of goods, capital, information and people, using data that encompasses 99% of the world's GDP, covering 95% of its population -- and the findings are not surprising.

  • The world’s economic center of gravity shifts eastward; emerging economies see bigger connectedness gains than advanced economies
  • Flows of trade, capital, information and people stretched out over more distant geographies, documenting a decline in regionalization
  • Europe remains most globally connected region; Netherlands again ranks No. 1

Friday, December 05, 2014

Uzbek Cotton Harvest Update

The cotton harvest was just completed in Uzbekistan. See a summary of events below. With Bangladesh, India and Russia being the largest importer of Uzbek cotton, will you be looking at your clothing labels different this Christmas season? If you understand the cotton supply chain, you'll realize that there is no easily discernible way of segregating cotton from one country. It's a commodity that is purchased, mixed, processed, mixed, processed, etc., before ever ending up in the hands of the cutters and sewers. Traceability is a huge hurdle to overcome.

2014-12-04 2014 Uzbek Cotton Harvest Update Webinar from As You Sow on Vimeo.

Source: https://ethicallysourced.wordpress.com/

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Green Retail News

Here's some news to cheer about -- every little bit helps.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

eBay Admits It Banned A Whistleblower Warning Shoppers About Fake Products

How not to deal with a warning that you're hosting/dealing in counterfeit products:
When a consumer watchdog organization alerted eBay that it had found hundreds of counterfeits on the site, eBay blocked the whistleblower's accounts and removed its comments warning people about fake products.

The Counterfeit Report also bought fake Apple iPhone chargers, which have been implicated in starting fires, as well as counterfeit over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, sporting goods, fragrances, auto accessories, and more.

Scary that some of the products bear counterfeit certification and listing marks.  To consumers, these are real products.