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Gregorio, this was a really informative article about a product we all love and see a lot! It was interesting to me to see the multiple approaches CyT is taking to tackle the large question of how you can be a sustainable business yet drive profits. The incentives are aligned for CyT to use less water (which saves their water costs), Defoliation (which improves their grape production), and the Carbon Fund (measuring their efforts, which arguably is the most important part of any effort). In addition, to address your question which is touched upon by DJ’s comment, is that CyT could also lead efforts to drive sustainability in the wine industry by offering to share their best practices and knowledge with others. Given that consumers now pay attention to environmental sustainability efforts, with the right marketing CyT could also reap benefits from this as well.

On December 1, 2017, AHL commented on Driving into the Unknown: Ford Motor Company and NAFTA :

Ben, thanks for a clear article on the implications of how the end of NAFTA could affect a very American brand and business. I think this question is really critical especially in light of our case discussion today on Interconnect – as we learned today, there are different considerations for factory operations (the labor laws and cost, worker education, sourcing of raw materials etc) and it is clear that repealing NAFTA will negatively affect what is currently an efficient and reliable operation, resulting in hurting an American company. I especially thought your point about Ford moving their operations to China in order to gain even more savings in their production. The Trump administration will have to think very carefully about the implications of pursuing the end of NAFTA, as businesses ultimately will have to choose the option that will drive efficiency and protect (if not increase) margins.

I really enjoyed this article Charlie! It’s really interesting to see how Brexit is affecting large businesses, and in relation to that, their suppliers as well as customers. As others have mentioned above I thought it was interesting that Tesco attempted to pass on the costs to their suppliers instead of their consumers. In the long run I don’t think this is a sustainable strategy however, as Tesco is in a unique situation where suppliers aren’t competing for their business – Tesco needs to be able to deliver products to their customers. Suppliers may initially be willing to negotiate in order to keep Tesco as a customer, but ultimately if Tesco becomes an unprofitable account they will have to walk away. Given that the UK sources much of their produce from the EU as you mentioned, and because agriculture is not an industry that can be developed in the short-term, it will be interesting to see the policy decisions on the government level and strategic decisions Tesco makes in the future.

Thanks Keely for an insightful article. I am in the camp of supporting Teva’s shift to embrace digitization, as it is setting them up to capture growth in the market that will inevitably utilize technology to predict demand for drugs in the coming future. As you pointed out, consolidation in the PBM space and increased generic competition is pushing Teva into a corner in their traditional business. By offering these potential high value “add on” services such as partnering with IBM Watson Cloud as well as providing apps, Teva can reduce friction in the demand funnel at various stages in the product cycle. Teva isn’t diverging from their core business but creating innovative opportunities to drive their margins back up in what is becoming a challenging environment for the traditional players in the market.

Thanks for the insightful article! This was a great example of how bad execution paired with customer psychology can result in a hit on actual business targets – it is especially interesting as we see Google as a data giant who should theoretically, be able to be at the forefront of digitization and improve their business by harnessing the data they can glean from their other businesses. Your point around the lack of the option to pre-order the phone being a missed opportunity as well as a compounding factor of the difficulty in responding to consumer demand was particularly insightful. Google’s strength is that they are able to provide search optimization services, and the power of harnessing google searches for insights on demand has been documented [1]. It will be interesting to see how Google addresses this gap in their supply chain for the Pixel in future years.

[1] Askitas, Nikolaos. “Google search activity data and breaking trends.” IZA World of Labor. https://wol.iza.org/uploads/articles/206/pdfs/google-search-activity-data-and-breaking-trends.pdf

Thanks WL for the thoughtful comment & for catching the arrested development reference! I like your parallel comparison between the banana supply chain and the power industry. You brought up a really interesting point re: using science to create alternative ways of sustaining production, particularly in regions where historically it was considered impractical to grow certain types of crops. This could definitely be a consideration if major producers want to diversify against For bananas, it looks like there currently is research being done to create drought-resistant bananas. This seems primarily to protect bananas against climate aberrations in traditionally tropical regions, but could also be developed to grow them in new, non-tropical regions as well. The most important point for players in the industry would be to be aware of these alternative strategies for the future.

[1] Ravi, Iyyakkutty et al. “Phenotyping Bananas for Drought Resistance.” Frontiers in Physiology 4 (2013): 9. PMC. Web. 1 Dec. 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3580962/

On December 1, 2017, AHL commented on This season, LVMH is wearing green :

Thanks for an insightful article – I wasn’t aware that LVMH has been putting in the effort to do their part in driving sustainability since 1992. I particularly think they are harnessing the power of being such a large fashion powerhouse through their internal carbon fund. I agree that a top-down approach where they set broad metrics (maybe in terms of ratios, to enable each group to adapt their efforts to the market they are in) as well as a way to share best practices would be more impactful than disjointed efforts. One thing that stood out to me while reading this article was that while luxury brands and “fast fashion” are broadly operating from the same industry of mass fashion — albeit serving different customer groups — the two seem to approach it from a very different way. For example, LVMH’s approach is to drive efficiencies from the start of production to the point of sale, while brands such as H&M focus on the post-sale (e.g. their campaign to recycle clothes) [1]. My initial thoughts are that this is due to a mix of WTP, production cycle and time to sale. For example, a Louis Vuitton purse can command a higher price as well as a longer time horizon to design and produce, as well as the fact that the customer willing to wait for new stock to come in in order to get their preferred product. Fast fashion is exactly the opposite, and also raises the question on how they can creatively approach ways to drive environmental efforts at the start of their production cycle.

[1] https://about.hm.com/en/sustainability/get-involved/recycle-your-clothes.html