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On November 27, 2017, alesso commented on CARNIVAL CORPORATION: Cruising To A Cleaner Planet :

An important factor dictating responsiveness to Carnival’s measures to combat climate change is the composition of its passengers. As of 2014, 40% of Carnival’s adult passengers were millennials.[1] This percentage is not only higher than that of other cruise operators, but is indicative of the fact that “the cruise industry has long been moving away from its history as a grandparents’ getaway.”[1] Climate change is a salient issue for millennials evidenced by the fact that, in the most recent US election, climate change was considered “one of the very few issues that most millennials can get behind.”[2] As a result, I believe that consumers will increasingly consider measures taken to combat climate change when selecting a cruise operator.

Regarding the ethics of taking advantage of lucrative new routes, I see no issue given that consumers have fully visibility into the routes/itineraries they are selecting prior to paying for a cruise. Given that millennials have “a greater desire than any other generation to visit every state and continent,”doing so presents a new opportunity for these and other passengers who are keen to visit destinations that were previously not offered.[1]


On November 27, 2017, alesso commented on Where in the world will our wine come from? :

Nederburg must be both adaptable and resilient in order to address the impacts of climate change on its grape varieties. As a recognized, long-time wine producer in South Africa, it should not completely abandon the production of core offerings, but should gradually set the stage for its future characterized by a wider range of offerings. The introduction of grape varieties that are more resistant to cold weather conditions is an effective starting point, but additional actions should be taken. Consumers trust curated wine lists and informed sommeliers to “dictate” their preferences. With this in mind, Nederburg should focus on adjusting its sales strategy and partnerships to not only target distributors and end consumers, but also sommeliers, restauranteurs, and wine critics. These individuals are influential in driving demand for different grape varieties and can drive demand for Nederburg’s new blends over time.

Additionally, “reducing emissions has already become a mandate for many in the wine community.”[1] Nederburg could consider investing in climate-related innovations so as to reduce its carbon footprint and play its part in combatting climate change. For instance, Miguel Torres, President of Bodegas Torres of Spain and Chile, has invested considerably in such innovations, including CO2-eating algae and converting CO2 into plant fertilizer.[1]


On November 26, 2017, alesso commented on Rent the Runway: A Trendsetter Behind the Scenes Too :

Digitalization efforts by RTR to date appear to focus on improving speed – both that by which customers receive ordered items and that by which returned items are processed and prepared for future shipments. This focus is strongly aligned with RTR’s customer promise of on demand apparel and accessories.

While this focus has undoubtedly been important, I believe that a primary concern of a customer using this service is whether a piece which they have been unable to first try on will fit and suit their body type well. With this in mind, digitalization efforts by RTR going forward should focus on ensuring that: (1) customers are better able to anticipate the fit of their purchase so as to maximize customer satisfaction and minimize the incidence of and costs related to returns and (2) customers who are attracted to the business model, but otherwise skeptical of purchasing apparel or accessories that they have been unable to try on, will be incentivized to use this service.

In studying Li & Fung, we saw an example of how using digital imagery for online inspection and troubleshooting helped address quality problems. Similarly, RTR would benefit from technology that aids apparel selection through the use of digital images. For instance, RTR could enable customers to view a dress on a “mannequin” with dimensions customized to their body type in order to properly envision the dress prior to ordering it.

I do wonder to what extent Damco can effectively digitalize and automate its supply chain. As your second question suggests, there is a human element to consider behind all of this. The freight industry appears to be very traditional and, ultimately, freight forwarders themselves must still rely on the transportation providers. Perhaps the reason the industry has been so stagnant for decades is due to a reluctance to innovate given that supplier relationships have been paramount to other considerations.

It seems unlikely that Damco would be able to implement algorithmic solutions that damage their supplier relationships. Rather, in order to succeed, Damco will need to invest heavily in educating its transportation suppliers on how the new digitalized solutions can serve to benefit them.

On November 26, 2017, alesso commented on Brexit and BMW: Disintegration of European supply chains? :

The success of BMW following Brexit may hinge on how expeditiously new trade rules are drafted. As Dr. Ian Robertson, BMW Director¸ states: “The one thing we desire is clarity. Tell us what the objective is to 2025 and we’ll get on with it.”[1] The longer the uncertainty lasts, the greater the potential damage.

Prior to the referendum, Britain was already experiencing a shortage of automotive engineers.[3] Addressing the transfer of knowledge, Torsten Muller-Otvos, CEO of Rolls-Royce, expressed concern over the ability of the firm to attract employees from outside the UK: “we get a significant benefit from the easy movement of our people between the UK and Europe. This allows the rapid transfer of expert knowledge throughout Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and BMW Group networks, building the skill level of our UK workforce.”[2] As the brain drain is expected to continue with uncertainty, the question may not be how to ensure a transfer of knowledge but, rather, whether there will be knowledge to transfer.

Answering the question of where to build may be catastrophic if the trade issue is not resolved quickly and decisions are made in absence of such information. According to Harald Krüger, CEO and Chairman of BMW, “other companies are taking decisions the results of which you will not see for three, four, five years. Then it’s too late.”[4] The future impact of tariffs on vehicles made in the UK that are sold abroad is unknown, as is the question of whether parts can move quickly and affordably within the EU. The uncertainty extends beyond EU trade negations; there is also the question of whether the UK would be granted free trade with Europe from outside the EU. Can EU-sourced components be classed as local content? Will UK manufacturers succeed in attempting to build up the supply chain in Britain by encouraging suppliers to open plants in the UK? Without expediency in resolving issues, it is too early to decide whether BMW should close its UK plants. So, BMW sits in limbo.


I am focused on Facebook’s mission statement, “bring the world closer together.”

As the US election has demonstrated, Russian government involvement creates division. Certainly, the Russian philosophy on many global issues does anything but bring the world closer. As a result, appeasing the Russian government will not uphold the mission statement and the decision to leave Russia altogether does not run contrary to it. On the other hand, everyone has a right to privacy. For instance, whether one agrees with Apple in its legal battle against the FBI over access to the iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter, this case illustrates the importance of data privacy in preserving our way of life.

Protecting privacy is particularly important in Russia where the LGBT population faces significant legal and social challenges. I am reminded of what Tim Cook said in 2015 about the dire consequences of sacrificing the right to privacy.[1] Having recently come out, he strongly defended Apple’s commitment to privacy because of the fact that when people aren’t treated equally, they may face serious discrimination based on personal information.