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Great post! I agree that Starwood does a great job providing excellent customer experiences in their hotels. It will be interesting to see how Marriott leverages the technological advantages that Starwood has as the two companies begin to integrate. One thought I had while reading this post was whether/how Airbnb could leverage similar technologies as Starwood to make the check-in/check-out process more seamless for guests staying in Airbnb accommodations. As Airbnb continues to increase its number of bookings, the company’s decisions around the adoption of technology will have large implications for its customers (http://qz.com/329735/airbnb-will-soon-be-booking-more-rooms-than-the-worlds-largest-hotel-chains/).

I was very interested to read this post because of the proliferation of recently launched food delivery services. Having read this post, I am not quite sure what Foodora does to differentiate itself from its competitors like Seamless, Postmates and DoorDash. In fact, it seems to me like, Foodora is more limiting than its competitors given the small delivery zones that the company has set up. In my opinion, like the market for on demand rides, the winner of the on demand food delivery service will be the company that can deliver the most meals reliably in the shortest amount of time for the lowest price. I agree that Foodora can leverage the data it collects to help optimize its operations, but I fail to see any competitive advantages that the company has in the marketplace.

On November 19, 2016, CPC commented on A Wholly Digital Whole Foods :

Great post! Having worked at a company that sold products to Whole Foods, I can say that the retailer is in much need of a digital transformation. If Whole Foods can successfully implement the changes you outlined, it will be a big win for the company. Specifically, if Whole Foods is able to give suppliers access to detailed sales information, it will benefit all parties. Currently, Whole Foods operates on a regional buying model in which each region throughout the country makes their own purchasing decisions. I will be curious to see if the Infor platform is able to successfully aggregate the data from the different regions into a national view, as a lack of corporate level data is one of Whole Food’s current shortcomings. Also, given that Whole Foods sells a lot of prepared food in addition to packaged food products, I am wondering if/how the company is planning to leverage technology to improve the supply chain for that part of the business.

Net-a-Porter seems to have done a great job integrating the latest technological innovations into their existing business model of selling clothes online. The thing I wonder however, is whether the company should establish some kind of brick and mortar presence to continue to grow the business and capture additional market share. E-commerce companies like Warby Parker and Bonobos which started as online only businesses have now started opening brick and mortar retail locations which serve as showrooms for the products (additional information can be found here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/warby-parker-bonobos-have-big-plans-for-physical-stores-1475767980). Do you think this is something that Net-a-Porter should consider doing in the future?

On November 19, 2016, CPC commented on FedEx – the next big Challenge :

Very interesting post! I agree with Sairah that FedEx needs to think bigger picture outside of their traditional shipping model to sustain its business in the long-term. I definitely think FedEx’s investment in its SenseAware technology can be a competitive advantage in the near term, but one question I have is how does SenseAware help customers during times of severe weather? Packages often get delayed for reasons related to weather, and having more visibility to exactly where packages are stuck might prove to be more frustrating to customers than the current model of track and trace technology.

On November 6, 2016, CPC commented on To boycott or not to boycott Nutella :

I am glad to hear that the parent company of Nutella, Ferrero, has taken a stand in support of using responsibly sourced palm oil in its Nutella products. As you indicated, there are still a number of measures that Ferrero can take to ensure the integrity of its palm oil supply chain. While there are certainly ways to reduce/stop deforestation associated with palm oil production, Ferrero could also consider replacing its use of palm oil with another ingredient with similar properties. As outlined int his article (https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/feb/17/scientists-reveal-revolutionary-palm-oil-alternative-yeast), scientists at the University of Bath have discovered yeast ingredient that matches palm oil’s key properties almost exactly. While this alternative ingredient would likely be more expensive than palm oil, and is far from ready to be brought to market, it would provide Ferrero with a truly sustainable solution that would enable consumers to enjoy Nutella for years to come!

I agree that International Paper has a large opportunity to impact climate change given its position in the industry. My skepticism however is whether the company will be able to reduce its carbon footprint while maintaining its current prices. Surely there is a subset of the company’s customers who care about their suppliers’ sustainability measures, but it is unclear whether those customers would be willing to pay premium prices compared to the prices they are currently paying for those sustainability measures. Furthermore, as China increases its production of paper, this price gap between International Paper’s products and the cheaper Chinese paper products will continue to get larger, so I am not sure the company can afford to invest in technologies that convert waste into biomass energy. Are there other ways that IP can reduce its environmental impact without causing an increase in prices?

On November 6, 2016, CPC commented on Delta – Combat Climate Change by Flying into the Future :

I find it interesting that Delta is both significantly contributing to climate change given its high level of emissions, and it is also suffering from the effects of climate change which has resulted in an increasing number of weather-related delays. I agree that Delta needs to increase its efforts to identify a more sustainable fuel source for airplanes, but this poses some challenges in the short term. First, assuming that there is a more sustainable fuel source for airplanes that can be produced at scale, there is no doubt that in the short term, it will be more expensive than the current jet fuel that Delta procures. Given the fact that Delta is a public company, does using a more expensive energy source put the company at odds with maximizing shareholder value? Secondly, there are a number of companies (including airlines, the military and delivery companies) that stand to benefit from the discovery of a sustainable, scalable, and cost effective source of fuel. Is it possible for Delta to partner with these other entities to find a solution to this problem sooner and not have to bear the full costs of this endeavor alone? Would collaborating with other airlines on this initiative put Delta at risk of losing its competitive edge within the industry?

On November 6, 2016, CPC commented on Do Judge a Product by its Packaging :

Thank you for highlighting the work that one company is doing to provide more sustainable solutions for the packaging of CPG products. As you mentioned in your post, a small percentage of Tetra-Pak cartons are actually recycled by consumers due to a lack of carton recycling facilities. You stated that one potential solution to this problem could be for TetraPak to invest in opening its own recycling facilities, but I am wondering whether TetraPak needs to bear this burden by itself? Perhaps the CPG companies who use TetraPak packaging for their products have a responsibility not only to educate their consumers about the recyclability of TetraPak packaging, but also to invest in facilities to process TetraPak packages. At the very least, there are organizations like TerraCycle (https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/) that CPG companies can partner with to provide a more sustainable end of life solution for their TetraPak packaged products.

On November 6, 2016, CPC commented on Hanes: Clean Shirts for a Cleaner World :

It is great to hear that Hanes is a leading player within its industry as it relates to sustainability and that the company has successfully managed to reduce its Energy Consumption, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Water Consumption. On important environmental issue that was not mentioned however is the proliferation of GMO cotton, the issues it has created, and the actions that Hanes is taking with respect to GMO cotton in its sourcing. Today, 96% of the cotton grown in the US is genetically modified, and 95% of the cotton grown in India, the largest producer of cotton, is genetically modified. In addition to the environmental impacts that GMO cotton seeds have had on the planet, due to the high prices of GMO seeds, GMO cotton has also caused a lot of hardship for cotton farmers, particularly in India. (https://www.rt.com/news/261673-india-gmo-cotton-suicides/?). Given that Hanes is such a large player in the industry, does the company have a responsibility to take action against this issue?