This was an excellent article, Alona! Given the volatility and combativeness of the current administration toward clean energy, I think NEE made the right move in stockpiling for 2017-18 project needs and should immediately take steps to protect against major political changes. As Christina noted above, I didn’t realize America was so far behind China in solar development. With such a mature technology, why can’t NEE partner with U.S. based solar companies to reverse engineer Chinese solar panels and gradually build up production capabilities to fill its potential fulfillment gap? It seems they have no choice but to engage tier two Chinese manufacturers while simultaneously building relationships with U.S. suppliers.
To answer your last question––no, Sierra Nevada isn’t doing enough to inspire others. While signing the Brewery Climate Declaration  is a good start, as we’ve learned throughout the semester, when a company is serious about influencing change, they hire an executive armed with a fancy descriptive title to help tackle the problem. In this case, a Chief Sustainability Officer would do the trick. After perusing their 2015 sustainability report, they have a sustainability manager, two coordinators, and someone in a support role, but no CSO . Big mistake. I suggest hiring a CSO to help consolidate their climate efforts, differentiate their supply base, and negotiate mandates with suppliers.
For the life of me, I can’t understand why/how real estate agents still exist! I happen to have a (dormant) real estate license that I got for kicks years ago because I was interested in learning about the industry after I bought my first house in 2009. The MLS system was horrible the last time I used it and I remember thinking that it was only a matter of time before it’s disrupted and rendered obsolete.
In regards to your suggestion for RE/MAX to adopt a value-based pricing model, I actually think this will ultimately cause more harm to the company because consumers will eventually realize how little value realtors add to the transaction. As new technology (and information) becomes more accessible to buyers and sellers, it seems inevitable that real estate agents will go the way of car and insurance salespeople––primarily obsolete.
Eric, thank you for connecting the dots between climate change and political unrest. In America, we’re often blind to the tertiary effects climate change is bound to have in developing economies. Setting aside cost for a moment, this could be a perfect application for Indigo’s Winter Wheat that we learned about in an earlier case. According to Indigo’s website, Winter Wheat “demonstrates an average yield improvement of 15.7% in expected conditions and 8.3% across all conditions in the water-stressed target region of Kansas” . More broadly, Egypt may want to consider the use of GMOs to increase their crop yields.
On the other hand, GMOs alone may not be the key. In addition to the development of climate-adapted seed varieties, some scientists are arguing for a switch from industrial agriculture to “ecological agriculture”, which replaces chemical fertilizers with compost and manure. Ecological agriculture practices have already helped farmers in western Africa boost soil fertility and ability to retain water .
I would love to discuss further soon!
Great post! A bartender in Ireland was sharing some of these potential concerns with me a few years ago well before Brexit became a reality. We were simply discussing hypotheticals, but it’s fascinating to see his concerns having to be dealt with now. As of this morning, Theresa May seems to be facing rising pressure to avoid “hard borders” between the UK and Ireland , which may mean no big changes are necessary for Diageo. In either case, I would suggest delaying any large investments until more details are known. If negotiations turn out to be unfavorable, it seems that Diageo’s only choice is to begin limiting production in their Belfast plant. In which case, I love Alison’s point above to convert it to a low-production local brewhouse and tourist destination!
If hard borders are enacted, I wonder if it would be possible to lobby for a special “Fast-Pass” for Guinness-related border crossings in order to limit the amount of extra time spent at the border?
Very interesting post and perspective! I would agree that Walmart has made a few steps in the right direction in recent years to compete online. In addition to your above-mentioned acquisitions, within the last year, they even acquired one of my hometown favorites, Moosejaw, a small outdoor retail shop started in Michigan, for its online presence . And their purchase of Jet.com seems to be paying off . In addition to helping them grow their online presence and capabilities, acquiring these chic brands goes a long way toward helping Walmart improve their seemingly irredeemable brand.
Having said that, I completely disagree that Walmart even stands a chance at beating Amazon online. As mentioned above, Amazon has too large of a head start on Walmart. Combined with the fact you mentioned in your post—Walmart can’t attract top engineering talent—Amazon will likely remain technologically superior for at least the foreseeable future.