I have the same concern as you do regarding the strategy that Mondelez is planning to deploy to combat the impacts of climate change on cocoa production. As you have mentioned, this is a massive risk for Mondelez business, but it seems that they are not doing enough to address it and secure the future supply of cocoa. As an additional factor, cocoa plants are also highly susceptible to diseases that can be spread easily due to the increase of international commerce. Many of these outbreaks could harm profoundly the cocoa production, and affect it for serveral years.
Considering the situation, Mondelez needs to take a more drastic approach and look for additional solutions in other fields, such as the production of hybrid cocoa plants that can resist diseases and climate change effects. Mondelez could partner with hybrid developers to come up with a stronger plant, and enable the small farmers to acquire these varieties. Other companies such as Mars are already working with this hybrid plants that produce cocoa with the same quality, higher yield, and more resistance. It might be time for Mondelez to think about this strategy that will allow the company to secure a sustainable future supply for their cocoa beans.
Source: Myles Karp, “A Battle to Save the World’s Favorite Treat: Chocolate,” The New York Times”, September 25, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/25/science/cacao-fungus-chocolate.html, accessed November 2017
It is amazing that Nespresso is partnering with farmers to overcome the challenges that climate change represents on coffee growers; however, I think that the Resilient Farming Communities and Coffee Landscape Conservation subprograms won’t be enough to keep up with the quantity and quality of the coffee crops that the company requires to fulfill its demand. Therefore, I agree with your suggestion of Nespresso partnering to create genetically-modified and microbially-enhanced coffee plants that can survive climate change effects.
Other important players in the coffee industry, such as Starbucks, are already investing in the development of hybrid coffee plants with great characteristics: they maintain the good taste of other plants, allow productions with higher yields, and provide disease resistance and drought tolerance. It is difficult to expect that small farmers can access these hybrids, though. The developed hybrids are 2.5 as expensive as conventional plants, so they might be only available for big companies with more financial backing.
Thinking of this scenario and referring back to your second question, I wonder whether Nespresso will have the incentives to protect the coffee price in the future or not. Maybe consumers will accept the situation and end up paying a premium to indulge themselves with a cup of coffee.
Source: Caitlin Dewey, “The race to save coffee,” The Washington Post, October 19, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/business/the-race-to-save-coffee/?utm_term=.28d39ab15a9e , accessed November 2017.
In addition to increasing the efficiency of inventory management, RFID tags could lead to the reduction of food waste by sending detailed information to suppliers about what the convenience stores need and what needs to be discarded, which optimistically could motivate these suppliers to produce/distribute a lower quantity of goods to avoid having an excess amount that ends up in the waste.
Therefore, in addition to the savings and additional knowledge that the use of RFID tags might represent, this strategy carries a strong sustainability component. The decrease of food waste means that some resources are being released, so that they could be used by other people, and that it is also possible to reduce CO2 emissions caused by the food leftovers.
A similar solution has been implemented at the IKEA store’s restaurants, where the employees are using smart scales to measure food waste, and later use this information to improve planning and develop measures to reduce food waste. The initiative stared this year, and the goal is to reduce food waste by 50% on 2020.
Hopefully other companies could adapt RFID tags or comparable technologies to increase the sustainability of its operations.
Source: IKEA, “Corporate news”, http://www.ikea.com/us/en/about_ikea/newsitem/062217-IKEA-FOOD-IS-PRECIOUS-Initiative, accessed November 2017.
3D printing seems to be an incredible solution for many of the production and procurement issues that companies are having these days. However, 3D printing still has some critics and it is said to have a long way to improve. In spite of being around for more than 35 years, 3D printing still presents some issues that hampers its disruptive potential. For example, some of the users disapprove the extensive time that it takes to run the process, and others say that it’s difficult to use in variable or complex products.
For example, Adidas was using 3D printing for the development of its shoes; however, the company noticed that they needed more speed and flexibility on the process. They are now working with a company that has developed a 4D printer, that its way more faster and allows for more customized products. So, what does the fourth D represents? It represents humans.
I think it is important to remember that even when companies start using these technologies, they will still need a big component of human intervention to detect possible issues and to identify improvements in the process. Companies should be aware that, if they decide to set up a 3D printing operation in other country, they should first guarantee that they will have the required pool of talent in that location, who will at the end lead them to thrive.
Source: Isabel Flower, “Is Mass Customization the Future of Footwear? The partnership between Adidas and 3-Dprinting startup Carbon Inc. could usher in a new era of bespoke shoes”, Wall Street Journal, October 24, 2017. http://search.proquest.com.ezpprod1.hul.harvard.edu/docview/1954373604?accountid=11311 , accessed November 2017.
As Francie pointed out, the question about whether Americans benefit from more manufacturing jobs in the US or lower cost cars is very interesting. I do think that she makes a great point by explaining that bringing manufacturing plants back to the US won’t create more jobs, because the future of this plants is to have an automated assembly process. In addition, and going back to your question, I believe that if the automotive industry cannot protect NAFTA, Americans would be the most affected group by having to pay for more expensive cars.
In a country where most people own and use a car (1.3 people per car ), where distances are quite long and not necessarily covered by public transportation, and where transportation is the third heaviest component of the household expenses  (representing approximately 15% of the CPI basket), the increase in car prices would have a devastating effect in a family’s economy.
A different, but worse outcome, would be for companies to produce and to offer cheaper cars, by lessening their quality standards. This would probably reduce the life of the vehicle and generate additional expenses, decrease safety standards of the vehicles leading to more road accidents, or increase the emissions and collateral effects on the environment.
Hopefully the future of NAFTA becomes clearer in the coming months, and includes positive news for the automotive industry.
 Daniel Tencer, “Number Of Cars Worldwide Surpasses 1 Billion; Can The World Handle This Many Wheels?”, Huffpost, February 19, 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/08/23/car-population_n_934291.html , accessed November 2017.
 BMI Risk Report, “United States Country Risk Report – Q1 2018,” Business Monitor International, ABI/INFORM via ProQuest, accessed November 2017.