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On November 29, 2017, HeidiRoizensUncleHoward commented on Make Oxford Great Again: An Elite University in the Era of Protectionism :

Great article Francois! A key point you raised regarded how the academic elite can believe so strongly in the benefits of international cooperation when the majority of the UK population voted in favor of “Brexit.” Taking a closer look at the election demographics suggests that ironically an education gap could play a large factor in the explanation. According to Andrew McGill of the Atlantic, “People in areas where many residents have college degrees were far more likely to vote “Remain,” particularly in central London, where more than two-thirds of the city population has a bachelor’s degree” [1.] In addition, given the underlying tensions of xenophobia in the “leave” camp, this statistic would seem to indicate that higher population of the academic elite do indeed believe in the benefits of international influence. However, this conclusion leads to yet another concerning question: how do you diffuse the benefits of internationalism beyond academic circles? The unfortunate reality is it may take the full weight of “Brexit” repercussions for “leave” voters to recognize the impact of isolationism.

[1] McGill, Andrew. “Who Voted for Brexit?” The Atlantic, 25 June 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/06/brexit-vote-statistics-united-kingdom-european-union/488780/.

On November 28, 2017, HeidiRoizensUncleHoward commented on Can Britain’s largest automobile company, Jaguar Land Rover, survive Brexit? :

Thank you for the read Yash. As you mention, a necessary concern Jaguar is whether it has the ability to attract technology companies to partner with it in light of impending challenges raised by Brexit. To this point, I actually agree with the suggestion of opening up productions in Silicon Valley. Strategically locating operations near the US technological mecca sends a signal to the industry that JRL is serious about achieving its electrification goals. Furthermore, the US would be a favorable place to launch its electrical product as Tesla has already paved the infrastructural path of having charging stations on roadways (which Britain is still working on developing) [1]. I think the prospect of reinvigorating the US market with interest in Jaguar coupled with being part of the company’s innovation efforts makes a partnership with JRL an attractive opportunity.

[1] “Jaguar Cars Set to Go Electric from 2020.” Phys.org – News and Articles on Science and Technology, 17 Sept. 2017, phys.org/news/2017-09-jaguar-cars-electric.html.

On November 28, 2017, HeidiRoizensUncleHoward commented on GE Aviation: Soaring Apart From Competition with Data Analytics :

Thanks for the great post! You raise a very valid concern surrounding the tradeoff between future functionality and benefits when considering a closed off digitalized communication system. The reality is though, that in the current digital age, companies must proactively consider potential cybersecurity threats. As indicated by a PWC study, cybersecurity attacks have been increasing over the last few years and there is little indication that attempts to hack into our highly-utilized information systems (including airline controls) will cease. [1] As a result, I would argue that GE should lean more towards closed-off (and ideally end-to-end encrypted) systems. If GE shows in good faith that it is trying to adjust to the realities of digitalization and protect its consumers, customers may actually feel more inclined towards loyalty and partnership with GE.

[1] PWC. “The Global State of Information Security Survey 2018.” PwC, 18 Oct. 2017, http://www.pwc.com/us/en/cybersecurity/information-security-survey.html.

On November 27, 2017, HeidiRoizensUncleHoward commented on Sustainability in Food: How General Mills is Combating Climate Change :

Thanks for the article HBSTOM17. To your question about how large companies can continue to demonstrate their dedication to addressing climate change while growing their top/bottom lines, I think aggressively marketing the mission will certainly play a vital role. In addition, I think companies can also make an effort to educate consumers on how pervasively climate change in general will impact their lives. As your piece mentions and also highlighted by a Nielsen study, many consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive and social impact[1]. This actually makes me think about our IKEA class. I previously did not know about IKEA’s commitment to sustainability. However, I will fully admit that in now knowing their mission, I think more favorably of IKEA and feel that buying their products is somewhat of a proxy for contributing to sustainability.

Ultimately, increasing revenue growth in tandem with demonstrating a commitment to climate change requires the end-consumer to be aware of the issue and for the company to display the cause as part of their marketing efforts. By presenting the problem and marketing how the company is contributing solutions, corporations invite consumers to also alleviate the problem by buying their products.

[1] Adams, Anne Taylor. “GLOBAL CONSUMERS ARE WILLING TO PUT THEIR MONEY WHERE THEIR HEART IS WHEN IT COMES TO GOODS AND SERVICES FROM COMPANIES COMMITTED TO SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.” Nielsen, 17 June 2014, http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/press-room/2014/global-consumers-are-willing-to-put-their-money-where-their-heart-is.html.

On November 26, 2017, HeidiRoizensUncleHoward commented on How Monsanto Is Weathering Climate Change :

TGD thank you for a really compelling read. You highlighted a very salient issue in questioning whether Monsanto’s push into data science to improve its supply chain moves the company too far away from its core competency. I think the acquisition of ClimateCorp actually advances its focus as an agricultural biotech company. Particularly in the face of the uncertain effects of climate change, developing its predictive capabilities and building an increasingly symbiotic relationship with farms to forecast yield and reduce costs, seems a necessary move. With the goal of helping ClimateCorp become an Amazon.com network of agricultural products and services that speed innovation,1 increased information and heightened visibility throughout the supply chain ultimately bolsters its ability to evolve as an agricultural biotech company in the age of climate change.

1 Plume, Karl. “Monsanto’s Climate Corp to expand digital farming platform.” Reuters, 17 Aug. 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-monsanto-farming-data/monsantos-climate-corp-to-expand-digital-farming-platform-idUSKCN10S1Q4.

On November 26, 2017, HeidiRoizensUncleHoward commented on Race to the Last-Mile: Challenges to Wal-Mart E-Commerce Deliveries :

Juan Carlos, thank you for a very thought-provoking read. While I agree that encouraging customer pickups could be a viable route for customers close to a nearby WalMart, I do feel concern for the population of consumers ordering from Walmart.com because Walmart stores are inaccessible to them. I think particularly about consumers living in rural/lower income neighborhoods in light of Walmart closures in those areas over the past year.1 Even with a discount, consumers may not be willing to trade the convenience of delivery services for the cost of transportation and time.

I am actually inclined towards WalMart’s attempts to vertically integrate via acquisition (through Parcel, for example) as a way to better deal with the “last-mile”. Perhaps through vertical integration, WalMart can find innovative ways to reduce the cost of deliveries for itself and continue to deliver on its customer promise of everyday low prices.

1 Meko, Tim, and Lydia Phillips. “Poor, Rural Areas Will Be Most Affected by Walmart Closing 154 Stores.” The Washington Post, 5 Feb. 2016, http://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/business/walmart-closings/.