Isabelle Roberts

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On November 30, 2017, Isabelle Roberts commented on Does a Trump presidency mean fewer free t-shirts? :

I think that it would be prudent for any company with this sized exposure to a foreign country to have touch points with that government. Whether it is in a formal organizational structure such as a regulatory or lobbying team or having the senior management team begin dialogue with the government in less formal manners, a company with a 53% marketshare of a segment in the U.S. needs to be plugged in. S. Banks’s suggestion to be involved in the NAFTA negotiations is a good one, and there are other ways they can get involved such as having a presence on relevant government committees. Separately, I also do believe that isolationism is a trend that will continue to spread globally, so it would be smart for Gildan and other companies to all become smarter in how to navigate in an increasingly isolationist environment.

On November 29, 2017, Isabelle Roberts commented on Apple combats with Protectionism in India :

Thank you for this essay, Anuj! I enjoyed reading it and learned a lot about the Indian policies that international companies face when they want to enter the country.

When thinking about Apple’s situation, I think that they absolutely cannot ignore India, given the size and the growth of the nation. If this means that they must comply with India’s FDI regulations, then they must do so in order to enter. Given the large pool of talent in India, I would be shocked if they were unable to find skilled labor or technological know-how. The greater concern that I have is around the price that they would be able to sell the iPhones for in India. The recent product portfolio expansion that Apple has done of offering the iPhone C should hopefully help with this, but they should further consider if there are other ways they can make the iPhone more affordable.

From India’s perspective, I think that they should lift the protectionary regulations. Such regulations act to disrupt the natural economics of development that would happen otherwise. India would benefit from having international companies enter easier, even if it means more competition for local companies in the short term. In the long term, this would enable citizens improved access to cheaper goods or if countries see that operating in India has its benefits, then they would naturally invest further in the country.

On November 29, 2017, Isabelle Roberts commented on H&M Aims to be Climate Positive by 2040 :

Given H&M’s size as the second largest fashion retailer, they have a unique position to influence other retailers. If they can prove that they can succeed, then they can act as a positive re-enforcer for other retailers in making strides towards climate positive initiatives. The best practices that H&M develops over the next few decades have the potential to create a new industry standard for how others need to operate in order to reduce their footprint on the planet.

When thinking about H&M maintaining its low cost offering while reaching for these initiatives, I do think that H&M will need to innovate around technology to achieve efficiencies. Additionally, as they role out initiatives across the organization, they should be able to leverage the huge scale that they have. Further, I do believe that there is an opportunity that if they are able to successfully achieve their climate positive goal, this could be a strong marketing and branding opportunity that consumers would respond well to and be willing to pay slightly more for.

On November 29, 2017, Isabelle Roberts commented on Coca-Cola: Sustainability Visionary or Villain? :

Reading through this made me reflect on Coca-Cola’s various concerns and motivations. While their motivations seem to be primarily driven by the need to maintain a resource for its supply chain inputs (e.g., to maintain commercial sustainability), I do believe that the outcomes of their actions are resulting in a greater good for the world. Although the efforts seem to still be under development, with figuring out a way to create socially responsible water in a method that is good for the community as well, in the long run, this is an issue that human kind will need to solve, and it is refreshing to see corporate capital being put towards it.

In the meantime, however, I do think that it has an obligation to close its operations to preserve the water rights of the local community. This creates a time pressure for them to find a solution, creating a stronger motivation than there might be otherwise. I hope to see Coca-Cola succeed in finding a win-win solution that is good for both the company as well as the community, as this could have a huge impact on the world.

On November 28, 2017, Isabelle Roberts commented on Amazon: A role model for supply chain innovation in the wake of digitalization :

Amazon is uniquely positioned to innovate in supply chain digitalization. In particular, their integration of brick and mortar with online is fascinating – clearly, every retailer must operate in multiple channels, as being online only or brick and mortar only both have their disadvantages. As Amazon navigates the brick and mortar space, they will face different challenges than legacy brick and mortar retailers. In particular, the last-mile logistical piece and real estate footprint are challenges that Amazon is still exploring on how to best integrate into their existing system. This is clear in their acquisition of Whole Foods, which puts them closer to the customer in attractive markets. I’m of the belief that Amazon will take over retail (and everything else) as we know it, given Bezos’ strong track record of expanding successfully into a wide variety of segments that seem unrelated at first glance (e.g., retailing and cloud are two very different businesses).

On November 28, 2017, Isabelle Roberts commented on #hacked: the proliferation of fake news bots on Twitter :

This is a great take on the digitalization of news! I do believe that Twitter must take responsibility for the content on their platform. Anything that is posted, even if the content creators are not controlled by Twitter directly, are implicitly being backed by the company. The users and readers are aware that Twitter has control over blocking users, and thus, Twitter makes a statement with complicit inaction if they do not police the content. Furthermore, given the wide reach of Twitter content, I believe that regardless of reputational risk, Twitter must take a stance on fake news given their influence on the media ecosystem and broader society.

While I do believe in freedom of speech, this method of speech is intentionally deceitful. The news pieces are not stated as opinions or satires, but instead as fact. This misrepresentation diverges from what freedom of speech is meant to protect. The controls implemented by Twitter should primarily be aimed at controlling the false statements, as opposed to silencing opinions that may not be popular.