I can see how Bright Cellars would create value for consumer who want to try new wines but aren’t sure where to start. If there isn’t a sales associate handy at the local wine shop, or the grocery store where you shop doesn’t employ wine experts, the stacks of wine can seem like a mystery. Whether or not the bottle label is well-designed doesn’t necessarily speak to the quality of its contents…
I think Bright Cellars’ biggest competitors are the local wine shops with in house experts. As for mass-market retailers like grocery chains, I wonder if they’ll eventually take cues from companies like Bright Cellars and develop their own platforms to pair consumers with in-stock wines within a consumer-determined price range. Regardless, it seems like a great time to be a wine drinker who wants to discover new products.
U.S. agribusiness is a tech-heavy industry. A lot of large farm machinery, like planters, can practically drive themselves with GPS. However, as this machinery becomes more complex, the challenge is ensuring availability of quick repairs. Like you say in your article, “poor machinery operation when planting or harvesting could represent considerable expenses.” Losing a week in a narrow planting/harvesting window is a risk that many farmers aren’t willing to take on early prototypes, no matter how bullish on technology that individual farmers may consider themselves.
One issue that I think Rappi might need to consider is security-related. What kind of background checks are required of the Rappi messengers? One bad incident could garner a lot of press and stymie further growth of the service (e.g, Uber in India).
I’d be interested to know if Levi’s has been able to roll out this technology to its other retail partners, like Macy’s or Nordstroms, where Levi’s has “store-within-a-store” areas in these department stores. Furthermore, I wonder about the potential applications for the dressing room – is Levi’s taking advantage of the RFID technology so that customers could request additional sizes a digital interface (like an iPad) from inside the dressing room?
“Based on the number of government organizations that all have policy experience and will likely have to adapt to technology challenges in the future, the government should either create a new government office strictly responsible for handling technology products for the rest of the government”
The USG did create a government office focused on digital services in the wake of the healthcare.gov debacle. The General Services Administration (GSA), a Federal agency, now houses 18F, a digital services agency build on the lean startup model. 18F recruits top talent via the Presidential Innovation Fellows program and acts as an in-house digital delivery team to help government agencies build effective, user-centric digital services. 18F runs on a cost recovery model where client agencies reimburse 18F for its work. See https://18f.gsa.gov/ for more information.
18F is well-suited to help agencies for projects on a smaller scale than healthcare.gov. I’d argue that for future high stakes, large scale roll outs, however, the U.S. government should contract out more of the work to experts in the private sector. The government currently does not have enough talent/expertise to effectively manage such projects from start to finish, and even if it did, internal bureaucratic roadblocks would likely stymie and frustrate that talent and contribute to project delays.
Before reading this article, I was unaware how much investment Mars is making the cocoa supply chain all the way down to the farmer level. I previously viewed Mars as an end user as a commodity product. Can you imagine the maker of Doritos, Frito Lay, investing in corn farmers and setting up corn research centers? I suppose they might, though, if it looked like the majority of the corn supply chain might collapse without intervention and disrupt their ability to make enough Doritos. Whether Mars is making these investments for sustainability’s sake or the sake of its bottom line or the sake of the subsistence farmers in their network is almost a moot point – Mars stands to benefit if the supply chain remains intact regardless.
Great job on a thought-provoking article. To me, this is a classic illustration of the intersection of policy and private sector innovation. Without the policy change, purchasers of refrigerant HFCs had no bottom-line incentive to purchase the higher-priced Opteon (great product name, imho). I would imagine some shareholders might get upset if a company switched to Opteon in the absence of the policy change, assuming the more expensive Opteon didn’t have any non-environmental benefits to justify the higher cost. The Kigali agreement levels the playing field, though. Chemours has a head start on the competition because it anticipated and championed the new agreement. I wonder which other sectors would be well-served to anticipate and innovate for future climate regulation.
Great article. I hadn’t considered how climate change could affect hydro-power infrastructure performance. EGAT faces a tough challenge of scaling up its electricity production to match rapidly growing demand. I wonder how new environmental standards for public financing might play a role in EGAT’s decision-making process for which energy types to invest in. For example, in late 2013, Japan’s export credit agency JBIC signed a nearly $200 million loan agreement KEGCO, “a Thai company in which Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) and Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc. (TEPCO) have equity stakes indirectly. KEGCO will build and operate a gas-fired combined cycle power plant in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province in southern Thailand, and plans to sell electricity generated to Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) for 25 years from 2016” (https://www.jbic.go.jp/wp-content/uploads/interview_en/2014/04/20278/JBIC_interview_11_en.pdf). As a result of the 2015 Paris Agreement, export credit agencies in OECD countries agreed not to finance coal-fired power plants outside of the poorest countries starting in 2017, so JBIC would not be able to finance coal-fired power plants in Thailand, but could continue to support gas-fired plants (https://www.ashurst.com/en/news-and-insights/legal-updates/oecd-restricts-ecas-on-coal-ipps/). Chinese agencies are not party to the agreement, however, so if EGAT did want to secure financing for coal-fired plants with Chinese turbines, they could turn to Chinese export credit agency export financing.
I’m encouraged to read about a company like Klabin operating in Brazil. In my experience, many of the companies setting high standards for sustainability within their industries are in the developed work (e.g., IKEA), so it’s great to see a homegrown Brazilian company taking a stand. I’d be interested to know whether their sustainability processes increase their prices relative to competitors with similar quality products (I imagine there’s a bit of a premium involved.) I’m also curious to know where Klabin’s main buyers are located – are they in the developed world, or are there also local buyers who are willing to pay a premium for Klabin’s products?
Thanks for a great article! I hadn’t considered the intersection of sports and climate change before, and now I’m wondering what this could mean for college baseball (the College World Series is in Omaha in the middle of the summer – yikes), as well as in other sports like college/professional football. You saw what happened when Notre Dame played N.C. State in hurricane conditions… increasingly common extreme weather events could force some sports to reconsider their playing seasons, as well as the amenities required of stadiums and ball parks.