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A NAFTA rewrite will inevitably hurt U.S berry consumers assuming that they are unable to source berries with a cheaper import duty from another neighbor, which is likely to be the case. Consumers will have to pay a higher price for their berries but they are not the only stakeholders that will suffer it seems. American dairy farmers, particularly those who rely on exports, will face the brunt of a NAFTA rewrite as Mexico is the largest buyer of U.S dairy products worldwide. Driscoll might consider partnering with farming cooperatives in the U.S such as, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) to raise consumer awareness around the issues and costs that may result if the U.S were to abandon NAFTA. They might achieve this through an educational advertisement series that demonstrates how stakeholders across the value chain, from growers to dairy farmers to end consumers, would be impacted if the U.S were to pull out of the agreement.

Your question on the extent to which governments should set the climate change agenda for oil and gas companies warrants thoughtful consideration. Determining how much say government can and should have on this front depends on 1) the impact that these environmental regulations will have on the company’s business operations and its bottom line 2) whether the costs of these regulations will be disproportionately higher for some oil and gas companies than others.

The costs of government imposed environmental regulations typically manifest on a company’s balance sheet in the form of capital expenditure on new equipment or technology, fines for exceeding emissions targets, and/or additional staffing costs to ensure compliance with these regulations. Regulations that require companies to purchase costly and sophisticated technology to treat their emissions might be relatively easy and affordable for a large multinational like Exxon Mobil but uneconomical for their smaller counterparts. In this case, government imposed environmental regulations that are capital intensive might give larger companies additional competitive advantages in the sector and drive smaller companies out of business. Regulations that are target driven, requiring companies to reduce emissions by a set percentage each year are less arbitrary and will companies the flexibility to make the necessary investments in infrastructure, systems, and processes needed to achieve those targets.

Maud– this is an interesting read. Agree that Airbus would do well to diversify its production capabilities beyond the EU in the post Brexit era. I wonder if Airbus might consider the U.S to be an attractive and viable alternative? As part of its “America First” policy the Trump administration has put increasing pressure on U.S companies like Boeing to increase their manufacturing operations in the U.S with the promise of lowering corporate taxes. The administration has also signaled that it is prepared to give tax and repatriation concessions to foreign multinationals, potentially even Airbus, who are willing to bring manufacturing jobs to the U.S.

Boeing already has a sizable manufacturing presence in the United States (South Carolina) yet the commercial, non-defense, arm of its business continues to face increasing pressure to scale back its agreements with its international suppliers and source plane parts from within the United States instead. It will be interesting to see how the Trump Administration’s anti-globalization policies will impact Boeing’s commercial airplane manufacturing operations relative to the company’s defense manufacturing operations.

A lot can and has been done to encourage retailers to make sustainable choices around their internal operations and across their supply chain. Large retailers like Walmart and Target have leveraged their market share and the sheer volume they command from their supplier networks to incentivize them to deliver sustainable products. Walmart does this through their Scorecard program which encourages suppliers to track and report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The retail giant then ranks suppliers based on the sustainability data they provide which then factors into whether or not Walmart chooses to contract with them and to what extent. Walmart also partners with NGOs like the Environmental Defense Agency (EDA) to produce research and actionable findings on supply chain management from a climate change perspective.

Patagonia has also taken steps to make sustainable choices around its operating model and further downstream in its supply chain by working with third party auditors rather than performing this function in-house. Bluesign Technologies, an independent verification firm, audits the management systems of a several Patagonia suppliers to evaluate their production process and then assigns a color– blue, clean product and grey, toxic chemicals used– to each supplier to denote the “cleanliness” of their products.” [1]. For small and mid-sized retailers like Patagonia perhaps it is more economical and potentially more effective to outsource the verification process to a third party rather than auditing suppliers themselves. This model offers a scalable solution for other retailers seeking greater visibility into the sustainability practices of their suppliers.

[1] https://www.patagonia.com/blog/2012/04/patagonia-clothing-made-where-how-why/

On November 22, 2017, TS commented on Disney n Chill :

In going head-to-head with Netflix by launching its own direct-to-consumer digital streaming platform, Disney might succeed in capturing market share in the digital streaming space providing it can effectively manage potential risks associated with its new business model.

1) Walt Disney movies and shows have traditionally catered to a younger audience (between the ages of 4 -13) and as a result most Disney blockbusters are ‘family friendly’ with G or PG13 ratings. Target consumers in this segment are both parents and children. While children have little purchasing power in choosing which streaming service to subscribe to and how much to pay for it, I wonder if the content offerings on the Disney streaming platform are varied enough to entice parents to pay for a subscription. Netflix will likely continue to serve as a viable competitor in this content space by offering family and child friendly movies and shows even after its distribution deal with Disney comes to a close.

2) In addition to the revenue losses that Disney might sustain from a decline in movie theatre ticket sales, Disney’s digital streaming service could also potentially cannibalize its cable TV channel which makes a plethora of classic and new Disney movies and shows available to its viewers. Will the content offerings through the on-demand streaming platform be differentiated enough to entice consumers to pay for a subscription when they have access to many of the same Disney movies and shows offered through cable TV? If there is significant overlap in content across its online and cable distribution channels, Disney might see viewership and advertising revenue from Disney’s cable TV network migrate to its online streaming service or vice versa.

The question of whether Shake Shack’s investment in apps and kiosks will achieve the desired goal of reducing wait times and improving the overall customer experience, is an interesting one. Although there are inherent risks in alienating customers by replacing tellers with automated kiosks, streamlining information flow from customer to the back end, the kitchen, will ultimately improve the customer experience but only to a limited extent.

The above examples of automation merely deliver incremental improvements in the overall customer experience by improving the accuracy of customer orders and perhaps minimally reducing wait times. Shake Shack and its customers would be better served if the company were to invest in developing clever innovations around its delivery model. Dominos’ innovative pizza delivery box revolutionized how we experience and consume pizza in our homes- it arrives hot and fresh 99% of the time. Shake Shack has an opportunity to be first to market in developing a cutting edge, innovative delivery solution so that customers can enjoy its core product offering – burgers and french fries- which traditionally do not travel well, at home or at work.