Having returned to Washington DC in time for summer – lots of sun, heat, and humidity – the weather feels like I never left Aceh. I still sometimes find myself amazed and almost giddy from enjoyment of the bacteria-free hot water for showers and baths, a stable supply of electricity, the absence of dengue/malarial mosquitoes and regularly recurring stomach ailments.
What will tomorrow’s corporate giants look like? The rapid rise of world-beating firms from emerging economies ranging from hi-tech to extractives sectors, is already prompting changes in corporate strategy to stay ahead of the game. Now, a UK-based think tank, Tomorrow’s Company, has teamed with leading firms to launch an inquiry addressing core questions on the future role of business in society.
He was too modest to tell you himself, but this blog's co-founder may well be the next economist crossover star. Tim Harford, everyone's favorite Undercover Economist, is in the midst of a 4-week special on the BBC2. "Trust Me I'm an Economist" applies the lessons of economics to everyday problems with love, work and more.
In honor of World Water Week in Stockholm, check out this brand-new report from the International Water Management Institute on the relationship between water scarcity, agricultural production methods and global trade patterns. The comprehensive assessment of water management in agriculture gives the following optimistic assessment (and then immediately recognizes the political impossibilities):
Interesting piece by Peter Asmus in Ethical Corporation. 10 years on, he looks back to an early example of “stakeholder engagement” when Mitsubishi executives sat down with the environmentalist Rainforest Action Network, who were threatening a boycott. In NGO engagement and partnerships – Ten lessons for corporations Asmus talks to the players and draws out a set of lessons for corporations with the benefit of a decade's perspective.
Exxon Mobil reports that its workplace malaria programme in Chad and Cameroon, which included employees, contractors, and the community, saved it US$ 8.9 million (for a US$ 3 million investment) in productivity gains. This figure does not include healthcare cost savings.
My Africa-based colleague Nigel Twose shared an illuminating story with me. His words follow:
Last Wednesday, I was sitting in the lobby of my hotel in Monrovia, waiting for my flight to Dakar and back to Jo'burg. Across from me were three men of Lebanese origin: the manager of the hotel, a 20-something, and an older man who had just left Lebanon to escape the war. The three of them were huddled over a laptop. One suddenly asked me: "Do you think Kentucky Fried Chicken would work in Monrovia?"