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Recycling buildings in the circular economy – PlaceTech

Drees & Sommer's booth at Expo Real was inspired by the cradle-to-cradle concept

16 Oct 2019, 12:04 | Nicola Byrne

As I explored Expo Real and the miles of stands, one in particular stood out. European consulting, planning and project management enterprise Drees & Sommer had designed its booth using the cradle-to-cradle concept.

The concept, co-developed by German chemist Michael Braungart and architect William McDonough, describes the principle of two continuous cycles, both referring to the circular economy, an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and encouraging the continual use of resources.

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For the biological cycle, materials and building components are designed to feedback into and regenerate living systems. An example of this is green roofs catching rain water which is then used in a building for flushing toilets and irrigating, thereby the site becomes part of the local water cycle.

Technical cycles recover and restore products, components and materials through strategies such as reuse, repair, remanufacture or recycling. An example of this would be reusing flooring or bricks from another site.

Drees & Sommer had labels throughout its stand highlighting the sustainable materials it had used from its steel scaffolds to its chairs made from recyclable and non-hazardous materials.

One of Drees & Sommers labels attached to its stands steel scaffolding, an example of how materials can be reused

Circular economy isnt a new idea and it isnt just about recycling buildings. As construction margins get smaller, demand for sustainable materials and production is at all-time high, and in the words of Anna Surgenor, senior sustainability advisor at UK Green Building Council and the leader of its circular economy programme, its a surprise that not much is being done in the UK.

The Netherlands has set itself a target of having a 50% circular economy by 2030 and to be fully circular by 2050. This is reflected when you Google examples of circular economy, the majority of projects are Dutch, including a recent development by trendsetting developer Edge Technologies.

Edge Technologies delivered an office building for Triodos Bank in the Netherlands engineered to be sustainable inside and out

The firm produced a building which can be rebuilt at a different location without creating any waste flows, and used a BIM-based Material Passport, which provides a record of all the materials used within the building.

There are only a few examples of companies in the UK attempting to incorporate the concept of circular into developments. This is something the UK Green Building Council is trying to change.

UKGBC launched its circular economy programme in spring 2018. In the first year the council worked with members and stakeholders to produce a comprehensive practical guide for those wanting toincludecircular principles in their project briefs.

The council also created a web-based actor and resource mapof initiatives within the built environment around circular economy, to allow organisations to use existing knowledge and methodologies without repeating the work of others

UK Green Building Council created an interactive map environment around who is doing what in circular economy

Companies in the UK taking steps toward a circular economy

One of the UKs largest housing associations, is attempting to implement the circular economy strategy into its Merton Regeneration project, a 1bn investment to provide 2,800 new home in Wimbledon, along with 97,000 sq ft of retail, leisure, office, work and community space.

The project will see over 1,000 homes demolished and materials reused. Based on an initial assessment of the regeneration project, the scale of benefits that may be realised through comprehensive implementation of Clarions circular economy strategy are significant.

For the demolition and construction phase alone benefits could include:

Clarion Housings Merton regeneration scheme in London will look to apply a circular economy strategy to the creation of 2,800 homes

Industrial developer Segro relocated a warehouse building to a site one mile away. The firm dismantled 34,000 sq ft of office space and warehouse on Leigh Road in Slough and re-erected it in Cambridge Avenue.

The benefits Segro found included:

The London Waste & Recycling Board is a partnership between the Mayor of London and the London boroughs to improve waste and resource management with a focus on circular economy. The board decided to practice what it preached when it fitted-out its office in November 2018.

Completed in four weeks, the brief was to retain, refurbish and recycle, with a consideration of open source design or leasing where appropriate. This meant understanding what would happen to items at the end of their life.

The board reused existing meeting rooms and doors, kitchen cabinets in a new layout, existing carpet, air conditioning and lighting, and blinds. Refurbished furniture was procured, as well as reclaimed timber from another site and refurbished electronics.

London Waste & Recycling Board circular fit-out completed in four weeks

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Recycling buildings in the circular economy - PlaceTech

The digital revolution could unlock a green transformation of the global economy – The Conversation UK

Life has changed almost beyond recognition in the last few decades. Artificial intelligence (AI) has substituted entire job fields intelligent software can now review legal documents, a job which was previously only carried out by lawyers. Machine learning means technical systems can pull together entire libraries of information in a single handheld device. Virtual spaces now exist where people from all over the world can share, connect and chat instantly.

In 2019, its clear that digital innovations will continue to change society and the economy, but its uncertain whether these new technologies will benefit the global transformation to sustainability. Will digital technologies allow everyone to live in a world where their development isnt dependent on exhausting finite resources and increasing emissions?

There is certainly reason to be optimistic. Digital technologies can make energy and resource use more efficient. By analysing the optimal amount of water each crop needs and by using a smart irrigation system accordingly, farming can become infinitely more efficient. Digital systems can assess the optimal use of vehicles too. Instead of one person owning one car which is only used for an hour each day and then sits parked for the rest of the day, several people can share one electric car, reducing the number of vehicles needed overall.

For the first time, digital technologies can comprehensively trace, document, and analyse each resource and product as it flows across global supply chains. This could create circular economies, in which resources such as water and rare Earth metals arrive where theyre needed and waste such as plastic rubbish doesnt escape to pollute the environment.

Digital monitoring can help scientists to better understand how ecosystems around the world such as forests, reefs and glaciers are changing in real time. This can help conservationists understand how to protect and restore the environment, while ensuring that governments and private companies are held accountable for their public commitments to preserve natural habitats. The Global Forest Watch already does this its an open-source web system that uses satellite data to monitor forests and their destruction.

But so far, this potential hasnt been harnessed to make the global economy greener. Instead, theres been an explosion in high energy computing centres, which are needed to sustain the expanding internet, its social media platforms and big data analysis. By 2022, global data flows will have more than tripled since 2017. As long as fossil fuels dominate the global energy mix, expanding these computing centres will accelerate climate change.

Solutions to global problems like climate change and the instability of financial markets need the cooperation of all countries. But a knowledge divide between the global north which could secure access to sophisticated digital infrastructure with its wealth and the global south would hold worldwide solutions back.

The digital revolution is transforming societies just as the printing press and the steam engine triggered new eras of human civilisation. But without using these digital disruptions to make the global economy more sustainable, the powerful tools of the digital revolution will just multiply existing problems.

AI systems can substitute a major part of a well qualified work force, but without policies in place to support workers to retrain or enjoy the benefits of working less, unemployment and poverty could skyrocket. Meanwhile, authoritarian regimes already use digital monitoring to control their citizens and influence their behaviour.

World leaders need to ensure public administrations are up to speed to effectively and ethically govern these digital disruptions. Most governments around the world currently lack expertise on AI, machine learning, and virtual reality many bureaucracies are still paper-based. Governments are struggling to adapt to the new realities, which pose important questions about data privacy laws and the need and desire to increasingly benefit from digital systems.

Read more: Tech companies collect our data every day, but even the biggest datasets can't solve social issues

Governments need to ramp up investments in digital infrastructure, channelling it towards making everything about the modern world sustainable. They need to ensure that everyone can profit from the new opportunities of the digital age and that no one is left behind. This includes investing in broadband networks and expanding education for the next generation of digital engineers.

Combining AI, big data analysis, genome research and developments in cognitive sciences opens the door to a completely new world. In many ways, the pace of the digital revolution can redefine what it means to be human, enhancing our physical, psychological, and cognitive capabilities.

The digital era is the new reality whether people like it or not. The world stands at a crossroads its in all humankinds interest to take the pathway towards sustainability. Digital technology can take us there better and faster than ever before if we steer it in the right direction.

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The digital revolution could unlock a green transformation of the global economy - The Conversation UK

Technology Prepares Us For Massive Gains In The On-Demand Economy – Forbes

During the Gilded Age and the second industrial revolution, the world saw rapid adoption of life-altering technologies electricity, rail transport, the automobile, telegraph communications and then the telephone. Thanks to these innovations, companies were able to create and sell products they could not before to people they had not previously been able to reach, in ways they never could have envisioned.

That young United States saw unprecedented growth, with total national wealth increasing from $16 billion in 1860 to $88 billion by 1900.

Todays evolution looks set to be just as transformative. Disruptive technologies like augmented reality, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) are already having an impact. On offshore oil rigs, for instance, we see our customers using a type of reverse augmented reality that allows humans to view the status of equipment remotely through the eyes of a mobile inspection robot. This reduces the time that people spend on platforms in the open ocean away from their families.

Over the coming years, I believe we will see a nexus of forces that enable companies to do business in ways that we probably have a hard time comprehending today.

Business and technology

Historically, we used technology to make business processes more efficient in predictable ways (reduced manhours, inventory or order turn time, etc.). Now, technology itself is the enabler for new business processes and new business models.

A retail chain without an effective web presence will face gradual decline, while an intuitive and sticky web storefront with superior cross-selling opportunities and engaging content is a strategic tool for exponential growth. A food processing machinery company with the technology to sell not just a capital asset but the output in terms of units sold through outcomes-based contracts will be well-placed to disrupt its market and capitalize on new monetization models.

With technology as the business model enabler, efficiency gains will be determined by market forces and upside rather than savings in time, inventory or dollars.

People and experiences

Technology has changed our expectations. In the business-to-business setting, we need to catch up. Tools we use in our private lives are often more powerful and intuitive than the ones we use at work. In business-to-business transactions, the customer experience also lags. The results might be an inability to recruit millennials and to compete with customer experience.

As consumers, our expectations are changing, and we increasingly value access and outcomes over ownership, Vala Afshar writes in a recent ZDNet article. We want the freedom to access services and use them anytime, anywhere. We want the latest technology or product model available at our fingertips at all times. We demand choice in how we pay, flexibility to pause and resume services, and the ability to tailor them to meet our specific needs. And thanks to the subscription economy, all of this is now easily possible.

We need to bring this line of thinking into our business software as well. Were all accustomed to logging onto a website and doing what we need to with engaging and relevant content; it's easy, it offers intuitive navigation and there's instant confirmation. Business software should be the same.

Automation and efficiency

While technology is a key factor in how humans experience business, I believe humans will become less of a factor in business operations. Ever since enterprise resource planning (ERP) was invented, it's been about efficiency. Business process automation means that some of these human tasks will be eliminated. As a result, the scope of business efficiency will no longer be constrained by human capacities, costs can drop dramatically and productivity per employee can rise.

According to Gartner, there will be 20.4 billion connected devices by 2020. North American organizations are already well on their way to reaching that number by implementing disruptive technologies such as AI. In fact, 20% or more have already implemented robotic process automation, machine learning and conversational interfaces.

Once data enters the system through IoT, AI algorithms can optimize the tasks and processes based on unfolding events. Communication from AI is already becoming indistinguishable from a human in some settings. We are moving toward a world where out-of-the-box software will deliver an integrated IoT-AI process flow, resulting in autonomous enterprises.

An outcomes-based future?

Businesses used to be structured around sales transactions. Today, intelligent businesses can easily target revenue or margin over a customer life cycle. We see software today designed to manage subscription-based product models, where humans can specify the service level and, based on predictive analytics, compute the total cost to support a product. Uber's technology can do what no human taxi dispatcher ever could. Industrial companies must engage with similar disruptive technologies that might compute the actual cost of operating each of their products, for each customer, and then price subscriptions accordingly. We will likely see new types of contract vehicles, new business models and innovative product and service offerings.

While servitization of product businesses is happening, it wont happen all at once. Caterpillar, for example, with its Cat Connect Services is using servitization to drive revenue and customer intimacy. The company has even opened its connected equipment to dealers who can create value-added offerings like remote expert solutions. And NCR aggressively sells equipment as a service to its installed base.

For every Cat or NCR, there are other giants too hidebound to change. A growing company with a strong, digital-first business model can easily outflank them.

Seize the opportunity

Vast rewards await executive teams bold enough to take advantage. When the transcontinental railroad was built in the Gilded Age, financing construction was a challenge because to most Americans, the West was as remote as the moon, its terrain as alien and forbidding. Situations like this are challenging for risk-averse institutions unaccustomed to planning around ambiguity and non-tangibles.

The other side of this digital divide is hard to see, but we predict the result will be a net positive for numerous companies across several industries.

Originally posted here:

Technology Prepares Us For Massive Gains In The On-Demand Economy - Forbes

Pakistans economy beyond the IMF – Business Recorder

Pakistan's economy is stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, historically poor domestic revenue generation by successive governments, excessive untargeted subsidies, poor governance and political imperatives in public sector units have led to unsustainable domestic fiscal deficit and its financing problems. On the other hand, misguided exchange rate policies, rampant corruption by importers and their collaborators in customs department, and lack of coherent strategic industrial policy have reduced the country into an industrial wasteland where even rudimentary everyday use items are largely imported. As a result, the current account deficit went out of whack which, as usual, led the new government to seek assistance from abroad to shore up foreign exchange reserves, including from the IMF.

The IMF, in turn, diagnosed the problem in the classic traditional manner and suggested the usual set remedies for demand suppression via hiking interest rates, massive depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, regulated price hikes to contain sectoral deficits, while exhorting the government to raise tax revenue. All this of course give a feeling of dj vu to any observer of the Pakistan economy. While there is always talk of structural reforms and conditionalities related to privatisations it does not address the heart of the matter, the root cause of economic deficiency. In the meantime, bulk of the population middle and lower income groups is bearing the brunt of the economic adjustment', in terms of lack of employment opportunities, high inflation and loss of purchasing power, and savers whose dollar value of savings fell by over 40% due to devaluation of the currency and continually rising regulated rates/prices. Business investment and expansion is almost at a standstill due both to higher tax scrutiny (which is good) and unbridled accountability by various law-enforcement divisions, such as NAB (which is bad).While the Government's recent policy decisions have led to some macro indicators showing improvement such as tax collection and current account deficit, the core issue remains largely un-tackled.

It is unfortunate that the multilateral finance institutions appear to be sticking to the old rule book of policies which have again and again been tried and found wanting in terms of desired outcomes of getting the economy back to a sustainable, balanced growth over the medium to longer term. One only has to take a look at the history of economic policymaking the world over to realise that pure market-driven policies seldom lead to successful economic outcomes for majority of the population. Even in the free market citadel of the United States, early economic development needed the helping hand of the government through Eisenhour's market intervention and Roosevelt's New Deal policies. After the excesses experienced by the Friedmanite free-for-all" market mantra in Thatcher and Reagan-led era, egged on by the central bankers of the Greenspan ilk, the pendulum is swinging back towards Keynesian view of greater role of the government in directing economic development in one way or another.

In the developing economies' context, every single success story of economic development particularly in East Asia is closely linked to an overarching medium to long-term strategic economic road map, where domestic industrialisation has been a key plank of the overall economic policy, regardless of the government in power. The focus here is not the political shape of government but rather the model of a centrally directed strategic macroeconomic plan which has sustained execution. Even in Pakistan, highest rates of sustained economic growth were achieved in the 1950s and the early 1960s under five-year plans with targeted sectors and priorities which were centrally directed.

Fast forward today. Economic nationalism, led by the US in particular, is gradually becoming the norm despite collective warnings by many opinion leaders who highlight the benefits of global free trade. In fact, in Western academia and in their policy think-tanks, the current thinking among the most ardent free-trade proponents is that the benefits of globalisation have been unevenly distributed. Western multinational corporations (and their executives and investors) and the emerging market countries that focused on outsourcing and exports, have benefited the most (with large proportion of their populations moving from poor to middle-income category) while the traditional western middle-class, primarily in the manufacturing sector as well as several service sectors, has found itself left behind in terms of income growth and wealth distribution. To be fair, this is only a part of the story. A significant chunk of industrial and white-collar unemployment in the Western world has to do with rapid technology-driven automation of work. Nevertheless, the anti-globalization narrative is used successfully by Western nationalist leaders to build strong domestic political platforms.

It is in this changing world that the new government in Pakistan finds itself. It is still coping with the crisis caused by aforementioned factors and could not focus the central issues properly such as maximum self-reliance, large-scale job creation, fully leveraging the infrastructure enhancement opportunity presented by CPEC, import-substitution wherever possible, induction of technology-driven productivity enhancement both in the private and public sectors and importantly, redesigning of the financial system landscape to foster medium-sized enterprises that can generate significant private sector employment while supporting larger scale import-substitution industrial enterprises. Further, the central bank's (SBP's) focus should go beyond macro-prudential regulatory aspects to micro-prudential level with specific sector financing emphasis.

This does not mean that the other structural reforms should not be undertaken. They can and should be fast-tracked, especially those related to loss-making state-owned enterprises which eat up massive financial resources of the government; the streamlining of the FBR and Customs department; bringing the civil-service quality back up to par; accountability of ministries, to mention a few. The present government has embarked on several of these initiatives and it should continue to push forward on these reforms.

At the same time, it is absolutely critical and a clearly thought out road map for longer term sustainable economic growth, driven by maximum practicable self-sufficiency, especially in the industrial and technology space, is developed and its implementation supervised from the federal government level. The long-term horizon of implementing such a road map also means that the population has to be equipped with the required skills and managerial capabilities to handle an industrial/technological economy. And that means appropriate large-scale education of our young generation education that is geared towards acquiring the knowledge and skills needed for such an economy.

The following chart provides a simplified sample of broad self-sufficiency canvass that can be used to start discussions regarding re-industrialisation of the economy based on Pakistan's existing resource base. One area deliberately left out in this discussion is information technology which is a whole subject to be tackled on its on an exclusive basis.

(The writer is former managing director of Pakistan Stock Exchange)

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Pakistans economy beyond the IMF - Business Recorder

RGE Commits US$200 Million to Next-Generation Textile Fiber Innovation and Technology – What They Think

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Press release from the issuing company

Singapore Leading resource-based manufacturing group Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) has announced plans to invest US$200 million over the next 10 years into cellulosic textile fibre research and development.

The investment, revealed ahead of the Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference in Vancouver, will support solutions in alternative cellulose or plant-based feedstock and closed-loop manufacturing. The target allocation for the investment is 70:20:10 in three areas, respectively: scaling up proven clean technology in fibre manufacturing, bringing pilot scale production to commercial scale, and R&D in emerging frontier solutions.

Bey Soo Khiang, Vice Chairman of RGE, said: This is a strategic business growth area for RGE. Our integrated portfolio of companies across pulp, fibre and yarn production puts us in a unique upstream position in the textile value chain to realise commercial scale and affordable solutions that support downstream manufacturers and brands. We aspire not just to be the largest viscose producer but also to be a leader in sustainable textile fibre production through innovation.

Through its business groups Sateri in China and Asia Pacific Rayon (APR) in Indonesia, Singapore-based RGE is the worlds largest viscose producer with a total annual production capacity at 1.4 million tonnes. Sateri and APR source wood-based dissolving pulp from sustainably managed renewable plantations in Indonesia and Brazil through RGE-managed companies, APRIL and Bracell.

Allen Zhang, President of Sateri, said: Sateri is proud to be part of this long-term commitment that RGE has made. We look forward to supporting and scaling up solutions that can help Sateri produce even more sustainably and deliver high quality and affordable products to our customers. Ben Poon, Deputy Head of APR, added, This commitment responds to two pressing environmental challenges facing the textile industry: increase in demand for both synthetic and natural fibres for textile production and increase in textile waste. Recycled textile waste as a feedstock tackles both issues simultaneously.

Through partnerships with innovators and in-house research and development, several initiatives are already underway. In August 2019, RGE invested in Finnish start-up Infinited Fiber Company (IFC) toscale up its technology. A 500-ton pre-commercial plant in Finland and customer training centre will be ready by early 2020. Infinited Fiber technology fits perfectly in RGEs shift for using alternative feedstocks. Our ability to use a diverse range of feedstock, especially mixed textile fibres, is a technological breakthrough, and as RGEs strategic partner we look forward to support their change, said Petri Alava, CEO of IFC.

In May this year, an MoU was signed with re:newcell for technical cooperation and trials on production of viscose using recycled cotton, with the aim of industrial scale production by 2025. We are very happy about adding Sateri, a world-leading fibre producer, to our group of validation partners for scaling up circular raw materials for fashion. Cooperation between many actors in the value chain is crucial to achieve significant positive impact in this industry, said Patrik Lundstrm, CEO at re:newcell.

RGE has also commenced partnership discussions with Fashion for Good, whose Innovation Platform is, at the core of its efforts, focused on sparking and scaling technologies and business models that have the greatest potential to transform the fashion industry. As the world's largest viscose producer, RGE is uniquely positioned to implement and scale our innovator's solutions across its global portfolio. There is a huge opportunity to innovate in the area of next-generation fibre solutions. The potential for change is enormous, said Katrin Ley, Managing Director, Fashion for Good.

In addition, RGEs in-house R&D teams conduct research on alternative cellulosic feedstock, such as agricultural waste and recycled cotton, as well as closed-loop manufacturing for viscose production, in collaboration with leading universities and global R&D centres.

Sally Uren, Chief Executive of Forum for the Future, said: Next-generation solutions have real potential to make a significant contribution to the realisation of a circular economy for fashion and the broader textile sector. We hear far and wide that people want systems change, not climate change. Allocating investment to accelerate the scaling of solutions into the mainstream is an important lever to pull for systems change. We need more such commitments of investment to help todays niche sustainability innovators become the number one partners of choice.

http://www.rgei.com

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RGE Commits US$200 Million to Next-Generation Textile Fiber Innovation and Technology - What They Think

Conservation policies threaten indigenous reindeer herders in Mongolia – The Conversation US

Deep in the sub-Arctic boreal forest of far northern Mongolia lives an indigenous tribe who are among the worlds smallest ethnic minorities and last reindeer herding nomads. The Tsaatan, as theyre known, have been buffeted over the last century by political and economic shocks, growing resource and environmental pressures, and significant impacts of climate change. But today theyre also facing another danger which they feel may be just as big a threat as any of these to their survival: the conservation policies of the Mongolian government.

This June, the two of us environmental historians who work on climate change and conservation spent five days traveling by air, four-wheel-drive, and finally horseback to reach the Tsaatan camps near Siberia, where the nomads live in teepee-like ortzes, migrating with their reindeer across the boreal forest. Our goal was to witness the summer migration to high elevation pastures, while learning how the Tsaatans herding livelihoods are changing.

Climate change is posing perhaps the most widely known threats to Mongolias nomadic cultures. In the past seven decades, average temperatures in the country have risen 2.24 degrees C more than twice the global average. This warming has intensified both summer droughts and extreme winter conditions, contributing to waves of nomadic herders abandoning their herds and moving to the capital city of Ulaanbataar. In recent decades the city has been overwhelmed by more than 600,000 migrants, leading to a sharp increase in the burning of dirty coal and contributing to a spiral of intensifying climate displacement.

Meanwhile, a mining boom has stimulated Mongolias economy and offered good jobs to some of the former nomads, but has also worsened carbon pollution, urban migration and pressure on ecosystems.

With all of these stresses, what we found from the Tsaatan surprised us. While they are concerned about climate change and mining, they told us they believe misguided conservation policies have become a more serious threat to their nomadic culture.

The Tsaatan live far from roads, sharing the boreal forest with endangered Siberian ibex, argali sheep, red deer and musk deer. Miners began exploiting the region for gold, jade and uranium in the 1990s, soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This contributed to an increase in wildlife poaching and degradation of the high alpine meadows, mountains and streams that the Tsaatan rely on and see as sacred.

In response to a request from the Tsaatan, in 2011 the Mongolian government set up a Special Protected Area and canceled all 44 mining licenses in the region. But the government also went further: concerned by poaching and habitat loss, it eliminated hunting and fishing as well, and excluded reindeer from most of the area.

Those changes had a huge impact on the Tsaatan.

Reindeer are a domesticated subspecies of caribou (Rangifer tarandus), and the Tsaatan are the southernmost reindeer-herding people in the world. Today, about 250 Tsaatan herd about 2,000 reindeer. But rather than eating their reindeer, as other reindeer herders do, the Tsaatan milk them, ride them and use them as pack animals.

For millennia, Tsaatan nomads moved with their family herds up to 10 times a year, frequently crossing what became the border between Mongolia and Russia. During our visit to the region, Gombo, a Tsaatan elder, told us that when Stalin gained power in what was then the Soviet Union, many Tsaatan on the Soviet side of the border fled to Mongolia, fearing they would be forcibly settled and assimilated. But this also cut them off from much of their traditional land.

As Gombo told us, until 1960 the Tsaatan in Mongolia were people without a state, unrecognized by the government as legal residents. When they eventually were granted citizenship, some began to settle, while others continued to migrate with their reindeer, earning a salary from reindeer collectives. Some of the nomads supplemented their income by working for the Mongolian government, hunting sable whose pelts would be exported to the Soviet Union.

The demise of the Soviet Union in 1990 and the transition from communism in Mongolia to a market-based economy led to even greater disruption across the country. In the boreal forest, the struggle to survive led to an increase in poaching, and as the economy began to recover in the 2000s, the government struggled to craft conservation policies that could protect both natural and human communities.

As an example, government surveys suggest that the move to forbid hunting in the Special Protected Area has helped ibex. But according to the Tsaatan we spoke with, it has also devastated their culture. As a herder named Ganbat told us, Fathers cant take their sons hunting anymore, so children dont learn about hunting, or about the habits of animals anymore. We dont know how to teach our sons if we cant take them hunting.

Ironically, that means place-based knowledge that is essential to conservation is also vanishing.

Zaya, another herder, told us that human health is suffering as well, as key nutrients from wild meat such as moose and deer are lost. To fill the gap, some Tsaatan began eating their reindeer, a practice that was anathema to most.

Restrictions on access to pastures have had even greater impacts. Instead of frequent seasonal migrations, the nomads now are allowed only four, leading to overgrazing and poorer reindeer health. Bambag, a reindeer herder who also acted as our guide, told us the administration now orders us to move to certain places. We dont get to decide whats best for our reindeer. So thats difficult for us.

Community members also bitterly complained about the ways that local rangers enforced the Special Protected Area regulations tracking their movements with trail cameras, fining them, forcing them to travel for days to the village to seek permission to move their herds, and imprisoning anyone caught hunting. There is nowhere that they can escape from the eyes of the State, Zaya told us.

The Tsaatan made clear that they understand the need for some protected area regulations. But as a woman named Erdenechimeg told us, they want to be partners in designing conservation policies.

One of the hard lessons of conservation history across the world is that national parks and protected areas were often created at the expense of indigenous peoples. Yosemite National Park, for example, was created by forcing out indigenous tribes, casting them as enemies of wildlife. Today we see the same process happening in Mongolia funded in part by the Yosemite Parks Association, which has raised money to pay rangers salaries.

Weve come to believe that sustaining nomadic reindeer herders in Mongolia while also protecting endangered wildlife requires the government re-think conservation policies that exclude human communities and livelihoods from protected areas. Reindeer across the north have been central to human cultures for millennia. Today, they also help all of us slow climate change, because their grazing reduces heat-absorbing dark ground cover in the winters.

The Mongolian government is working hard to protect endangered wildlife, but the Tsaatan nomads insist their reindeer culture is equally endangered and important. If consulted as equals, they and their reindeer can help sustain the boreal forest and the global climate.

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Originally posted here:

Conservation policies threaten indigenous reindeer herders in Mongolia - The Conversation US

Plastics the insider perspective – Packaging Europe

At the start ofK 2019, Packaging Europe asks some major players in the plastics packaging industry a few pertinent questions about the big issues the industry faces today and finds out about their sustainability drive and innovations.

We speak to Haim Zaafrani, vice president of rigid packaging sales at Husky, Bertram Stern, packaging and circular economy manager at Arburg,Helmut Huber, COO Brckner Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG and Frank Schuster, vice president at Engel Packaging.

What are the key market challenges for the plastics industry today and how is it coping with them (e.g. political-macroeconomic volatility; fluctuating oil prices; and the war on plastics)?

Frank Schuster: The long period of economic growth is now experiencing a slowdown, as has been predicted for many years. Overall, ENGEL is clearly feeling the effects of the slowdown and we currently see no signs of a short-term economic recovery. The primarily political causes make forecasting difficult. The automotive industry is hardest hit. While we are currently well on track in the packaging sector, projects here are also being postponed due to uncertainty. Among the driving forces behind growth and innovation which are facing the slowdown are digitalisation, increasing quality awareness worldwide and the establishment of a circular economy for the plastics industry. The extent to which these issues can counteract the decline is equally difficult to assess today. We are technologically very well equipped to support our customers in solving the new challenges. On the subject of circular economy alone, we are presenting five exhibits at the K with innovative technologies which clearly show that digitalisation is an important enabler for closing material cycles at very different levels. ENGEL has been dealing with this topic for a long time and was one of the first plastics machinery manufacturers to sign the New Plastics Economy global commitment of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. It networks the players, and this is precisely the prerequisite for planning the entire product life cycle through to recycling as early as the product development stage. In future, we will cooperate even more closely with the other companies along the value chain.

Haim Zaafrani: The sustainability of plastics packaging has been challenged, and we cant ignore that. The impact of plastics packaging on the environmentand oceans has been emotionalised. This has triggered ambitious sustainability commitments from most of the large players, and predictably, politicians have also responded strongly with legislation.

In the past, not enough focus was put on what happens to a package after its contents have been consumed. Our industry should help build bridges from consumer package back to raw material, to waste free, convenient, food safe packaging solutions. The industry has gone through major transformation and is now focusing on eliminating plastic pollution. The first step is putting the material back by motivating society to get the packaging back into a consolidated recycling stream. This means creating incentives for consumers to get the packaging back in a convenient, simple process. The second is utilising the collected material by incorporating more post consumer recycled resin into packages. This will generate an end market demand to create the right economy for recycling and a self-sustaining circular economy.

Bertram Stern: One thing is clear to us: All of us in the plastics sector especially in the packaging sector are confronted with the huge and perhaps single most important complex of topics faced by our industry and by society in general: circular economy and resource efficiency. One of the challenges is that plastic is often seen only in terms of being a waste product. Instead, plastic must be used sensibly and responsibly, and in the best-case scenario, it belongs in a closed recycling loop. However, a circular economy can only function properly if all elements within the value-added chain work properly.

Helmut Huber: Trade conflicts, the discussion about plastic waste, as well as the difficult general global political situation makes it necessary to recognise future topics, trends and application possibilities very early. Brckner Maschinenbau established a well-functioning scouting system and additionally set up a New Business Development department, ensuring that opportunities are assessed and appropriate line concepts and solutions are offered, thereby opening new markets.

What effect do you expect the EU single-use plastics directive and recycling targets to have on the industry?

Frank Schuster:So far, the laws have had little influence on ENGEL's business. Nevertheless, we are concerned about this development, because the new laws do not always provide more sustainability. A move away from polymer materials often results in a poorer CO2 balance, especially for packaging. Here we would like to see a more differentiated view from politicians and no further uncertainties on the part of consumers. Rather, it is necessary to provide people with better information and to increase recycling capacities. There will also be new technological challenges. For example, by 2021 caps must remain attached to the bottle, which requires new product designs. We are facing a paradigm shift. In future, costs will no longer necessarily be the most important driver.

Haim Zaafrani: I believe the EU plastics directive will have an impact, starting with a potential consolidation of the range of plastics used for packaging, with a distinction between easy to recycle plastics like PET and plastics that are not so easily recyclable today. We foresee potentially a policy focusing on reduction or bans. We would anticipate a shift in packaging items to more recyclable materials.

The recycling and collection targets within the directive are driving innovation and investment to get more recyclate in the system, and a bigger supply of recycled PET is needed to feed demand. We already see a huge lack of supply forthis. The requirement for tethered closures is also creating panic among customers. At Husky, we focus on developing the best solutions for better closures and using recycled materials in packages.

Helmut Huber: Plastic is an extremely beneficial material, but we all have to take care how to handle it in the sense of reuse reduce recycle. We appreciate clearly defined targets, as long as they consider all involved components. For example, besides the plastic material itself the colour systems used play an important role for recycling. In addition, environmental aspects, e.g. the CO2 footprint, energy consumption in production and hygiene should not be forced into the background. In this context political guidance could support our industrys sustainability goals if this guidance is long-sighted and goal-oriented.

How do you view the overall technological progress towards a circular economy in plastic packaging? Could you talk about particular areas of innovation (e.g. design for recycling; monopolymer solutions; new sorting technologies; feedstock recycling) that you believe offer especially significant hope of progress?

Frank Schuster: ENGEL has defined four areas in which we, as a machine building company and system solutions provider, can already provide concrete support to plastics processors today for more sustainable production and closed material cycles. We use intelligent assistant systems to help us increase process consistency and thus create the conditions for using recycled materials in a broader spectrum, and for higher-value applications. We use innovative processing technologies to help further increase the proportion of recycled material in sandwich components as well as design for recycling, which means that we work closely with processors during product development to reduce material usage and enable the subsequent recycling of products. Furthermore, we will strengthen our consulting services in the area of upstream processes in order to optimise the processing of recycled materials for injection moulding.

Haim Zaafrani: For PET, the future already exists. For example, our customer Ice River Springs Water in Ontario,Canada, has been using recycled PET in their water bottles for years. There is a lot of innovation. This is why we believe innovation and sustainability go hand in hand and recently merged our sustainability department with our innovation department. Collaboration is another important area. It is important for the entire value chain to work together. We are also working on design for circularity, lightweighting and incorporating PCR. This new development at Husky will enable our customers to bring more than 60,000 tons of PET annually into the circular economy within the next 24 months. The system works by purifying recycled materials and eliminating intermediate steps.

Bertram Stern: In June 2019, the Arburg Packaging Summit focused on the currently discussed topic of plastics. The event which was attended by around 120 guests from all over the world was conceived to bring together leading experts from industry, research and professional associations, providing a platform for sharing knowledge on trends, resource efficiency and the circular economy in the packaging sector. The event demonstrated the challenges but also the new opportunities for the packaging industry. Manufacturers of injection moulding machines, moulds and materials, as well as recycling experts, must all work together along the entire value chain. At this event, it was clear for all to see that the spirit and will to do so exists. Only by working together will it be possible to develop new solutions and ensure that valuable used plastics can be recycled and efficiently re-purposed in the manufacture of new products.

Helmut Huber: The focus of Brckner Maschinenbau as film stretching technology supplier is on the production of single-origin structures with the highest recyclability: All raw materials originate from a common polymer group and can therefore be recycled to high-quality re-granulate. These mono-material structures from PP, PE or PET meet the highest requirements for thermic and dynamic stability and display excellent barrier properties. Thanks to their minimal thickness, they are also extremely resource-efficient.

How do you make sure that your pack/packaging material is as recyclable/environmentally friendly as possible?

Haim Zaafrani, Husky: At Husky, we are heavily involved with PET and we see ourselves as a sustainability partner. We offer a range of solutions to enable the circular economy.

We are dedicated to making positive impact by aligning the goals of sustainability with the many positive attributes of plastic packaging. Husky focuses on designing not just the best package butone that can be easily recycled with our downstream partners. Cooperation is key. Our modular solutions are built on global platforms to incorporate PCR and evaluating new and alternative materials. We also focus on energy efficient equipment with the goal to be carbon neutral by 2025. On top of that we are also getting ready to generate alternative materials and alternativepolymers. A lot of education and learning still must take place, but we have our innovative centre ready to deal with these alternative materials.

Bertram Stern: At Arburg we have been working for a long time on the range of topics associated with resource efficiency and circular economy because environmental protection and the gentle use of resources are deeply rooted in our corporate philosophy. Therefore we are engaging in this discussion, and not hiding from it: We have understood the problem, we have recognised its magnitude and we are contributing towards a solution with all our powers.

Our strategy in terms of resource efficiency and circular economy and all of these related aspects and activities can be grouped together in our arburgGREENworld programme, which is based on four pillars. The first three pillars refer to the quotations for our customers and go by the names of GREEN machine, GREEN production and GREEN services. The fourth pillar goes by the name of GREEN environment and incorporates our in-house processes associated with resource efficiency and circular economy.

Important topics for the three customer-specific areas are minimisation of the CO2 footprint of the machines, processing of recyclates and bio plastics, improvement in production efficiency, use of innovative processes as well as consultancy advice on all aspects of applications technology, resources and energy efficiency.

With two examples, Arburg shows practical future applications using recyclates at K 2019. The production of cups demonstrates that thin-walled moulded parts of consistently high quality can be produced when processing new PP material together with recycled PP. In the second application, a PCR material derived from household waste is used to produce a durable technical product.

Around 30 per cent recycled material is used in the production of PP cups. For this practical example of a closed circular economy, Arburg cooperates with Erema, which provides recycled PP. In a cycle time of around four seconds, eight cups are produced on a hybrid Allrounder 1020 H in Packaging version.

In the second circular economy application, a PCR material (post-consumer recyclate) derived from household waste is used to produce a technical product. The PCR available on the market is processed by an electrical two-component Allrounder 630 A in a Profoam foaming process, the second material is TPE. The injection-moulded part is a machine door handle whose two halves are mounted in the mould. This is followed by partial overmoulding with the soft component.

Helmut Huber: Our new BOPE line concept makes the production of mono-material films with superior mechanical and optical properties possible. These are excellent to sort in waste separation and are ideal to recycle. Additionally, we developed a new inline coater for the production of extremely thin functional layers. Due to the extreme thinness, the layers dont disrupt the sorting and recycling.

How does your company make the case for plastics by highlight its benefits, for example in the area of reducing food waste?

Helmut Huber: We have brought our own, Brckner Group wide campaign to life in 2017, called Yes, We Care. This project is an acknowledgement to our responsibilities in the matter of plastics and sustainability. It includes the knowledge transfer for a better understanding of the needs and benefits of plastic and its correct use. Our corresponding information material (booklets, video, traveling exhibition) are in great demand.

Frank Schuster: We cannot and will not have a world without plastics. It is only through the use of plastics that we will be able to solve some of the great challenges of our time. This includes sustainable mobility, but also world nutrition. Intelligent packaging solutions extend the shelf life of food and prevent food from spoiling before it reaches the consumer in many countries with long transport routes and poor infrastructure. We cannot dispense with these packaging materials, which are necessary for product protection, and plastics as packaging material here are the most efficient solution in most of the cases, both in the energy and material footprint as well as in production and transport. The prerequisite is to create collection systems and recycling possibilities for packaging. In cooperation with other companies in the plastics industry, we will therefore use our experience and know-how to ensure that people in all regions of the world will be able to handle plastics responsibly.

Haim Zaafrani: We believe that plastics, and in particular PET, is the best packaging material available today, with its properties being optimal from a cost, weight, carbon footprint, food safety and consumer experience point of view. It contains no BPA and is 100 per cent recyclable. It also helps to prevent food waste. In summary, plastics is needed by society, but without plastics waste. Until a few years ago, the focus was on energy, something that seems to have fallen by the wayside today. After all, PET is lighter weight than aluminium and glass. If plastic packaging didnt exist, and somebody invented a new packaging material which is safe, light weight, can hold up to 100 times its weight, helps combat food waste and is recyclable wouldnt people jump on that and think that it is great?

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Plastics the insider perspective - Packaging Europe

The top of the waterfall, 1980: Tracing the roots of Alaska’s fiscal predicament – Anchorage Daily News

Editors note: In the second of a four-part series, opinion writer Charles Wohlforth traces the history of Alaskas current fiscal predicament. How did our unique tax and dividend structure come to be? The story begins in 1980, as funds began flooding from taxes and royalties on North Slope oil. (Read the first installment of the series here.)

Russ Meekins in an undated photo (ADN archive)

A young man with a 1980 helmet of curly hair ran down the hall of the Alaska State Capitol in excitement, waving in his hand a $79 million check, the first installment of a lottery win worth more than $100 billion. Americas great northern experiment seemed decisively to have worked.

A senator who was in the Capitol that day recalled the moment. Like many old memories, it may have fuzzy edges, but the moment for Alaska remains crystalline.

Oil from the continents largest oil field flowed from state-owned ground just as its price hit a historic peak. Economists predicted Alaskas sparse population would control more wealth, per person, than the richest Arab country. The state legislature had to buy calculators with more zeros.

Russ Meekins, the House finance chairman, who supposedly waved that check, allotted discretionary money to legislators to spend as they wished in addition to their joint appropriations. Each senator got more than enough money to build an elementary school. They ran out of ways to spend it all.

Aides called home asking for ideas, which they typed straight into the budget. Anyone need something in the $150,000 range? one remembered asking around. Months later, senior vans and hockey rinks appeared that no one knew anything about.

A woman on a plane struck up a conversation with her seatmate about the need for an abused womens shelter in Anchorage. He, a senator, wondered, "Why only Anchorage? Six shelters were built across the state. Much more, too. The state launched plans to build huge bridges and dams, thousands of tract houses and even farms carved from the wilderness.

Meekins father, a pioneer lawman, had been in Alaskas first legislature, in 1960, when the brand-new state was desperately poor and faced a future based on an untested and dubious plan.

Visitors examine two radar towers, part of the Cold War-era Nike Site Summit on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. The facility was one of three Nike sites protecting the Anchorage area during the Cold War. (ADN archive)

Congress created the new state knowing Alaskas thin economy could never pay for government of a region larger than many nations. Up to three-quarters of economic activity had derived from Cold War military work. But Americans were convinced, based on 60 years of propaganda, that Alaska contained untold wealth just waiting to be released by proper public policy, like turning a tap.

A new state government, owning more than a quarter of Alaska land, would find the natural resources to run government and create a real society, something better than the scattered, home-built towns where they lived in territorial days, the largest of which had fewer than 50,000 inhabitants. That was the Alaska experiment, the experiment that seemed, improbably, to have spectacularly succeeded 20 years later, when the younger Meekins somehow got hold of that big check.

Meekins had been 9 years old when Alaska became a state and was 23 when he was elected to the Legislature in 1972, with a gang of pot-smoking kids who had taken over the Democratic Party, calling themselves the Ad Hoc movement. At that, he was older than most Alaskans and had been there much longer more than half the population, chasing the oil, had arrived in the previous five years.

Idealism powered the Ad Hockers, overturning the stolid old-timers of the statehood generation with unkempt styles and Watergate-era indignation, but they joined the same mission, working out the same experiment. Through the 70s including two years when Meekins left politics to finish up a few college credits they helped construct a government system for a new Alaska, including oil taxes and the Permanent Fund, and dreamed up projects to modernize the state.

Anchorage in the 1970s was still a gritty boom town. Major roads consisted of strips of asphalt without sidewalks, bordered by unpaved driveways for burger joints, strip clubs and drive-in liquor stores. On a windy summer day the air would turn brown with dust from the parking lots and road shoulders. Families still lived in military surplus Quonset huts and basements topped with tar paper. With home loans hard to come by, they would dig the basement and live in it while saving up to build the first floor.

In 1977, John McPhee wrote that the city looked as if it had been lifted by a cookie cutter from El Paso, Texas, or the outskirts of Trenton, New Jersey. A lot of journalists came north in those days. Something world historical was happening in Alaska, and a lot of it was funny, with the frontier oddballs suddenly expecting so much money. Reality TV still trades on those tropes.

Oil money changed how Anchorage looks, and it happened astonishingly fast. Roads were widened, landscaped and decorated with public art. Split level houses sprouted in swamps. Parking lots were paved and planted with aisles of trees just little sticks back in the 1980s, now tall and full. Money made us look more like California.

Penland Mobile Home Park, June 1979, looking west toward Merrill Field and downtown. The Northway Mall hadn't yet been built. (ADN archive)

In 1980, I attended Steller Secondary in an abandoned elementary school in Anchorage, with tables parents and students nailed together from old doors and two-by-fours. When the money hit, we asked to have the building updated but said we would like it basically unchanged. The state rebuilt it, but almost identically. Professional artists showed up to exactly re-create the murals kids had slapped up with house paint. It was disorienting: It seemed to be the same building, only newer.

State money often landed in disorienting ways. I grew up in Anchorage, but got lost one summer back from college in a section of the city that had been built while I was away.

Visitors might regard the changes as self-evident improvements. Travel writers no longer mock Anchorage. But the great debate of the 1970s concerned retaining the flavor of Alaska during torrential change.

Both conservationists and boomers believed they were fighting for the dream of the real Alaska the Alaska spirit, extolled in those days without irony in song and story. For some it meant indigenous self-reliance and for others the optimism and energy of development. For all, it represented a sense of common cause and membership in a place and culture that was valuable and unique.

In the end, that spirit dissipated. The economy stabilized through the 1990s and 2000s and the population became less transient, but the personality of the place flattened.

Anchorage and other larger towns became indistinguishable from American suburbs, not only in the way they looked, but also in their diffuse anonymity and weak connection to community. Old-timers remember how it was. The roads were bad, but when you slid into a snow bank, the next car would always stop to pull you out. Now we have better roads, but if you get stuck you probably have to call a tow truck.

Jay Hammond, near his Lake Clark home June 5, 1985, was a bush pilot and hunting guide who served two terms as Alaska's governor and helped create the Alaska Permanent Fund. (Erik Hill / ADN archive)

Jay Hammond stood for that older Alaska, which still exists in little fishing towns and isolated communities, although ever less. He was governor from 1974 to 1982, a Republican, but the only uncloseted environmentalist ever to win the office. He often said, To err on the side of conservation is easily corrected at a later date. Hammond loved coining aphorisms.

By conservation, he meant more than the environment. Hammond treasured a connected way of life in which Alaskans supported one another while living self-reliantly from local resources. That identity remained half myth, half aspiration in the inchoate pioneer culture of the urban boomtowns, but Hammond knew it well as a bush pilot serving rural, Alaska Native communities.

Hammond had opposed Alaska statehood, fearing the same development its boosters hoped for. In his style of complex, homespun political thought, he preferred a commonwealth, like Puerto Rico. He won the governorship unexpectedly, on his first run, with a call to buy back oil leases in the rich fishing waters of Kachemak Bay and with a television commercial showing his expertise at splitting firewood.

In 1976, Hammond signed the constitutional amendment that created the Alaska Permanent Fund, with no established objective other than to sop up expected oil money to prevent it from being wasted and, at the same time, to partially brake the pace of change.

His favorite idea was called Alaska Inc.," which Hammond first advanced as mayor of the Bristol Bay Borough, which he had helped found in the 1960s mostly to tax the worlds richest salmon fishing grounds. Frustrated by how much of the fisherys wealth went to processing companies and fishermen from outside the area, he proposed a fish tax that would be rebated to residents holding shares issued by the borough, as if the fishery were paying corporate dividends to those who truly owned the region.

Residents had voted it down. It was too complex. But as governor, Hammond resurrected the dividend concept, again based on a sense of ownership. As newcomers poured into Alaska, a new logic had developed among established residents, that Alaska was theirs and that they deserved a greater share of the oil wealth for arriving firstfor building the state, as they often credited themselves.

Hammond was a warm, kindly man, with a deep laugh and smiling eyes, and thoughtful in an unconventional way. He had concocted his political philosophy with friends, around kerosene light, on fishing boats and in homes far beyond the end of any road, and when he became governor, he continued the discussions by staffing an office of bright, young policy analysts who produced white papers and staged private debates about his inventions.

Alaska needed an inventor, because it was becoming something that had never existed before: a province within Americas federalist system, a representative democracy, that would, by itself, own staggering wealth. Nations had gained great resource wealth, but they were sovereign, with control of their borders. American states also contained great resource wealth, but not the state governments themselves.

During the 1800s, when the federal government privatized most American land, it gave the rights to subsurface discoveries along with it, so ranchers could become oil tycoons. Alaska homesteads instead included rights to the surface only. Teddy Roosevelt and his fellow progressives kept Alaskas underground riches safe and the Alaska experiment the act of Congress that made Alaska a state required that it never give up subsurface ownership. (To this day, individuals property in Alaska does not include the resources under it; theoretically, a suburban homeowner could be forced to allow an oil company to drill in his or her backyard.)

But this owner state, as it came to be known, still had to decide who would receive the benefit of the wealth it extracted, whether the collective or individuals, and how to prevent the sudden flow of unearned money from having a destructive impact. Hammond was preoccupied with the problem.

In 1980, under Juneaus claustrophobic winter sky, decisions had to be made, some kind of compromise between savers and spenders. Politics happened in Juneau in its own world, apart from everything. In those days, before a million cruise ship passengers a year, before chain stores or easy communications, the capital felt like a lost city. It decayed softly under moss and the wet branches of giant rainforest evergreens, with steep streets like corridors between false fronts and concrete facades, sidewalks protected from the endless drip by metal awnings.

Legislators could feel trapped. They didnt have the budget to fly home every weekend, as they do now. When they did, the airport could be closed for days, without the technology that now allows planes to land in more marginal weather. An Alaska Airlines jet slammed into a mountain near Juneau and killed everyone aboard in the early 1970s. If you were stuck, as politicians often were, below the clouds and between the walls of mountains, you craved a horizon. Strange things could happen.

Russ Meekins and his brethren divided up oil money in the House Finance Committee Room on the fifth floor and disco-danced in the gold rush-era bars on South Franklin Street at night, while Hammond, their elder, on the third floor, devised plans to keep them from repealing the state income tax.

Alaska was still small enough that Hammond could explain his plans in forums with community groups and in long, detailed newspaper columns. His reasons anticipated many of the issues of the coming decades. He was 15 years ahead of political science research that found that a lack of taxation degrades democracy, the strange truth that there is no representation without taxation.

Hammond predicted citizens would lose their sense of responsibility for government if they received its benefits only and made no contributions of their own, exactly as did occur. He also believed that taxes once repealed would be too difficult to reinstate, placing the state on an inevitable path to exhaust its one-time resource wealth for ongoing expenses.

He often said development should pay for itself, bringing new tax revenue along with new activity and people. Otherwise, he feared, a government with a finite trove of resources would function as a zero-sum game, with economic growth merely adding more players, more mouths to feed, and ratcheting downward the quality of public goods for everyone. Exactly as did happen.

But those ideas seemed abstract and speculative at the time. His strongest argument concerned how individuals were affected by the progressive income tax, which took from 3% to 14.5% of individual Alaskans income. Repealing it would excessively benefit the wealthy and would reward migrating oil workers, hated in the popular imagination for flashy lives outside Alaska between stints at Arctic jobs.

Instead, Hammond offered a Rube Goldberg machine of a tax system, attempting to reverse the impact of a straight repeal, with a credit based on years of residency applied against taxes and, when it exceeded taxes, to be paid out in cash. Newcomers and high earners would pay taxes while low- and middle-income Alaskans would get paid by the state, with bigger and bigger checks for each year of their residency.

This idea represented Hammonds first version of giving away the oil wealth to claw it back in taxes for only what the public was willing to pay for. He also knew rural Alaskans would benefit greatly from even small payments in their cash-poor villages, buying ammo for subsistence hunts and parts for snowmachines.

But as the money tidal wave hit, Hammonds ideas seemed less and less viable. Saving had been simpler when oil wasnt flowing yet, with less at stake. The Permanent Fund was relatively easy to create in the skinny year of 1976. But the Alaska pipeline began operating in 1977 and oil prices spiked to new highs after Irans Islamic revolution in 1979. Meekins and his colleagues, as one put it, felt like kids unleashed to eat all the candy they could grab.

A petition initiative called for repeal of the income tax and another for creation of a stock corporation to pursue businesses on residents behalf. Meekins said no one should be paying taxes after the 1980 legislative session. Hammond called instead for increasing Permanent Fund deposits to take 75% of oil revenue and threatened to veto an income tax repeal.

A newspaper columnist found him infuriating, pointing out that Alaska anticipated budget surpluses over the next few years 20 times larger than its income tax revenues would be during that time. Hammond was trying to avoid doing something which is both politically popular and fiscally possible.

Many Alaskans felt collectively rich but individually poor. Sen. George Hohman of Bethel represented a Yupik-majority district said to be the poorest in the United States (indigenous people who live by hunting and gathering might not call themselves poor just because they dont have money). He had displaced Hammond himself from the state Senate in 1970, when new district lines put them against each other.

Hohman wanted to spend all the oil money, using even the content of the Permanent Fund to issue low-interest loans to whoever needed them. He was a round, rumpled, small-time businessman, a white in a Native community, and probably had people in mind to whom he would like to give the loans.

As Meekins counterpart in the Senate, Hohman controlled the capital budget and sent home more money for projects that year than any other legislator. He was a skilled and slippery legislative Godfather, one of the most powerful in the Capitol, yet lived in Bethel in an unpainted shack on the tundra with a honey-bucket bathroom like most rural Alaska homes then, and some even today, it had a 5-gallon bucket for a toilet, dumped in a lagoon on the edge of town.

To have the state keep the oil money made no sense to George Hohman. Its like an Alaskan walking down the street with a hundred-dollar bill in his hand, wearing a loin cloth and no shoes. He doesnt have a flush toilet at home, Hohman told a reporter as the 1980 legislative session began. Alaskans deserve the best treatment government can afford.

Hammond countered with his incomprehensible bill linking a tax repeal to residency, combined with a Permanent Fund dividend based on shares that accumulated with years in Alaska a version of his Alaska Inc. idea. The income tax, which would hit only greenhorns, was nicknamed the Cheechako Tax, using Alaskans word for newcomers.

As Alaskas culture has changed since, the word cheechako has disappeared, and now the idea seems bizarre that newcomers would pay more taxes, but at the time the Cheechako Tax may have been the most popular element of the bill. Most legislators saw no reason to pay a dividend. But Hammond had a critical political asset. Among his closest old friends one of the fishermen who had joined him in those philosophical talks by kerosene light was the Senate president, Clem Tillion.

Clem Tillion, with his Halibut Cove home in the background. (Erik HIll / ADN archive 2010)

Tillion shared Hammonds love of unconventional ideas he had wanted Alaska to be an independent nation rather than a state and presided over a personal kingdom on Kachemak Bay, the community of Halibut Cove, which he had founded and still, for the most part, owned. As a leader, Hammond performed in a role, with his folksy smile and feigned diffidence, claiming he had never wanted to be a politician although he spent much of his adulthood seeking various offices and serving in them. Tillion played in the opposite role, projecting cavalry-charge fierceness, like Teddy Roosevelt, whom he idolized.

In 1980, Tillion and Hammond renewed their after-dinner talks. Hammond would slip away in the dark, unseen by the Capitol crowd, to walk through the wet, narrow streets of Juneau to Tillions house, there to secretly strategize.

They knew legislators had a weakness. Each wanted personal projects, the ones Meekins had allowed them to type into the budget for their own districts, without being second-guessed. But Hammond had the line-item veto, giving him power to cross out those individual appropriations without fear of override. Without going public, Tillion delivered the message to key members that the governor would kill their pet projects unless they supported his dividend and tax bill. It then slid through with seemingly miraculously ease.

Tillion fought harder to pass a jumbo, extra deposit to the Permanent Fund, a last bid to grab oil money before it could fly out the door. Hammonds idea of a 75% allocation to the fund had no chance, but a big one-time deposit was the next best way to restrain spending.

George Hohman. (ADN archive 1982)

Hohman fought back. He needed that money for his loans. Toward the end, he tried to block the deposit by hiding out with two other senators, preventing the Senate from voting by a parliamentary maneuver that required all members to be in attendance. Tillion responded with force. As Senate president, with subpoena power, he ordered the Alaska State Troopers to find Hohman. A trooper in uniform towered over pudgy little Hohman, marching him back to the Senate floor. Hohman lost the vote and the money went into the Permanent Fund.

After the legislature adjourned in 1980, newspapers editorialized with outrage over the porkbarrel bill that included spending for everyone. But it could have been much worse.

Hammonds income tax survived and much of the years new oil money was deposited in the Permanent Fund more money than was spent by the porkbarrel bill. Money got stashed as well in state-owned corporations with professional managers to make loans for economic development, housing and energy projects, rather than Hohmans loans for anyone who asked.

The legislature also decided to invest the Permanent Fund itself as an endowment, for long-term growth, not to put the money in Alaskans own business schemes. Hammonds dividend passed. It was supposed to help keep the fund invested responsibly. He said dividends would motivate Alaskans to watch fund management and keep the money safe.

But that was a brief moment. Change didnt slow down. Oil money kept coming in, ever faster. The dam built by Hammond and his allies lasted only a year. Not even that.

Next: part 3 of the series: Alaskas PFD Experiment. The Alaska Permanent Fund is admired around the world and the dividend held up as an example of a program to distribute wealth to citizens. What does Alaskas experience foretell for those Universal Basic Income ideas?

Continued here:

The top of the waterfall, 1980: Tracing the roots of Alaska's fiscal predicament - Anchorage Daily News

Election Letters to the Editor – BCLocalNews

Readers note: As per policy we do not publish any election-related submissions in print in the final edition prior to voting day, which in the case of Cranbrook Townsman and Kimberley Bulletin is Friday, Oct. 18

Forgetting history

Rick Stewarts interview seemed to me to reveal a forgetfulness of history and and a refusal to face the future. All of us, except the indigenous peoples whom our ancestors displaced and to whom we still owe reparations, are descended from immigrants or are ourselves immigrants. This is a multicultural country. Our population includes Ukrainians who fled persecution in the early 1900s, Europeans from many countries who looked for a better life after WW II, Ugandan Asians expelled by Idi Amin, Vietnamese boat people, Syrian and other refugees from recent conflicts and many, many others, often under the aegis of the United Nations. All these groups have made their contribution to Canada.

As to his attitude to the climate crisis and the inevitable changes it will bring to the fossil fuel industry, he seems to be clinging to the hope that things can stay the same, forgetting that spinners and weavers were displaced by machinery, carters and blacksmiths by the the combustion engine, assembly line workers by robots, just as Internet shopping is now displacing traditional retail and AI will likely take over many administrative jobs in the future. Fortunately for us, unlike the spinners and weavers, if every corporation and citizen pays its fair share of taxes, our society can support people during the transition from a fossil fuel-based economy and, in the process, provide thousands of new jobs, all the while providing ongoing education and healthcare. We are so fortunate to live in a rich, democratic country.

Our school children and their children will bear the brunt of the climate crisis unless we act immediately to reduce global warming and it seems to me that teaching them about it, thoughtfully, so as to empower them, is essential.

Coralie Kittle/Kimberley

Climate Forum

I attended the climate change forum in Nelson and left the gathering with the same sense of concern and urgency that I arrived with. Despite the alarms being set off by young activists like Greta Thunberg and Autumn Peltier, I still do not see a willingness to take bold and decisive action nor an ability to see the tremendous opportunities that a move to renewable energy will create. Its not just young activists that are sending us dire warnings, its also the planet and nature who are showing us the consequences of doing nothing more than we are currently doing.

I was proud to be a Liberal candidate in the last election and had sincere hopes that Justin Trudeau would be that new leader who would move quickly and decisively on electoral reform and climate change. The first simply disappeared and the second has moved much too slowly and has been pretty difficult to comprehend. Im still struggling to understand how buying a pipeline is consistent with declaring a climate emergency. But, I dont want to repeat the talking points and party platforms that were discussed last night. I want to do something.

I will be voting for Abra Byrne and the Green Party on October 21st. My preferred result for the election would be a minority government (which is highly likely) with a strong Green Party representation (also likely) to force action on climate change. We could end up with an opportunity to see the strength of proportional representation with parties having to work together, and quick, meaningful action on climate change. Electing Abra would place the Kootenay Columbia riding in the forefront of voting strategically to join the massive global movement now underway to get serious about climate change. The environment is everything, especially in a place like the Kootenays.

Don Johnston/Nelson

Climate Champions

A few points as we head to the polls:

The science is clear: climate change is a global emergency that affects us all and we have limited time to act. This is Canadas last federal election before its too late for real positive change. Please consider your vote carefully.

Carbon pricing and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies are critical incentives for moving to a low carbon economy. The Conservatives intend to cancel the price on carbon for consumers, and wont commit to eliminating subsidies. Projections show that the Conservative climate plan overshoots Canadas commitment to the Paris Agreement well beyond other parties. (The Green plan is the only one that reduces carbon emissions below the Paris Agreement.) The Conservatives are not interested in talking about helping the average family, worker and individual to transition to a low carbon economy. Perhaps many years ago this was a party that was fiscally responsible, and had the hard working Canadian in mind. But the times have changed and it has not kept up. Fiscal responsibility must include assigning value to the basic requirements to sustain life. The longer support for transition is delayed, the harder it will be. And Canadians will go down too.

In Kootenay Columbia Riding, Stetski (NDP) and Brynne (Green) are the climate champions. This is based on the comprehensive strong Green Party plan and collaborative cross sector experience for Abra, and for Wayne, this is based on LeadNow consultations which demonstrate his non-partisan commitment in line with a Green New Deal, as well as likelihood for winning the riding. Polls show the NDP have the most likelihood of winning this riding after the climate inattentive Conservatives. So given our limited first-past-the-post electoral system, I will vote strategically for the NDP.

Stetski is a strong climate advocate and has proven himself as a hard working MP who has also defeated a Conservative candidate in this riding in the past. The polls show he can do it again. On Oct 21, Im voting NDP: Wayne Stetski, and encourage those in support of responsible fiscal and social climate policy to consider doing the same.

Sue Cairns/Cranbrook

Role of MPs

The role of our elected MPs and MLAs is to represent all constituents, not just those who voted for them, think like them, or look like them. Our system of representative democracy depends on this. But in the 2019 election, democratic principles appear to be detached from partisan interests. As a case in point, consider the Kootenay-Columbia ridings Conservative candidate Rob Morrisons practice of blocking and banning voters on his candidate Facebook page.

Im part of a network of citizens across the riding which convenes online to discuss politics. A number of our members have attempted to contribute to conversations on Mr. Morrisons Facebook pages; the list is growing. Alas, it seems he does not want to know their views or discuss his own views. He has blocked and banned some of his potential constituents when he disagrees with them, or when they provide comments that challenge his positions.

As one person on our network said, Many people have told me that they were banned from Rob Morrisons Facebook pages. What does that say about his willingness to listen to voters? Since he clearly only wants to hear from certain people; how can he possibly represent us all? If Mr. Morrison and other similarly intolerant politicians cannot hear from us now, it seems unlikely they can represent us if they win. This kind of politics damages our democratic order and our form of representative government. We need politicians that listen to us all.

Joyce Green/Cranbrook

Fairy Tale World

Throughout the federal campaign I have been waiting for our MP to take a stand on natural resources such as the coal industry and the forestry industry. Mr. Stetskis answer has always been to have people refer to the 112 page NDP document which spells out their vision for Canada. Mr. Stetski and the NDP want to rid Canada of its extraction of fossil fuels and live off of renewable energy. There is one fundamental flaw with their entire vision, which was backed up this week by the parliamentary budget officer. With all the niceties, such as free everything you still have to be able to pay for it. Their costed promises cannot be done without the extraction of oil, gas and coal along with other hard metals that are in abundance in Canada.

In the fairy tale world of the NDP we will magically find the free money and all will be good in the world. Wayne Stetski what I would like to hear from you and not the 112 page vision statement of the NDP is the following. Do you support the fossil fuel industry which is needed to further the agenda of the NDP? How do you intend to pay for all of the freebees you plan on providing Canadians without the multibillion dollar oil, gas and coal industries fueling our economy both at home and abroad?

In the recent down turn of the oil, forestry and coal industries the only thing we hear from the NDP is a desire eliminate these industries. Rather than trying to destroy what makes Canada great, why dont you and the NDP try working with these companies rather than criticizing their every move.

David Wilks/Sparwood

Theres a vote strategically narrative going around again this election period. Ive been guilty of spinning it in the past too. What that narrative does, is create fear in people, that if they dont vote to support the NDP, that the Conservatives will get in again. The result is that their desired candidate, and I mean the Green candidate, cant possibly win if the majority of their support goes to someone else.

In speaking with many Greens who really want to vote Green, but are being convinced to vote NDP Im hearing that it really bothers them. It bothers me too. Thats why, this election, I am voting Green as I have wanted to for years.

The strategic vote narrative also includes the need for proportional representation. The Greens will bring in PR, period. No referendum after one or two voting periods.

It is this election, at this time in our global history, that I need my vote to count for the party that can do the most to combat the climate crisis. The Green party has the most aggressive climate action plan that will meet or exceed the Paris Accord. No other party will achieve that.

7.5 million people marched out of schools and businesses demanding that we act on the climate crisis. We dont have another four years to wait for a change in leadership for something to get done. It must be now.

A young woman said to a group of us one day that your vote wont affect you as much as it will affect my future.

For the Planet,

Sharon Cross/Cranbrook

Concerning Robin Goldsbury

Why I support Robin Goldsbury for our Kootenay-Columbia Member of Parliament

I had the pleasure of attending three all-candidate debates (Kimberley, Sparwood and Fernie) and recorded responses from the candidates that support my decision to vote for Robin Goldsbury. The significant topics were youth, seniors, climate change and housing. Goldsbury is experienced and knowledgeable about the issues in Kootenay-Columbia. Her authentic, local voice for our rural British Columbia riding and her passion for representing us in Kootenay-Columbia are refreshing!

When discussing the social well-being of youth in Canada, Goldsbury supported universal access to post-secondary and skills training while the Conservative candidate simply responded, youth think differently. When responding to the healthcare/opioid crisis in Kootenay-Columbia, Robin understood that trauma creates addictions, while other candidates stated, addiction is a choice (Morrison) and get criminals off the street (Stetski).

During the discussion addressing how the values of seniors will be met, Goldsbury addressed the importance of access to healthcare, health practitioners and homecare. Morrison supported getting seniors back to work, Brynne supported increasing pensions, and Stetski supported financial security for seniors. What good are jobs, pensions and financial security if we dont have access to quality, accessible healthcare a tenet of life in Canada?

In responding to the climate crisis facing us locally and globally, the candidates stated they supported pipelines, recycling and the energy sector (Conservative), a 20-step action plan and increasing carbon pricing (Green) and renovating houses and supporting future jobs in the green energy economy (NDP). Goldsbury strongly stated, We need to act! Were running out of time! (receiving applause). She supported the importance of the Columbia River Treaty renegotiation and massive programs on greening including transportation, ocean protection and residential energy efficiency while advocating Canadian resource companies who are leading the way.

While discussing Kootenay-Columbia housing issues, Goldsbury supported incentives for businesses to create employee housing and building up the supply side of affordable housing by local, municipal, Indigenous, provincial and federal governments/agencies pulling together. The other candidates suggested removing red tape, a national housing strategy and resorted to reading directly from lengthy party platform documents.

Robin Goldsbury stresses the importance of Kootenay-Columbias sustainable vitality, inclusive collaboration in government, and serious solutions to local issues. Her open, personable approach to sharing policy, research and statistics while genuinely caring for us in Kootenay-Columbia reflect her work-ethic and integrity. Goldsbury possesses the qualities of an ideal government representative who will work persistently while championing our voices in our region, province and country.

Cynthia Moore/Kimberley

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Election Letters to the Editor - BCLocalNews

Editors Picks: Business, Industry And Tech Parks – Business Facilities Magazine

By the BF StaffFrom the September/October 2019 Issue

Industrial real estate demand reached new heights in 2018 and, according to CBREs 2019 Outlook Report, this trend is continuing through 2019. There has been a tremendous demand for logistics properties of all types; Class-A big-bulk warehouses are leading the surge, which has been broad-based and extends down to secondary and tertiary markets.

E-commerce is driving growth, CBRE reported, and this includes some brick-and-mortar retailers who are expanding online operations. Net absorption resulting from e-commerce growth is expected to average between 75M SF and 94M SF in 2019, and a lack of new supply has driven vacancy levels down to 4.3 percent, a historic low. CBRE says that an increasing number of online retailers are opening physical stores to grow their business and retain more customers.

The recent trend toward multistory warehouse developmentspurred by rising building costs and the decreasing availability of landis continuing to grow in U.S. metro areas. Rents for multistory industrial facilities can be two or three times those of traditional industrial facilities.

According to the CBRE report, real estate markets are buzzing with innovation. The amount of completed new buildings has steadily increased around the world over the last three years in the industrial, office and multifamily sectors. However, unlike past cycles, it is not a speculative surge, but a more controlled rise in stock that matches the increase in demand that has come from a decade of economic growth and corporate expansion.

Picture booming industries and a large workforce thriving in their professional and personal lives. Visualize a place where commerce, community and convenience intersect the place, in fact, where Volvo Car USA built its first-ever U.S. manufacturing plant in 2015, creating nearly 4,000 jobs and $4.8 billion in annual economic impact by itself. A place with a dedicated interstate interchange, rail service and essential technology infrastructure, close to a major port and international airport.

Youve arrived at Camp Hall.

Camp Hall Industrial Commerce Park in South Carolina is a new breed of commerce parkone specifically designed to connect people, place and industry. Master-planned for ultimate functionality and the demands of 21st century industries, Camp Hall is designed so that businessand its workforcecan truly thrive. Site-development opportunities range from seven to 600 acresa wide range of parcel sizes allowing for maximum flexibility to meet industry-specific needs. Beyond flexible site opportunities, Camp Hall brings an entirely new dynamic to the concept of a commerce park for several reasons.

Camp Hall is thoughtfully designed to provide worldwide access, achieve an attractive quality of life for the workforce and make the most of the regions natural surroundings.

This is achieved through intuitive, existing infrastructure including entire arterial roadways. A dedicated interchange just opened providing direct access from I-26 for trucks while facilitating employee commutes from nearby residential developments, which are located so that commuting actually tracks against the metropolitan areas major traffic patterns. In addition to this easy interstate connection, Camp Hall offers comprehensive transportation networks for global access, including close proximity to airports and deepwater ports. Also onsite are both redundant and diverse power supply as well as fiber, major gas transmission lines, significant water as well as sewer. Rail service connecting to CSX is currently being extended.

One of the most unique elements of Camp Hall is how it incorporates state-of-the-art technology with systems to support modern enterprise. Onsite amenities underway for employees such as park-wide Wi-Fi, dedicated open space, walking trails, gas stations and health centers, and so much more are part of life at Camp Hall. All the while, the eco-friendly design maintains adaptability for future growth.

The Charleston regions commitment to a thriving business climate and economic development is evident with recent growth in the aerospace and automotive industries, just to name a couple of examples. From Fortune 500 corporations to thousands of small- to mid-sized businesses, the Charleston area offers an unparalleled quality of lifeits a place where the workforce can thrive among modern conveniences while engulfed in the rich culture of the South.

The Charleston regions geographically diverse landscape offers a year-round moderate climate and puts residents a short drive from the beach and the mountains. Camp Hall is just 27 miles from Charleston International Airport and 104 miles from Myrtle Beach International Airport. It is also located at the center of the industrial growth trend for the greater Charleston area.

In the Charleston market, building-permit issuance has steadily increased since 2011. The vacancy rate of residential rental units trends down year over year, while the average rent sees growth of 6 percent year over yearand thats because people are flocking to the area for its job opportunities and quality lifestyle. Theres been a 19 percent increase in population since 2009, and a 6.2 percent population increase is projected annually. New single-family closings have been steadily on the rise, too.

For the broader industrial market, vacancy rates have been steadily falling for one simple reason: Businesses understand the endless potential of the region and opportunity it provides. Four planned residential communities within less than a 30-minute drive of Camp Hall have approximately 37,000 planned residential lots. And, eight of the top 10 selling residential communities within the Charleston MSA (closing in combination over 1,000 houses annually) are within a 30-minute drive. The ample, affordable and easily accessible housing options for the Camp Hall workforce further create a cohesive community for work, play and life.

People arent just coming for the fresh air and proximity to the beachthe job opportunities are endless in the region. Job growth here exceeds both state and national levels, and is expected to increase 10-15 percent over the next 10 years.

With a healthy blend of young, skilled and seasoned employees, the Camp Hall market stands ready with a workforce of nearly 500,000 available workers. The Charleston area has a slightly higher than national average number of millennials, providing potential employers with a better ability to recruit train and retain younger employees for their operation.

The region holds a higher percentage of individuals with advanced educational attainment compared to the South Carolina and national population. More than 40,000 students are enrolled in 24 colleges, universities and technical schools in the areaand each produces highly skilled workers who help drive business growth. And thats no accident. By strategically aligning business with education, the Charleston market offers employers a workforce development advantage.

With over 15,000 jobs anticipated, 4,000 of which are already committed, Camp Halls unique approach keeps that workforce at the center of every design detail.

Continued employment growth is expected across all sectors, driven largely by hospitality, construction, education and health.

Fast-forward from Volvos big decision in 2015 to the official Camp Hall groundbreaking in June 2018, and then, to the completion of the trail systems first phase in spring 2019, past various milestones and openings, and arrive at the opening of the I-26 and Volvo Car Drive interchange in August 2019. Fast-forward several years beyond that and youre sure to find a successful, thriving commerce park that once dared to approach a blueprint in entirely new ways. Be a part of the growth. Find out more about Camp Hall by visiting CampHall.com today.

Quonset Business Park is the leading place for manufacturing in Rhode Island. Among the parks nearly 12,000 jobs, 59 percent are in manufacturing. According to a recent study from Bryant University, Quonset now represents 17 percent of total manufacturing employment in Rhode Island, and the number of jobs there is only expected to grow. The North Kingston-based park added 975 manufacturing jobs in 2018 alone.

While the number of jobs increased at the park, wages have risen as well. The average wage at Quonset Business Park is 19 percent higher than the statewide average. From 2015 to 2018, the average wage at Quonset rose twice as fast as wages in the rest of the state.

With continued public and private investments to support development and buildout at the park, Quonset could support 32,546 jobs in Rhode Island, create $1.87 billion in income for Rhode Island households and produce $6.2 billion in Gross Domestic Product by 2030, the Bryant study found. Quonset Business Park represents a successful model for economic development that anticipates the needs of businesses with an efficient development approach that encourages business and job growth. So what is it about Quonset that creates a climate for success?

First, Quonset Development Corporation (QDC) goes out of its way to cut red tape. Their Site Readiness program makes development at the park easier than ever with pre-permitted and pre-engineered parcels to speed the development process. With 246 acres of pad-ready sites, they also have the space for a new facility or expansion project. Quonsets Site Readiness Program enables companies to get shovels in the ground within 90 days of signing a lease.

Second, Quonset recognizes the strength in a broad range of industries. The industrial park can support large, high-tech, industrial operations like Electric Boat and Toray Plastics while their Commerce Park section hosts some of the states most successful companies like Ocean State Job Lot. Also, Quonset has created a new Flex Space Industrial Campus for new and growing companies who need affordable space that can adapt to the changing needs of growing businesses.

Quonsets strategic location in North Kingstown places businesses in the heart of the Northeast, giving them broad access to markets with tens of millions in population. The park is located at the midpoint between Boston and New York, offering companies a stake in both of the areas largest population centers.

Quonsets central location puts its companies at the nexus of major shipping and travel routes in the region. The onsite Port of Davisville, a top 10 auto importer in North America, provides public access to a world-class facility that is equipped to handle breakout load and special project cargo. Quonset also is close to highways like RI Rte 4 and I-95 and has direct access to the Northeast Corridor through 14 miles of freight rail running through the park. With additional proximity to major airports like T.F. Green (RI), Logan International (MA) and Bradley International (CT) and train routes like the MBTA and Amtrak, companies have the mobility they need to access new markets.

Quonset also understands that to attract the best talent, a business park has to be a place where people want to work. Their facilities include an 18-hole golf course, four beaches, a daycare facility and a free bus service provided through the RI Public Transit Authority. They are also looking forward to the construction of a new gym facility.

Finally, Quonsets leadership has a keen eye for the future. In recent years the park has grown as a hub of marine manufacturing but also as a magnet for clean energy development. The park hosted some of the construction for the nations first offshore wind farm near Block Island. Quonset Development Corporation is proud of its commitment to sustainability and powers its facilities with 100 percent renewable energy. The QDC is continuing to seek out new opportunities to bring the future of energy to Rhode Island.

Quonset Business Park is the ideal location in the Eastern United States for businesses of all sizes and at all stages of development. Their world-class infrastructure, centralized location and growth-friendly approach give businesses at Quonset a competitive edge and an optimal climate for growth. For more information about starting your next venture at Quonset, visit http://www.quonset.com.

Frederictons early investments in digital and physical infrastructure, like Knowledge Park, have enabled the growth of the Citys large knowledge-based economy and attracted global companies like Siemens, Salesforce.com and IBM.

Knowledge Park, Atlantic Canadas largest research and technology park, is the clustering environment where New Brunswicks cutting-edge research and development activities take place. Since being established in 1998, the 40-acre campus has grown to house in excess of 40 companies that employ over 800 people.

Today, Fredericton has more than 60 organizations that are engaged in research and development mostly lead by the University of New Brunswick, says Larry Shaw, CEO of Knowledge Park and Ignite Fredericton, the economic development agency for Fredericton, Oromocto and New Maryland. Knowledge Park is an integral part of Frederictons innovation ecosystem where collaboration, development and commercialization of new products occur.

When compared to other jurisdictions, the citys competitive advantage is a wealth of highly skilled labor, extensive research and development, diversified knowledge industry and a startup ecosystem that has achieved the recognition as Canadas Startup Community in 2016.

If you look in the last year, there have been more than 300 new jobs in cybersecurity alone, most of which are focused on cybersecurity for critical infrastructure, says Shaw.

In the Fall of 2020, Fredericton is set to open a $37-million Cyber Centre. This cybersecurity-dedicated space promises to have an enormous economic impact on the region. The 135,000-square-foot center dedicated to research and development of cybersecurity will support regional, provincial and national economic development priorities to attract new talent and businesses to the region.

The building represents one of the most significant economic development opportunities that New Brunswick has had in the last 20 years, says Shaw.

In support of this $37-million project, Knowledge Park has obtained a $30-million commercial loan from Opportunities New Brunswick. In addition, Knowledge Park and Ignite Fredericton have partnered with Cyber NB, a government-mandated organization focusing on economic development around cybersecurity in New Brunswick.

One such player is Siemens. This German multinational specializes in energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies. Siemens has worked closely with NB Power, the provinces renewable and traditional energy supplier, to improve its smart-grid technology. Recently, attracted by the quality of research and development being offered in Fredericton, the multinational has decided to set up their global center of competence for cybersecurity in the City. Difenda, Kognitiv Spark and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories are also planning to set up operations in the Cyber Centre.

Cyber Centre will be a level II security facility that houses private business, academia and three levels of government that will be focused on research, development, operations and commercialization in critical infrastructure cyber security protect. The facility is part of the current Knowledge Park campus expanding the footprint to more than 50 acres.

We know that the knowledge-based sector, including the research and development component, continues to be one of the most important areas for economic growth globally, and here in New Brunswick, said Shaw. Fredericton offers access to top talent, infrastructure, industry leaders and collaboration partners.

Knowledge Park is an economic development engine and its revenues are reinvested into initiatives such as Planet Hatch, an entrepreneurship center that supports startups to grow into internationally competitive companies. Planet Hatch offers mentoring and coaching, as well as programs and funding for entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurship center has proved extremely successful with more than 225 new startups over the past five years.

Fredericton is considered one of the most digitally-advanced cities in the world. Also, one of the most entrepreneurial communities in Canada, producing more than $1-billion in knowledge industry exits since 2009.

Through Knowledge Park and Planet Hatch, we are nurturing home-grown talent and growing a diverse network of high-tech providers, says Shaw, all of which benefit from an economically strong environment.

Knowledge Park works with a robust network of economic development, research and entrepreneurial support organizations, all located within Frederictons two km radius innovation district. One such organization is the University of New Brunswick. UNBs Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity, as an example, is leading research and advancements including commercialization initiatives with companies like Siemens. The Institute draws on the expertise of researchers in the social sciences, business, computer science, engineering, law and science.

Alongside St. Thomas University and the New Brunswick Community College, UNB supplies some of the sharpest and most skilled minds to the citys talent pool.

Frederictons talent pool continuously refreshes its diversity, skill and creativity with influxes of international students and skilled newcomers who come to Canada through various immigration streams. In the city, companies can hire internationally, done quickly through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program.

With the opening of the new Cyber Centre and the continued success of Knowledge Park and its support organizations, Fredericton is on the right path to becoming a global leader in providing high-quality research and development, as well as to maintain its status as the optimal location for research-based business.

We have so much to offer in Fredericton. Its just a matter of telling our story and showing the world the skills and the quality of infrastructure that we offer here, says Shaw.

MidAmerica Industrial Park has been building its resources in northeast Oklahoma for nearly 60 years and is looking equally far ahead. Since day one, MAIPs commitment has always been the sameto deliver whatever companies need to succeed. Companies like Google and DuPont agree that MidAmerica is a great place to be. The workforce. The infrastructure. The boundless potential. MidAmerica delivers it all.

MidAmerica is owned and operated by a self-sustaining public trust with the sole mission of increasing area employment by bringing new businesses to the region and by assisting in the growth of existing businesses. This mission opened the way for the crucial advantages of a park-owned water and wastewater system. It has also translated into park governance and service that is wholly responsive to tenant needs.

MidAmerica Industrial Park (MAIP) offers a stable, protected environment to its businesses. Because revenues are generated by water sales and park land sales and leases, the trust requires no state or federal tax dollars for support.

Because the trust also enjoys regulatory sovereignty, startups, expansions and relocations are streamlined with fast decisions and lower costseliminating red tape and fees. There are no building inspection processes requiring approval prior to construction, no impact fees, sewer hook-up charges, water hook-up charges, building permit fees, storm drainage fees or building inspection fees. Each of these lower engineering and construction costs.

Why Locate at MidAmerica. For businesses looking to locate at MidAmerica, MAIP is uniquely positioned to incentivize new business from every angle. Because MAIP incentives are added to both state and federal incentives, the packages offered to businesses are the most comprehensive in the nation.

MAIP also offers a Quick Action incentive fund that assists new companies with the costs associated with business relocation. The fund is comprised of three components: education and training, land cost offsetting and reduction and specialized infrastructure.

The education and training component encompasses the facilities at the park including: Northeast Technology Center, Rogers State University Pryor campus located in the park and MAIPs own Technology and Career Center.

Land cost offsetting and reduction helps companies considering relocation to MidAmerica. MidAmericas management team works closely with clients to determine the best possible structure for the acreage needed based on the scope of the project. This includes anything from low-cost to no cost, typically determined by overall investment and jobs created.

The third component, specialized infrastructure, includes but isnt limited to, working with companies to fulfill their needs in regard to water and wastewater at their site. Or, if a company has special needs for the site such as rail access, entry and exit access, land development, dirt removal, etcetera, MidAmerica would use the incentive fund to help offset those costs.

Qualifications and criteria for the fund depends on the value the business brings to the park. The number of jobs the company would bringspecifically, density of jobshow many employees per acre, average wage of employees and if there is opportunity for growth and expansion.

Finally, MidAmerica is in the process of developing at 162-acre development that incorporates retail, residential, parks and trails. The new development, known as The District, is a fusion of walkable retail areas and residential living combined with a natural environment that offers wide open spaces and outdoor activity. It includes 32,000 square feet of retail space, a 100-unit multi-story living complex, 100 residential homes and 10 acres of parks and outdoor spaces, which all connect via walking and biking trail systems. This development is about meeting peoples desires to be a part of thriving community and attracting the best of the best when it comes to employers and employees.

MidAmerica Infrastructure. With 9,000 acres under single ownership for almost 60 years, MidAmerica has everything a business needs to thrive. Park owned and operated water and wastewater treatment facilities, reliable power through onsite generation, ample gas supply and multiple communication providers means businesses can rest assured MAIP will have a reliable and affordable infrastructure.

MAIP recently completed the Armin Road Project which consisted of 1.5 miles of 32-foot to 42-foot-wide asphalt paved roads, storm water lines and sanitary sewer lines, and site drainage. The project opened up approximately 240 acres for shovel ready development.

In addition, The Oklahoma Ordinance Works Authority Board of Directors approved developing plans for construction of a new 100,000-square-foot spec building to be located in the park. The facility will be designed for operations utilization by a wide range of light to medium industrial clients.

MidAmericas water and wastewater treatment facilities ensure that theres plenty of capacity and capability for everyone in the 9,000-acre park.

The Water Treatment Plant is currently undergoing a $3.6 million renovation to maintain operational reliability, increase efficiency and improve safety. The renovations and updates include the installation of new meters and valves, replacement of actuators, concrete repairs and recoating of existing pipes and equipment to increase operational reliability and efficiency.

The Water Treatment Plant provides drinking water for 80 industrial customers, six of which represent 50 percent of overall water sales; three municipal customers outside the park who represent 10 percent of water sales; and six rural water districts representing 20 percent of water sales. The Plant produces 12 to 16 million gallons of drinking water a day.

In addition, MidAmericas Wastewater Treatment Plant is in the final stages of a $2.1 million improvement project to increase reliability and minimize the risk of violations with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ).

SCADA improvements include new alarm signals to minimize equipment failure and monitoring devices to assist in plant operations. Finally, a new lift station will be commissioned to replace an existing lift station that was built in 1967.

Choose MidAmerica. MidAmericas excellent day-to-day management of park operations nurtures tenant success. The parks staff of 25 full-time professionals, under the direction of Chief Administrative Officer David Stewart, is always ready to respond to any tenant need, from administration to water/wastewater operations and maintenance to marketing and planning for future growth. The staff also keeps the parks Plant Managers Association abreast of current industry topics ranging from recent environmental legislation to international exporting practices.

There isnt a simple one word answer as to why you should make Summit East Technology Park in Tallahassee, the state capitol of Florida, your new address. Its not only about location, innovation, technology or convenience. Its about having a team of people working with you to deliver a Class A office building on schedule and the same team of people being with you and working with you throughout your stay at any of the Summit Group developments to ensure a mutually beneficial partnership.

There are so many advantages to living and working in the Sunshine State, and specifically, in Tallahassee, Florida. Obviously, the weather is at the top of the list with, on average, 233 sunny days per year in Tallahassee while the U.S. average is 205 sunny days. (Sperlings Best Places.) Florida does not have an individual state tax and tax incentives are available.

Tallahassee is the state capitol and the county seat of Leon County, and as of 2018, some 193,551 people call it home, with 385,145 in the Tallahassee metropolitan area. The population is the most highly educated in Florida and Tallahassee also is home to Florida State University, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee Community College and Lively Technical College.

The Summit East team and its building partner, Mad Dog Construction, delivered the Northview Building in the Summit East Technology Park in 2013 with over 40,000 square feet of office space in less than eight months from conceptual planning to move-in. A 40,000 square foot building was completed in 2018, which met the clients targeted 12 month delivery. With all needed development rights in place, the time from start to finish on a new building is substantially compacted where most can be delivered 14-16 months from commencement. The most recent project is a 73,000-square-foot building for State offices and is meeting its time schedule for completion and move in by October 2019.

The Staybridge Suites Hotel is located onsite within Summit East and provides businesses not only the opportunity to host out of town guests, but also has fully equipped A/V conference centers available that provide seating for 8-10 people, 50 people and up to 90 people. Additionally, there is a theater room available with leather recliners and a 70 inch TV screen.

Summit East is located at Highway 90 East (Mahan Drive) and Interstate 10 and is only 25 minutes to the Tallahassee International Airport, 15 minutes to downtown Tallahassee and five minutes to major cross-town roads.

An important aspect for any business is reliable and fast connectivity to the web. Summit East provides an efficient route to meet your companys growing bandwidth demands. Each building at Summit East is currently equipped with multiple major fiber internet providers. This allows for a shorter start up time for any new business, any business relocating within the Park or any business that has opted to change providers.

Summit East has recently added multiple buildings and therefore, hundreds more employees, and the nearby area is experiencing growth as well. There are both a diner and a drive through coffee shop on site. Within two miles are at least five restaurants and numerous others within a ten minute drive. Additionally, food trucks compete for Summit East business and there is currently a different food truck on site each day of the week.

An amenity that is often overlooked but which is of upmost importance to employee morale is that of having a large and beautiful natural space to enjoy our beautiful North Florida weather. Summit East has an 8.5 acre lake where you can try your luck at catch and release bass and bream fishing. Additionally, you may want to take a relaxing stroll on organic walkways under the many large oaks or follow a regular route along the sidewalks in order to get your daily walk.

In 2009 Summit East Management was honored with The Chambers Green Business of the Year award, and in 2013 Summit East Technology Park was awarded the prestigious statewide ENVY Award for Commercial Developments by the Florida Realtors, as the top commercial developer who made the most significant contribution toward building in harmony with Floridas beautiful and sensitive environment.

To sum it up, Summit East has it all; location, innovation, technology AND convenience, PLUS a team working with you to furnish not only a Class A office building but amenities that will be enjoyed by your company, employees and guests.

Eatonton and Putnam County, GA boast a very diverse economic mix ranging from manufacturing to agriculture to technology to film. Advantages include a central location, low operating costs, tax incentives and a relaxed lifestyle.

Situated in the center of Georgia between Atlanta, Augusta, Athens and Macon, Putnam County is located 10 minutes south of Interstate 20, 78 miles southeast of Atlantas Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (the busiest airport in the world) and 185 miles northwest of the Port of Savannah (the 4th largest sea port in the United States).

Putnam County offers new and expanding businesses a healthy, economic landscape supported by a business-friendly environment. Existing Industry in Putnam County is currently investing significantly in their facilities:

Putnam County draws from a labor pool of over 67,775 employees from a six-county area. Putnam County has a lower cost of doing business due to a cost of living index of 93.1 which is 6.9 percent lower than the national average. County average wages were $671/week in 2018, well below the state average.

Local incentives include available city and county property tax abatement, 100 percent Freeport Exemption and job credits of $3,500/job for 5 years.

The Putnam County Charter School System (PCCSS) is host to an award-winning College and Career Academy. In 2019 Putnam County High School had a 92 percent graduation rate, which is higher than the state and national average.

Gatewood Schools is an award-winning Christian, independent, non-profit, college-preparatory school that provides an educational experience that prepares students for postsecondary education and lasting success.

Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC) provides workforce development at the Eatonton campus, as well as at the Putnam County High School campus. CGTC provides a quality academic and technical education, along with customized business and industry training, continuing education and adult education services.

Georgia College & State University and Georgia Military College are only a short 21-mile drive to Milledgeville. Other colleges and universities within a 50-mile radius of Eatonton include the University of Georgia, Mercer University, Wesleyan College and Middle Georgia State University.

As the areas best 100-percent digital, non-profit, healthcare provider, Putnam General Hospital has served the Eatonton and surrounding lake areas with over 40 years of excellent healthcare. Putnam General Hospital, a Navicent Health Partner, provides general medical and surgical care for inpatient, outpatient and emergency room patients. Sixteen additional hospitals are located within a 50-mile radius of Eatonton.

Putnam County is a lively, active community, which hosts many annual events and festivals. History, culture, arts, shopping and recreational opportunities abound. Lake Oconee and Lake Sinclair offer almost 800 miles of shoreline and many opportunities for swimming, boating, water skiing and fishing. Enjoy world-class golf at Reynolds Plantation, The Ritz Carlton, Cuscowilla Resort or Uncle Remus Golf Course.

Contact [emailprotected] about locating your business in Eatonton-Putnam County, Georgia.

The rest is here:

Editors Picks: Business, Industry And Tech Parks - Business Facilities Magazine

A Guide to the Big Ideas and Debates in Corporate Governance – Harvard Business Review

Corporate governance has become a topic of broad public interest as the power of institutional investors has increased and the impact of corporations on society has grown. Yet ideas about how corporations should be governed vary widely. People disagree, for example, on such basic matters as the purpose of the corporation, the role of corporate boards of directors, the rights of shareholders, and the proper way to measure corporate performance. The issue of whose interests should be considered in corporate decision making is particularly contentious, with some authorities giving primacy to shareholders interest in maximizing their financial returns and others arguing that shareholders other interests in corporate strategy, executive compensation, and environmental policies, for example and the interests of other parties must be respected as well.

These debates have taken on a new intensity in the face of changing capital markets and mega-forces such as climate change, income inequality, digitalization, and rising populism sweeping the globe. The past few years have seen a proliferation of statements, proposals, and revised codes of corporate governance such as the New Paradigm, the Common Sense Principles, the King IV Report, and the 2018 UK Corporate Governance Code, to mention just a few. While some of these statements reaffirm conventional doctrines and practices, others call for efforts to better align the activities of corporations with societys interest in a building a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable economy.

This article does not attempt to catalogue all of these proposed changes, or to cover every aspect of corporate governance. Its purpose is to describe some of todays key debates and to identify the main areas in which changes are being called for. We hope this distillation will be helpful to corporate directors and other readers who may be grappling with the issues presented either now or in the near future. How these debates are resolved will have profound effects on how business operates across the globe. The article focuses on the governance of publicly traded companies rather than state-owned or private corporations, but many of the debates and proposed changes to public company governance are relevant for those types of corporations as well.

Corporations

The corporation is one of societys most important institutions and its dominant form of business organization. Some corporations wield economic power rivaling that of many nation states. Yet the nature and purpose of the corporationand, by extension, the purpose of corporate governancehas long been a matter of debate. For at least a century, there have been two dominant schools of thought, one holding that the corporation is a legal fiction designed to facilitate what is essentially a private agreement among shareholders, and the other holding that the corporation is a real entity enabled by law to serve the needs of society. The former view gives primacy to the rights and interests of shareholders, while the latter seeks to balance the interests of shareholders with those of other stakeholders and gives greater weight to the interests of society at large.

The debate between these two views arose at the dawn of the 20th century. Following the adoption of general incorporation statutes in many jurisdictions in the late nineteenth century, those wishing to create a corporation no longer had to petition the state for a charter. Instead, they could form a corporation simply by filing the requisite forms and paying the associated fees with the relevant government authorities. The ease with which corporations could be formed thus reinforced the sense that incorporation was largely a matter of private agreement among shareholders. However, the subsequent rise of the giant railroad and manufacturing corporations and oil trusts of that era led to widespread concern about these increasingly large concentrations of capital and their impacts on society. These developments fueled the emergence of new thinking on the nature of the corporation as a palpable presence with power and influencewhat scholars termed a real entityand provided evidence that the legal fiction theory did not fully capture the significance of these large organizations.

By the 1930s an institutional view of the corporation moved into the mainstream and the notion that corporations are influential actors in society with responsibilities not just to shareholders, but also to employees, customers, and the general public gained credence with some respected business leaders and academics. But the debate shifted again with the emergence of neo-classical economics and a stagnant economy in the 1970s. A view of the corporation as the property of shareholders once again took hold, and was soon developed into a full-blown theory of corporate governance based on the idea that managers are the agents of shareholders who own the corporation and expect it to be run for their benefit. According to this theory, known among academics as agency theory, the duty of managers is to maximize returns to shareholders and the role of the board is to monitor and reward management to ensure that it does just that.

Today, the debate continues but with a new sense of urgency. In Europe and the US, fewer companies are going public but the influence of large, listed companies has been amplified by legal developments expanding the rights of corporations and by increases in corporate spending on lobbying, political contributions, and even charitable activities aimed at securing political influence. At the same time, governments are increasingly unable to address the significant and growing problems plaguing societies around the globe, and corporations are seen as having untapped potential to help mitigate these problems. While some academics and many in the financial community continue to hold that the purpose of the corporation is to maximize the wealth of its shareholders, and should be governed to that end, others call for a more robust definition of corporate purpose.

In the UK, for example, The Purposeful Company Taskforce has urged companies to be more explicit about their purpose, defined as how they contribute to human betterment and create long-term value for all their stakeholders, and called for laws requiring companies to write their purpose into their articles of association. The U.K. Corporate Governance Code was revised in 2018 to charge boards with establishing the companys purpose, values, and strategy. In France, the new Pacte Law requires that companies be managed to further the corporate interest rather than the interest of any particular stakeholder and provides for companies to write their purpose (raison dtre) into their by-laws. In the US, leading institutional investors have been calling on corporate boards for several years to clarify their companies purpose and contribution to society.

Perhaps the most noteworthy development in the US is the Business Roundtables new statement on corporate purpose issued in August 2019. The 181 CEOs who signed the statement declared their commitment not just to shareholders but to all stakeholders, thus reversing the BRTs previous espousal of shareholder primacy and the view, expressed in their 1997 statement, that the corporations purpose is to generate returns to its owners.

This debate may appear to be purely theoretical and best left to academics, but its practical implications are far-reaching. With investors, regulators, and the public calling for greater clarity of corporate purpose, boards and managers will want to give this issue serious consideration and take steps to confirm that they have a shared understanding of their purpose in governing and leading.

Questions for Boards and Managers:

Shareholders

Shareholders provide companies with equity capital and are vested with ownership rights to the shares held. While shareholders are often referred to as owners of companies, this description overstates the rights of shareholders. Legally, in most jurisdictions, shareholders are entitled to own and sell their shares, and vote on certain corporate matters as specified by law and the corporate charter. The definition and exercise of ownership rights vary greatly across companies and especially across countries. The most common shareholding structure follows the one-share-one-vote principle, with each share of equity ownership providing a proportionate voting stake to the owner. However, many companies have multiple classes of shares that give some shareholders (typically founders and their families) greater voting rights. The technology sector in the U.S. in particular has seen a growing number of companies with multiple voting classes creating concern about the appropriateness of such voting control and the rights of minority or non-controlling shareholders in such companies.

The nature of shareholding and ownership concentration has also seen significant change especially in U.S. and European capital markets. One secular trend is the growth of index funds, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), and other such passive investment funds. Between 2007 and 2017 in the U.S., over $1.3 trillion flowed into passive investors with an almost similar outflow from traditional actively managed equity mutual funds. Over the same period, the holdings of the top 10 shareholders in the largest 500 U.S. companies that comprise the S&P 500 index rose from 21% to about 30%, a change driven largely by greater ownership of the passive investors. This shift in ownership raises questions about the role of passive index investors in the stewardship of companies where they hold very significant stakes. The large passive owners and others, especially pension funds, are exhibiting greater engagement with companies. A measure of such engagement is the over 700 shareholder proposals that are filed every year during annual shareholder meetings to influence companies to pursue a range of actions especially concerning executive compensation, shareholder rights, and environmental and social concerns. But the shape of such engagement is evolving as both investors and companies develop tools of engagement.

The rise in passive ownership has been accompanied by an increase in activism by hedge fund investors that take large stakes in companies and push them to adopt strategies and capital structure favored by the hedge fund. Between 2005 and 2017, there were between 200-300 such public campaigns every year against US-listed companies, not counting the many such efforts being conducted privately. During this period, an increasing number of campaigns were waged in other parts of the world as well, particularly in Europe but also in Asia. Such activists are often criticized for forcing companies to take short-term actions such as increasing share buybacks or spinning off divisions, though the empirical evidence on the consequences of activism is mixed with evidence of both costs and benefits. Overall, the rise of ownership concentration, greater shareholder engagement, and hedge-fund activism point to an era of greater shareholder influence over companies. These developments raise questions about the accountability of shareholders, particularly those who seek to influence corporate actions, and about the prevalent model of shareholder value maximization as the goal of good corporate governance.

These developments also raise questions about the responsibilities of institutional investors to the retail, or individual, investors, who are the ultimate owners or beneficiaries of the institutions holdings. Although institutional investors style themselves both as stewards of the corporations in which they invest and as fiduciaries for their own customers and clients, some commentators question whether they can play both or, indeed either, role effectively given the inherently conflicting interests involved and the nature of the passive investors low-cost business model. The reliance of many institutional investors on proxy advisory firms to guide their voting on important corporate matters has also raised questions about their capacity to act as stewards and about the influence of proxy advisors who, themselves, have no stake in the votes they recommend. The proxy voting system and the process by which shareholders are permitted to put forth proposals for a shareholder vote have also become matters of contention, with some arguing that the criteria for permissible proposals should be loosened, and others arguing that they should be tightened. In the U.S. and other jurisdictions, regulators, lawmakers, and others have begun to examine these matters more closely.

In this context, boards and managers would be well-advised to have a thorough understanding of their companies shareholder base and a deliberate approach to shareholder engagement. They should be prepared to be challenged by activist investors, and their overall governance arrangements should strike an appropriate balance of power among shareholders, the board, and management.

Questions for Boards and Managers:

Boards of directors

The board of directors is the corporations governing body. By law, the board is vested with authority to manage the corporations business and affairs, and the boards members have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the corporation and its shareholders. Boards are thus collegial bodies in the traditional sense that their members share authority and responsibility, and have both individual and collective accountability.

Boards typically delegate much of their authority to an executive team that carries out the day-to-day operations of the corporations business. However, some board duties cannot be delegated, and boards vary widely in the extent of their involvement in the business. The boards core functions typically include selecting, monitoring, advising, and compensating the chief executive; monitoring the companys financial structure and declaring dividends; deciding on major transactions and changes in control; monitoring the companys financial reporting and internal controls; and overseeing the companys strategy, performance, risk management, and compliance with relevant legal and ethical standards. It is sometimes supposed that a sharp line can be drawn between governing and managing, but that line is neither sharp nor fixed. Even a board that normally focuses on high-level governance matters may find itself drawn into management issues when the company is in crisis or distress.

The structure and leadership of boards, like the processes for selecting their members, vary widely by law and custom across jurisdictions. One visible and frequently noted difference is between unitary or single-tier boards, like those in the U.S., and two-tier boards such as those in Germany where companies typically have both a management board and a supervisory board. In the U.S., companies are frequently led by a single individual who serves as both chairman and CEO, whereas in other jurisdictions, the roles of chairman and CEO are more often separated and held by different individuals. In some jurisdictions, such as France or Hong Kong, it is customary for directors to be elected for multi-year terms on a staggered basis; in others, all directors are voted on annually. The laws and norms of some jurisdictions require boards to include a certain number of directors elected by employees or other constituency groups, or to have a defined mix of shareholder and employee representatives. Processes for nominating directors also vary, as do the roles and composition of board committees, although many jurisdictions require boards to have audit, remuneration, and nominating committees with at least a majority of directors who are independent.

Despite such differences, the past few decades have seen several trends in board composition that cut across jurisdictions. One is a growing presence of female directors who, once rare, are now mandated in some countries to be at least 40% of the boards total. The overall percentage of female directors remains low relative to their numbers in the workforce, but the pace at which female directors are being added appears to be accelerating and surveys suggest that adding women to boards has been beneficial for those boards. Another cross-region trend is an increase in the percentage of directors who are independent, in the sense that they have neither commercial nor family ties with the company or its management and are thus presumed to have a higher or more reliable capacity for objective judgment. Over the past decade, boards have become more independent, and independent directors have become more likely to meet in executive session separate from the management members of the board. Across the globe, high-performing boards are seeking to improve their effectiveness through more systematic self-assessment and succession planning, and by adding members with a more diverse set of skills, perspectives, and backgrounds.

Even though the functioning of boards is generally thought to have improved in recent decades, questions remain about the ability of boards, especially those of large public companies, to do the job expected of them. Dueling interpretations of the boards fiduciary duty only complicate the challenge. In 2018, for example, the UK Government announced new regulations clarifying the duties of pension fund trustees to consider the environmental, social, and governance risks and opportunities in the investment process. By comparison, the U.S. Department of Labor recently issued a bulletin urging pension fund fiduciaries to be cautious in considering environmental, social, and governance factors when making investment decisions. Although these pronouncements were both directed to pension fund fiduciaries rather than company directors, the underlying issue is one that company directors face as well and that is likely to be a source of ongoing tension in the years to come.

Questions for Boards and Managers:

Management

Corporations are complex organizations whose functioning depends on leadership and day-to-day management. Ensuring that such leadership and management are in place is perhaps the most important job of a companys board of directors. This job involves specific tasks such as appointing the companys chief executive, evaluating the executives performance, and deciding on executive pay, as well as planning for executive succession and, sometimes, removing an executive from office.

In recent years, the boards job has become more difficult in part because the CEOs job has become more difficult. As companies have become larger and more complex, and the pace of change has accelerated, the traditional activities of corporate leadership have become more challenging. In addition to market and competitive pressures, todays corporate leaders face an array of adverse forces ranging from heightened investor activism and volatile capital markets, to increased social and cultural diversity, mounting social and environmental challenges, political and regulatory uncertainty, and disruptive technologies changing industries across the globe. Despite these challenges, average tenure for departing CEOs at large US companies was 10.8 years in 2017, up from 7.2 in 2009, according to The Conference Board. However, boards are increasingly turning to outsiders rather than inside candidates for CEO appointments, especially in industries undergoing disruptive change, and the percentage of CEO successions attributable to ethical lapses, though small, has increased significantly in the past few years.

The heightened demands on corporate leaders have reinforced the importance of succession planning and raised questions about the qualities needed by todays executives. Many commentators say that traditional models are outmoded and that companies today need leaders who are equipped with a broader set of skills and capabilities and who are more diverse. Indeed, the vast majority of large-company CEOs are malejust 4.8% of the Fortune 500 had a female CEO in 2018. While some indicators suggest that boards are becoming more vigilant about succession, a 2018 survey of U.S. directors by PwC found that only a third thought their company was doing an excellent job of succession planning for the C-suite.

One of the boards most fraught tasks is developing an appropriate compensation package for the CEO and top management. Typically, this task is delegated to the boards compensation (or remuneration) committee. Deciding how and how much to pay is particularly challenging. The past few decades have seen a dramatic rise in CEO pay relative to corporate performance and to the pay of the average employee. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio at the 350 largest U.S. companies increased from 20-to-1 in 1965 to 312-to-1 in 2017. The rise has been attributed to an increase in the proportion of stock-related pay awarded to CEOs and to the widespread adoption of benchmarking which ratchets pay upward as each board seeks to ensure that its CEOs pay is above the average for the selected peer group. Some commentators defend the rise in executive pay as justified by the increased complexity and difficulty of the CEO job or by the returns generated for shareholders, but others see it as unmerited, excessive, and unfair. A number of jurisdictions have enacted Say-on-Pay laws that give shareholders a periodic vote on executive pay. These laws vary in their particulars but the evidence to date suggests that they have had little impact on executive pay levels, other than to slow the rate of growth in a few jurisdictions. A more recent effort to curb CEO pay growth in the U.S. requires companies to disclose the ratio of CEO-to-median employee pay on an annual basis. In 2018, the proxy statements of most U.S. public companies included this ratio for the first time.

Another challenge for boards is selecting performance measures and setting targets for variable awards under annual bonus and long-term incentive programs. Despite critiques of the pay for performance paradigm that underpins these programs, including studies linking aggressive targets to excessive risk-taking and destructive short-term behavior, the paradigm continues to shape the way boards approach executive pay. Proxy advisory firm ISS reports that Total Shareholder Return (TSR) remains the leading metric used by S&P 500 boards for their long-term incentive programs. Other widely used metrics are earnings, returns, sales, and cash flow measures.

At the same time more boards are also setting targets using non-financial metrics related to innovation, quality, culture, or other dimensions of corporate strategy, including social and environmental performance. The prevalence of these measures is difficult to gauge but they appear to be gaining ground. A 2017 study of 600 large U.S. companies by the sustainability non-profit Ceres found that about 8% linked executive pay to sustainability metrics beyond compliance with law, compared to just 3% in 2014. Recent amendments to Frances Afep-Medef Corporate Governance Code include a recommendation that criteria related to corporate social and environmental responsibility be integrated into executive compensation plans.

Critics of the prevailing system for selecting, evaluating, and rewarding corporate leaders point to the closed nature of the selection process, the narrowness of standard performance measures, the undue influence of executives whose own forecasts are used to set targets, the excessive complexity of many plans, and the outsized and sometime perverse rewards granted even to those who clearly fail at the job. Whether valid or not, these criticisms raise a set of questions that every board should consider in carrying out its responsibility to ensure that effective leadership and management are in place.

Questions for Boards and Managers:

Resource allocation and strategy

Corporations perform many functions in society one of which is mobilizing financial capital and allocating it to investment opportunities. Typically, senior managers work with other members of the organization to carry out this activity, while the board plays an oversight role. In some situations, however, decisions about how to use the companys resources rest with the board, either by law or under the companys by-lawsfor instance, whether to approve a major investment, declare a dividend, or authorize a share buyback. In theory, managers and boards allocate resources in a manner that advances the companys strategy, which itself is the result of a forward-looking process of identifying worthwhile opportunities and analyzing them in light of the companys distinctive capabilities and in view of the anticipated changes in the market, competitive landscape, and wider economic, political, regulatory, and social environment. The companys internal resource allocation process takes place within a capital markets context in which investors of various types are also deciding how to allocate their resources and whether to buy (or sell) the companys stock.

When corporate resource allocation is done well, companies are able to evolve and renew themselves over time, while at the same time producing a continuous flow of products and services that meet the needs of their customers and a continuous flow of profits that can be re-invested in the business or paid out to shareholders. In practice, however, resource allocation is extremely difficult, especially when it involves comparing businesses with different strategic characteristics, investments with long time horizons, or innovative projects with uncertain pay-offsto name a few of the common challenges. The difficulty is compounded by pressures from shareholders with differing objectives, time horizons, and tolerance for risk. As a consequence many managers give short shrift to strategic and human complexities when making resource allocation decisions and instead rely on standard financial tools such as discounted cash flow analysis. Costs and benefits to third partiesso-called externalitieshave not traditionally been part of this analysis. Thus, factors such as an increase in carbon emissions or potential risks to customers or employees are not typically considered in making these decisions.

In recent decades, this process and the resulting allocation of resources have come in for heightened scrutiny. As seen in numerous reportsby organizations such as The Aspen Institute, FCLTGlobal, The Conference Board, and othersa major concern has been short-termismthe idea that managers and boards are overly focused on generating near-term returns at the expense of investing in the future. It is said that boards and managers, under pressure from the capital markets, are investing too little in people, research, and innovation; paying too little attention to the longer-term human, environmental, and social costs of their resource allocation decisions; devoting too little time to understanding how evolving macro-trends are likely to affect future strategy; and too willing to cut expenses aimed at meeting future needs, such as training, research and development, and brand building, in order to boost current earnings and meet investors short-term expectations. Indeed, academic research suggests that many managers are willing to forego profitable investment opportunities if pursuing those opportunities would mean missing analysts quarterly earnings expectations, even by a small margin. The growth in share buybacks in recent years has also been cited as further evidence of a bias toward short-term shareholders and declining corporate re-investment though academic opinion on this point is divided.

Whatever the verdict on the significance of short-termism in the aggregatewhich also remains a matter of debate among academicssurveys indicate that for many boards and managers the tensions between near-term expectations and longer-term needs are acute. Such tensions are to some extent inherent in the job of governing, but the debate about short-termism suggests that the tensions can perhaps be better managed and somewhat mitigated through better oversight over strategy, more clarity about time frames, and improved communication with investors. The Coalition for Inclusive Capitalisms Embankment Project, which seeks to develop metrics that will allow companies to better communicate their ability to create value over the long term, is one of several efforts focused on this issue. But the debate also suggests the need for more radical innovation in how companies develop strategy and allocate resources. A first step is for boards to better understand these processes, the time frames that guide them, and the extent to which they include human, environmental, and social considerations. These matters raise questions of business judgment that boards and executives will increasingly be expected to address.

Questions for Boards and Managers:

Corporate performance

As fiduciaries, boards of directors are expected to keep a close watch on corporate performance. But what is corporate performance and how should it be assessed? Providers of capital, the prototypical users, seek performance information so that they can compare across opportunities to identify the best use of their capital and ensure effective ongoing stewardship of their investments. Other users may have different purposes for example, a lender wanting to ensure timely payment of interest and principal, or a corporate center allocating resources to various divisions. The board itself needs this information to assess the success of corporate strategy or to decide on executive compensation. Still others, such as a potential customer or employee, or a local community deciding whether to grant a zoning variance will likely have yet other needs. Such a variety of sources of demand for corporate performance information means that no one definition of performance or a simple measurement system will suffice.

When it comes to corporate financial performance, investors typically look to stock price measures (such as Total Shareholder Return or TSR) and accounting numbers (such as Return on Equity or Return on Assets). TSR, which is a direct measure of how much shareholders have benefitted, has become a significant determinant of executive compensation especially in the US. TSR provides an easy benchmark of relative performance across companies and over time. However, if stock price is driven by biases of investors especially of those who are short-term shareholders, then TSR is less useful as a metric of long-term value creation, the elusive benchmark against which any performance metric ought to be assessed. Measures based on accounting metrics are less subject to investor horizon concerns but are considered backward looking and subject to managerial manipulation. Moreover, accounting rules (codified as generally accepted accounting principles or GAAP) are slow to keep pace with rapid changes in business, technology, and organizational complexity. As a result, more managers are turning to alternative (non-GAAP) measures, such as adjusted income or cash operating return on assets, in an attempt to better describe the unique aspects of the business that are not captured by the conventional metrics.

Differing time horizons for assessing performance add further complexity to the challenge. Many stakeholders demand periodic assessment and reporting of performance, but operating and investment cycles do not conveniently correlate with calendar quarters or years. What then is the appropriate horizon? In most jurisdictions, listed companies are legally required to report their financial performance annually, and in many cases quarterly or at least half-yearly. But other users, such as boards of directors, have the option of measuring (and compensating) performance over longer horizons. Recognizing that no single metric (whether based on stock price or summary accounting metrics) or time horizon, is sufficient to capture the richness of business outcomes, some companies have adopted a dashboard approach based on ideas such as the balanced score card, for example, to measure interim outcomes rather than the ultimate objectives. This approach measures shorter-term indicators that will eventually lead to better overall outcomes. For instance, a company that relies on a strategy of long-term technological superiority, can measure and reward more immediate outcomes such as patent filings or the hiring and training of knowledge workers. This approach requires managers to develop a causal theory of drivers of performance, and to measure and motivate achievement of the intermediate drivers of performance that should eventually lead to long-term success.

In addition to measuring financial performance, companies are also being asked to measure their social and environmental performance on various dimensions ranging from diversity and inclusion, to customer privacy and supply chain conditions, to human rights and carbon emissions. This demand is driven in part by investors and others who believe that a companys social and environmental performance is relatedcausally or otherwiseto its long-term financial performance, and in part by those who believe that social and environmental performance is important in its own right or required as a matter of corporate citizenship for the healthy functioning of society and the broader economy. Although some academic studies purport to show the financial benefits of strong social or environmental performance, the overall evidence of a linkage is inconclusive and the matter is unlikely to be resolved by academic studies given the many ways of measuring these different types of performance and the many factors that influence how companies perform on each of them. More promising are efforts to explore the relationship between specific social and environmental factors, often referred to as sustainability factors, and financial performance. The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), for instance, is seeking to determine which environmental and social factors are financially material on an industry-by-industry basis.

Corporate performance measurement remains an exciting area of innovation and debate, both in terms of the appropriate measures and the appropriate horizon of measurement. Companies are experimenting with broader disclosure of strategy and drivers of long-term success while recognizing that investors and other stakeholders often prefer summary metrics and shorter-term outcomes as a way of identifying trouble early. How best to define and measure corporate performanceand over what time frameare first-order questions that should be on every boards agenda.

Questions for Boards and Managers:

Corporate oversight

The boards responsibility to oversee corporate risk is widely recognized, but interpretations of what this responsibility requires vary widely. Traditionally, it was seen as quite limited. For example, under the law of Delaware, legal home to more than 60% of the Fortune 500, boards were initially responsible just for addressing violations of law that came to their attention, and the focus was mainly on accounting, financial reporting, and antitrust violations. In the 1990s, the duty was expanded to require boards to ensure that management set up information and control systems to monitor for such violations, but still with an emphasis on accounting and financial misconduct. Although boards legal duties of oversight have changed little since then, public expectations have continued to evolve as businesses have grown larger and more complex, and the consequences of corporate failure more far-reaching.

Indeed, boards today are expected to oversee an extensive and ever-expanding menu of risks. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the boards of banks and financial institutions were taken to task for paying insufficient attention to excessive financial risk. The recent spate of behavioral complaints against senior corporate leaders has raised questions about board oversight of executive conduct and caught numerous boards off guard. On a different front, various companies have suffered serious breaches of cybersecurity that have exposed a lack of preparedness and resulted in significant reputational damage; others have been tripped up by data privacy concerns and are facing political and user backlash. Environmental disasters, labor abuses in the supply chain, mistreatment of customersthese are other examples of the new breed of risk management issues that are consuming the attention of boards.

The broadening menu of risks has created a challenge for traditional practices of internal controls and is testing the ability of boards to provide adequate oversight. Since the financial crisis, the internal audit and risk management functions have received significantly greater attention especially in banks and financial institutions. All large banks in the U.S. now have a risk committee of the board and a chief risk officer function, reflecting the realization that a robust risk function is strategically important for sustainable growth and profitability. Similarly, in other industries, boards have adopted new risk oversight protocols or enlarged the mandate of the audit committee beyond traditional audit and internal control matters to include the oversight of other risks. Some, like the banks, have created a dedicated risk committee while others have assigned particular categories of risk oversight to various other committees, such as conduct risk to an ethics and compliance committee, or supply chain risk to a sustainability committee. Boards have also sought to educate themselves about cyber risk and made cyber a defined area of board oversight.

Recurring cases of large-scale employee participation in reckless or illegal behaviorsuch as the mortgage-lending scandals leading up to the 2008 financial crisis or the diesel emissions scandals at several large auto makershave created a growing recognition that organizational culture is a key factor in driving risk. This insight has led to efforts by various supervisory bodies and professional organizations to educate boards about organizational culture. Reports by groups such as The Group of Thirty (G30), the UK Financial Reporting Council, and the US National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) reveal what decades of academic studies have shown: that an organizations culture and the risks associated with it cannot be understood in isolation or managed solely through traditional control and compliance mechanisms since it is a multi-faceted phenomenon resulting from numerous factors. Among the most important are the example set by the companys leaders; the companys business model and strategy; and its various systems for making decisions, hiring and motivating employees, and rewarding performance. Overseeing risk thus requires boards to go well beyond their traditional monitoring activities and to develop new ways of gauging the pulse of the organization. This task is being aided through advances in data science and computing abilities that are allowing digital compliance tools and predictive analytic capabilities to be used to help with risk management, especially in banks and financial institutions.

Most directors today recognize the importance of robust oversight, but it is unclear whether boards, as they are currently constituted and operate, are up to the task. The increasing size and complexity of companies, the expanding array of risk areas, and the difficulty boards have in getting the information needed to exercise effective oversight all bode poorly for a positive answer to this question. To be sure, other institutions, some internal and some external to the organization, also provide oversight. Large investors, proxy advisors, regulators, the media, NGOs, the general publicall play a role. However, it is doubtful that these institutions can substitute for boards and, indeed, it could be argued that these institutions can be effective only if boards themselves are effective. In the coming years, boards can expect increasing pressure to strengthen their risk oversight capabilities while at the same time driving the kind of entrepreneurial innovation needed for sustainable growth and profitability.

Questions for Boards and Managers:

Corporate reporting

Boards of directors play an important role in ensuring that investors and the public receive accurate and timely information about corporate activities and performance. In some areas, such as accounting and financial reporting, disclosures are highly regulated and standardized, and the boards role, through its audit committee, is largely to ensure that the companys reporting adheres to the relevant standards, and to make accounting policy choices as permitted under those standards. In other areas, such as disclosures about the CEOs health, potential future investments, or the companys sustainability efforts, boards must rely on their own business judgment and assessment of the informations materiality in deciding whether and when disclosures are appropriate. In recent years, boards and audit committees have faced an increasingly complex set of reporting and disclosure challenges.

One set of challenges has arisen from the globalization of capital flows. Prior to 2002, regulators around the world required domestic companies to report their financial performance using the countrys own locally codified accounting and financial reporting standards, such as the U.S.s generally accepted accounting principles (US GAAP). In 2002, however, the European Union (EU) adopted the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) as the common standard for all companies traded in the EU. By 2018, 166 countries had adopted IFRS, albeit to different degrees, and the IASB had become the recognized accounting standard setting institution for most of the world. While the US has continued to require domestic listed companies to follow US GAAP in preparing financial reports, non-U.S. companies listed in the US are permitted to report using either IFRS or US GAAP. In an ongoing effort, the US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has been working with the IASB to harmonize US GAAP with IFRS and to develop a common set of global accounting standards that enable investors to compare the financial reports of companies across the world. In the interim, boards and auditors face vexing issues that arise, for example, when a company that reports under IFRS acquires a company that reports under GAAP.

Another set of challenges has arisen from the spread of mark-to-market or fair value accounting for a growing number of asset classes. In contrast to historical cost accounting, the dominant methodology for measuring value, fair value accounting aims to measure the value of corporate resources and value created using current market prices. Fair value accounting originated as a way of making financial statement numbers more timely and relevant, especially the values reported for tradable securities and the many new financial products developed in recent years to manage risk, such as hedges, forward contracts, futures, swaps, and options. However, fair value accounting also gives managers greater discretion to determine values, particularly when market prices are not readily available, and thus makes greater demands on auditors and audit committees to ensure the integrity of reported figures.

Similar issues are posed by the emergence of new business models arising from rapid innovations in technology. The challenges are perhaps most apparent in the medical sciences (e.g., the growth of biotechnology) and digital technology (starting with the internet and accelerating with the growth of mobile computing, the cloud, AI, and data science revolution). New business models enabled by these technologiesonline platforms and bundled products hosted in the cloud, among othersare outpacing the development of performance measures that capture their true economic value. Companies have responded by producing measurements and reporting figures that arguably better reflect their businesses but that are inconsistent with conventional reporting metrics. While non-conventional measures may have merit, they also obviate the benefits of uniform measurement rules, make it more difficult for users to draw meaningful conclusions, and call for greater vigilance on the part of boards and audit committees.

In parallel with these new challenges, companies have faced heightened demands to provide various types of non-financial information, especially about their social and environmental impacts. These demands range from calls for specific types of disclosuresabout climate-related risks, conflict minerals in the supply chain, political spending, or various pay ratios, for exampleto calls for comprehensive periodic reports on companies social and environmental performance. Over the past few decades corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting, also called sustainability reporting, has evolved from an ad hoc activity undertaken by a few select companies to a routine practice at many of the worlds large businesses. Although there is no legally mandated framework for such reporting, many companies have adopted the standards put forth by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) which cover a wide range of topics from human rights and workplace equity to environmental compliance, anti-corruption efforts, and customer privacy. The proliferation of sustainability topics has prompted various efforts to narrow and systematize the field. Perhaps the most ambitious has been the push for integrated reporting, launched in 2009 by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). The IIRC has put forth a reporting framework that integrates financial and non-financial information through a value creation model based on six capitals: financial, human, social, intellectual, natural, and manufactured.

The long history of generally accepted accounting principles suggests that it is likely to be some time before sustainability or integrated reporting becomes standardized and widely accepted as a part of doing business. In the meantime, boards and companies will face difficult decisions about reporting and disclosure on both financial and non-financial matters. Although the merits of transparency are evident, and the availability of accurate and timely information is crucial for the effective functioning of markets and society, gathering and reporting on corporate-wide information can be costly. As demands for more extensive reporting and disclosure continue to escalate, boards and companies will be challenged to find more efficient and more meaningful ways to respond.

Questions for Boards and Managers:

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A Guide to the Big Ideas and Debates in Corporate Governance - Harvard Business Review

15 Ground-Breaking Companies Join the 10th Unreasonable Impact Program to Tackle the World’s Most Pressing Challenges – Business Wire

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--For twelve intensive days this October, fifteen entrepreneurs from across North America will gather at the 10th Unreasonable Impact program to accelerate the growth of their companies.

Impacting the future of food, energy, sustainable living and supply chains, each entrepreneur is selected to participate based on their potential to create at least 500 jobs within the next five years.

The companies range from TreeZero, which is making North Americas only 100 percent tree-free, carbon-neutral paper products, to 75F, which is using the Internet of Things to improve the efficiency of buildings, to MycoTechnology, which creates sustainable plant-based protein using a unique mushroom fermentation process. Cumulatively, the fifteen ventures have generated more than USD $245 million in revenue and raised USD $410 million in funding.

Unreasonable Impact is an innovative partnership between Barclays and Unreasonable Group that supports growth-stage ventures tackling some of the worlds most pressing social and environmental challenges to scale and create thousands of new jobs. Each program connects the entrepreneurs to a global community of world-class mentors and industry specialists, including experts from across Barclays.

Joe McGrath, Global Head of Banking at Barclays, said, We are delighted to welcome the latest cohort of ventures on to the program and to partner with Unreasonable Group to support them on their journey to scale. At the forefront of innovation in their sectors, we continue to be inspired by each entrepreneur as they challenge the status quo with their impactful solutions.

Daniel Epstein, Founder and CEO of Unreasonable Group, said: Unreasonable Impact represents one of the fastest-growing networks of impact ventures in the world, demonstrating that its possible to do well and good at the same time. We are humbled to have worked with over 100 ventures and to continue to support their growth.

To date, the over 100 ventures that comprise the Unreasonable Impact community have positively impacted more than 187 million people, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 28.8 million tons, and have generated more than 20,000 net new jobs. The companies have also raised more than USD $2 billion in funding.

For more information, visit http://www.unreasonableimpact.com.

The participating companies include:

75F: Utilizing the Internet of Things and the latest in cloud computing to create systems that predict, monitor and manage the needs of buildings.

80 Acres Farms: Converting urban spaces into ultra-efficient indoor farms that produce accessible, tasty, and affordable local food year-round.

Aeroseal: Sealing leaks in air ducts and vents with a patented technology that delivers comfort, healthier air, and substantial energy savings to homes and buildings everywhere.

Francis: Providing a wide range of electric vehicle infrastructure solutions that enable customers to lower their utility bills and achieve energy independence.

Igor: Transforming buildings from a fixed asset to a highly integrated, automated, data-driven machine built for efficiency, comfort, and agility.

LoveTheWild: Producing the worlds most resource efficient and environmentally friendly animal protein.

Modumetal: Manufacturing a new class of nano-laminated metals that are stronger, lighter, and more corrosion resistant than conventional metals and alloys.

MycoTechnology: Increasing the availability of healthy, sustainable, and high-quality food options through mushroom fermentation.

Propel Fuels: Connecting consumers to a network of low-carbon fuel options, accelerating the transition to an equitable and zero-carbon future.

Sistema.bio: Developing prefabricated modular biodigesters to bring clean energy and sustainable agricultural practices to over 100 million farms.

Skyven Technologies: Decarbonizing the industrial sector with clean, emissions-free solutions that save customers money by turning industrial plants into their own heat sources.

Smarter Sorting: Building the worlds first smart chemical database, using machine learning to provide a reuse solution for household hazardous waste.

Switch Automation: Making all buildings smarter and more sustainable with a platform that integrates data, systems, and equipment to reduce operating and energy expenses.

The Jackfruit Company: Making jackfruit mainstream by providing consumers with this delicious, healthy, sustainably-sourced meat alternative that also improves farmer incomes.

TreeZero: Fighting deforestation by making North Americas only 100 percent tree-free, carbon-neutral paper products.

About Unreasonable Impact, created with Barclays

Unreasonable Impact is an innovative multi-year partnership between Barclays and Unreasonable Group to launch the worlds first international network of accelerators focused on scaling up entrepreneurial solutions that will help employ thousands worldwide in the emerging green economy. Since 2016, Unreasonable Impact has hosted programs each year in three distinct markets: the Americas, UK and Europe, and Asia Pacific. To date, the more than 100 ventures that comprise the global cohort operate in more than 180 countries, have raised over $2.1bn USD in funding, have generated over $2bn USD in revenue, and have created more than 20,000 net new jobs since joining Unreasonable Impact. For more information, please visit http://www.unreasonableimpact.com.

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer and wholesale bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US. With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 83,500 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide. For further information about Barclays, please visit http://www.home.barclays.

About Unreasonable Group

Unreasonables mission is to drive resources to and break down barriers for entrepreneurs solving key global challenges (i.e. ensuring renewable energy reaches the 1.3 billion people currently without electricity, reimagining the future of healthcare, or addressing the global unemployment crisis). Through running worldwide accelerator programmes, a globally oriented private equity fund, an extensive network of over 300 serial business leaders as mentors, and advanced storytelling and media activities, Unreasonable is designed to exclusively support entrepreneurs positioned to solve society's toughest problems. For more information about Unreasonable, please visit http://www.unreasonablegroup.com.

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15 Ground-Breaking Companies Join the 10th Unreasonable Impact Program to Tackle the World's Most Pressing Challenges - Business Wire

Rural banks still banking on government support to help farmers, SMEs, amid shrinking ratios – Business Mirror

By Bianca S. Cuaresma and Alladin S. Diega

BANKS rely on trust and risks. But because there are risks in trust, some banks are averse to, if not totally avoid, small-holding farmers and small retailers as their main clients.

Some bankers would invariablyuse keywords or phrases such as not profitable enough, higher cost in termsof providing service or outright risky.

Oddly enough, these traitsexactly describe the main clientele of the New Rural Bank of San Leonardo(NRBSL). According to Abundio D. Quililan Jr., president and CEO of NRBSL, hisbanks main advocacy is to help alleviate poverty in areas where it is mostsevere, by opting to establish their financial services where it mostdesperately needed.

NRBSL deliberately butsystematically provides financial services to these groups even at higher costand greater risk, Quililan told the BusinessMirror.Other financial institutions might do otherwise due to difficulties inmanaging small borrowers whose projects are prone to failures and variouslimiting circumstances.

He added that the bank usesevery opportunity to partner with government agencies and other like-mindedorganizations, such as local government units, government agencies, or civilsociety organisations (CSOs) in pursuit of ways to help alleviate poverty andpromote financial inclusion.

THE 25-year-old NRBSL has beena long-time partner of the Agricultural Guarantee Fund Pool (AGFP) and theSmall Business Corp. under its Portfolio Guarantee Facility.

In 2018, the bank became among the first rural banks in the country tobe a partner-conduit of the Department of Agricultures Agricultural Credit andPolicy Council (DA-ACPC) in the implementation of the agencys production loanprogram for small farmers that entails no cost and no risk arrangement on thepart of the lender.

Farmers can access this creditfund for production without being required to provide collateral. However, theyneed to undergo the usual process required to secure a loan from any ruralbank. Farmers could also secure from this fund any technical assistance andadditional assistance in reviewing project plans to increase viability and,hence, the capacity of the farmers to pay it back.

These government guaranteeschemes are the crucial factors that allowed NRBSL to fulfil its mission amongfarmers and micro-entrepreneurs while at the same time achieving soundfinancial condition, Quililan said. He added that without the aegis provided bythe government guarantee schemes, NRBSLS portfolio mix would have beendifferent and would favor more secured transactions in keeping with the banksusual practices. Quililan explained these government arrangements were given tothe NRBSL in recognition of its many years of proven advocacy with farmers.

THE bank, which began in themunicipality of San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija, also favors agricultural productionand agriculture-based industries with potential for business growth. The peoplebehind these agri-based industries have growing financial requirements becauseof their high-value crop and hybrid livestock production projects.

The intent behind this is yet another advocacy of the NRBSL, which isto encourage agri-based business initiatives for food security purposes whileallowing higher income generation capabilities among farmers and livestockraisers.

The bank has also venturedinto other development loan projects with social impact such as waterutilities, property distribution, health-related projects, education andsimilar services. These accounts are also enrolled for guarantee coverage iffound eligible under the rules, Quililan said.

Almost 80 percent of NRBSLsborrowers are from the agriculture and microenterprise sector and its exposureto these industries account for nearly 40 percent of its overall loan portfolio.

He added that out of its 8,408active loan accounts, about 6,702 come from small farming communities andmicro-enterprises, which are often excluded in the delivery of financialservices.

This represents a total loanportfolio of P969.54 million in 2018, where P385.33 million, or 39.7 percent,were loaned to small farmers and microfinance clients.

ACCORDING to Quililan, theBangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) recently approved the renewal of theCertificate of Accreditation of NRBSL as a Rural Financial Institution (RFI)under Republic Act (RA) 10000, otherwise known as the Agri-Agra Law.

The grant of renewal indicatesNRBSLs long promotion of developing the local economy through agriculturalfinancing, specifically for the small and often asset-less farmers who do nothave access to affordable credit, large-scale agricultural producers.

The renewal comes with otherbenefits for the NRBSLit is now authorized to retain and accept more depositsfrom other banks as alternative compliance to the Agri-Agra Law that requiresall banks to set aside certain portion of their portfolio for the agriculturalsector. As deposits placed with NRBSL are considered alternative compliancewith the said law, Special Deposit Account placements by other bankscontributed significantly in fund mobilization for its agriculture financingprogram.

QUILILAN said that his teamconsiders the RFI certification as hard-earned. It is also a specialrecognition, as there are only eight remaining financial institutions the BSPhas granted accreditation in its recent announcement.

Under the category of loansgranted to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) where the required minimumexposure is 10 percent, the NRBSL posted a high 47-percent compliance ratewhile majority of commercial banks including some rural banks were founddeficient, Quililan said. He noted that the marginalized farmers are usuallyARBs in communities with no banking services.

NRBSLs records show the banksurpassed the mandatory allocation of 15 percent on other agricultural creditat a 30-percent compliance rate. The excess compliance of NRBSL reached P194million by end of December 2018.

This amount is the limit ofadditional Special Deposit Account placements that NRBSL can accept from otherbanks for their alternative compliance with RA 10000, Quililan explained.

AS the NRBSL is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary, it is remindedof its roots in 1992, the year nongovernment organization Management andOrganizational Development for Empowerment (MODE) was organized. Recognizingthe lack of available finance in rural communities, it immediately commissioneda feasibility study on a small rural bank that will cater mainly to farmers,particularly ARBs.

With the implementation of theComprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, the ARBs were suddenly faced withopportunities and challenges. The ARBs did not have the capacity to financetheir cost of production, from seeds to simple farm implements or tools.

The MODE NGO itself at firstengaged exclusively in research and studies to help farmers navigate within theCARP ecosystem. The organization also sought to enable the ARBs through skillstraining and capacity-building activities. Later, the organization woulddirectly engage in local economy development, providing funding for the farmersthat are being organized and provided training to further enhance their skills.Most of MODEs activities were in the Visayas, particularly in Northern Samar.

In 1994, the NRBSL wasorganized with MODE as owner, intending to democratize the shares later throughindividual stocks or nominees. As a separate financial entity, the NRBSL wouldlater adopt MODEs advocacy on local economy development, with particular focuson the farmers.

While majority of rural banks are owned by families and theirindividual members, majority of NRBSLs shares are owned not by an individualbut by an organization with an advocacy focused on local economy development.This partly explains the banks consistent program with farmers andmicro-entrepreneurs as main clientele.

ACCORDING to Quililan, despitethe risk in having the farmers and other small-time clients, the bank was ableto maintain its profitability. He credits this to systematic and devotedmanagement.

From a total resource of P729million in 2014, the NRBSL was able to double that to P1.5 billion by the endof 2018. Quililan noted that the current size of its total assets was achievedby the NRBSL in just a span of two years after it crossed the P1-billion level.

As a long-term part of itstarget for expansion, the NRBSL opened new branches last year, one each inDingalan, Aurora; Cabiao, Zaragoza; and Pantabangan. For this year, anotherbatch of branches in Cubao, Quezon City; San Simon, Pampanga; Nampicuan, NuevaEcija, and San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, will start operations. These wouldbring to 24 the banks total of branches across five provinces in Central Luzonand the National Capital Region.

The bank considers the recentestablishment of a branch office in Cubaos Araneta Center as anotherachievement. Quililan said no ordinary rural bank is granted a license tooperate in the Metropolis, a highly concentrated area for millions of residentsand commercial establishments.

LAST year, the NRBSL receivedfrom the DA-ACPC a total funding of P80 million. Quillilan said this amount is,by far, the biggest exposure to a partner rural bank by the agency.

He added this will allow themto secure additional beneficiaries of the bank, which currently number almost athousand individual marginalized farmers, under the DA-ACPC.

In 2017 and 2018, the NRBSLplaced first in the coveted Gawad Countryside Financial Institution Award givenby the Land Bank of the Philippines for its partners nationwide.

Aside from the Production LoanEasy Access (Plea) of the DAsACPC, the bank was chosen as conduit for the distribution of funds under itsprogram for disaster victims and acquisition of machineries.

The NRBSL also helped severalsmall-scale enterprises and medium-scale enterprises acquire permanent businesssites near market areas in Nueva Ecija and Tarlac through a memorandum ofagreement (MOA) with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of La Paz, Tarlac, andproperty owners in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija. The MOA is a tripartite frameworkinvolving property owners, business operators and the bank in the award ofcommercial stall rights or acquisition of prime properties inside marketfacilities.

The NRBSL provides socializedfinancing schemes affordable to ordinary entrepreneurs for activities that areappropriate and consistent with their income stream to ensure permanent placeof business and working capital for trading their merchandises.

THE NRBSL has also venturedinto the housing sector.

But unlike traditional homeloans offered by commercial banks to professionals, Quililan said the NRBSLsapproach is to make available financing programs that are secured by the HomeGuaranty Corp. or other arrangements with local government units that areaccessible, affordable and under flexible repayment schemes and in sync with theincome cycle of crop and livestock producers.

According to Quililan, theNRBSLs approach to direct poverty reduction, particularly in transforming thepoor from subsistence living to sustainable income generation, is to work withLGUs, CSOs or NGOs with advocacy on local economy development.

For instance, the municipalityof Dingalan, Aurora, was a long-time recipient of NRBSLs corporate socialresponsibility projects, the coastal community inhabited by the Dumagatindigenous people. The NRBSL regularly allocates resources on high-impactinitiatives in the fields of health and concerns of the Dumagats.

Last year, the bank opened abranch in Dingalan to offer financing services to its residents. Earlier in2017, the NRBSL was joined by NGOs and LGUs to work on a plan tocomprehensively help develop the full potential of the poor municipality.

AS part of its liquiditymanagement strategy, Quililan said the NRBSL is maintaining its stable coredeposit base, by keeping the pool of depositors broad and encouraging smallsavers to place their money with NRBSL.

The special license granted bythe BSP to undertake solicitation of deposits outside bank premises enabled itto reach out to depositors in their residences and business sites, Quililanexplained. Targeting these small savers using the basic deposit account productalso is a way for bank to promote financial inclusion, he added.

With this profile of itsdepositors, the bank is able to maintain a safe, simple and low-risk fundmanagement practices. The practice enables also the NRBSL to determine anappropriate liquidity level which eases the pressure in maintainingunnecessarily high cash position.

At P1.525 billion in totalresources, the NRBSL is currently ranked 27th in industry, making it the fourthbiggest rural bank in Central Luzon.

The NRBSL used to be at the26th spot. However, two new banks created from the consolidation of severalinstitutions entered the list of the countrys top 25 rural banks.

Overall, NRBSLs industrypositioning is stable and is still among the fast-growing rural banksnationwide.

OVERALL data from the BSPshows that even rural and cooperative bankswhose major market are thecountryside farmers and fishermenare finding it increasingly hard to comply tothe mandatory lending to the agrarian reform and agricultural sector.

Five-year data trend from thecentral bank showed that while rural and cooperative banks are still the onlybanking group able to comply with the agri-agra lending quotas, their share inthis sector has been shrinking over the years.

The mandated lending toagriculture and agrarian reformknown as the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of2009, requires banks to allocate 25 percent of their total loan portfolio tothe two sectors10 percent for the agrarian reform credit and 15 percent toother agricultural credit.

Only rural and cooperativebanks are known to be able to comply with this loan quota, with universal,commercial and thrift banks choosing to pay penalties instead of allocatingcredit for these risky sectors.

In end-2013, rural andcooperative banks were able to allocate 24.53 percent of their total loanportfolio to agrarian reform credit, way above the 10-percent mandate. For theagriculture sector, rural and cooperative banks set 44.59 percent of their loanportfolio to this sector, also exceeding the 15 percent quota.

This, however, wentsignificantly down in the last five years.

IN end-2014, rural andcooperative banks allocation to the agrarian reform sector went down to 18.47percent while their lending to the agricultural sector hit 34.21 percent. Thiswent further down the next year, with lending to agrarian reform sectorreaching only 17.99 percent of their portfolio and lending to agriculturesector, to 34.03 percent.

In end-2016, the share ofagri-agra lending to the rural and cooperative banks total loan portfoliofurther shrank to 16.44 percent for the agrarian reform and 28.79 percent forthe agricultural sector.

Last year, this went furtherdown to 13.53 percent for the agrarian reform and 24.97 percent foragricultural credit.

For the first half of 2018,the trend continued to go down, with agrarian reform credit only making up11.18 percent of the rural and cooperative banks total loan portfolio, and24.46 percent for the agriculture-related credit.

While these numbers stillexceed the mandate, they have gone significantly down in five years time.

BSP officials, including itsdeputy governor Chuchi Fonacier, have long acknowledged the gap, saying thelack of financial access of the agricultural sector is one of the leadingcauses behind its underperformance.

We recognize that one of themajor hindrances to the flourishing of the agricultural sector islimitedseverely limitedaccess to finance, Fonacier earlier said.

TO increase their presence inthe countryside, more rural banks are opting to open up branch-lite units inan effort to expand their reach without adhering to the stricter central bankrequirements needed to open a regular branch.

Data from the BSP as publishedin circular letter CL-2018.085 showed thrift and rural banks opened a total of54 branch-lite units in July to September 2018 alone.

This is about a year after theBSP allowed the establishment of these so-called branch-lite units as annexesof banks to promote access to efficient and competitive banking services.

Thrift and rural banks tookparticular advantage of this regulation, with 27 new branch-lite units stemmingfrom thrift banks and 27 new branch-lite units branching from rural andcooperative banks in the third quarter of the year.

The BSP defines branch-liteunits as an office or place of business of a bank that performs limited bankingactivities and records its transactions in the books of the head office or thebranch to which it is annexed.

Since these units are limitedin the services they offer, they are also subject to proportionate regulatoryframework, which means less strict rules and more flexibility to executefinancial strategies and innovations.

Bulacan, Batangas, Pangasinanand Puerto Princesa were among the top areas where thrift banks establishedtheir branch-lite units, while Quirino, North Cotabato and Isabela were the toppicks for rural and cooperative banks.

Rural and cooperative banks have 3,106 branches nationwidein end-April 2019, BSP data showed.

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Rural banks still banking on government support to help farmers, SMEs, amid shrinking ratios - Business Mirror

Made in Edmonton: The ambition to create a billion dollar tech giant – Global News

Right in the middle of downtown, on Jasper Avenue, dozens of workers are busy.

They work for Jobber, a company that started in 2011.

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We, I think, in the early days just were so excited about the fact that we were able to build software that was solving a real world problem, says Sam Pillar, the CEO and co-founder of Jobber.

The company works with small and home-based businesses, providing software which automates critical functions like invoicing and scheduling.

Recently, Jobber was named the seventh fastest growing company in the country by Canadian Business magazine.

It has amassed 70 thousand customers in 43 countries.

Last week, Sam Pillar sat down with Global News, speaking about the goal to create a home grown, billion dollar tech company, as well as offering insight into growing the tech scene locally.

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This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Vinesh Pratap: Take us back to 2011?

Sam Pillar: We (co-founder Forrest Zeisler) were both working on personal projects and kept running into each other in the coffee shops that we were working in. Thats actually an important dynamic for a start up ecosystem. We kind of got lucky. He was interested in the idea I was working on cause (sic) he had a friend that was working at a painting company who asked about software for their painting company.

Pillar spoke at length about the dynamics for a start-up ecosystem.

SP: I think it behooves us to kind of think about consolidating as much of that community as we possibly can, whether it be into virtual or physical spaces so we can increase the odds of collisions happening. Theres way more of that happening today than there was in 2010, 2011 when we first got going. And so, thats really encouraging to me.

VP: You want to build the first billion dollar tech company here. Thats a pretty bold statement.

Pillar indicated its a doable goal, using the example of e-commerce giant Shopify, which is based in Ottawa.

SP: We have very smart people. We have a cost advantage in Canada. Theres no reason that we shouldnt have ambitions to create more Shopify like companies that operate on a global scale and really kind of elevate Canada as a contributor at that table, rather than just being a natural resource economy.

VP: What makes you want to stay here?

SP: In Edmonton, theres a little bit more of a blue collar, entrepreneurial vibe. I really like that. I think that sort of serves very well, the kinds of people that we want part of this company for the long term. Theres sort of like a grit and strength of character that probably comes from the weather. Im serious. I think having to figure out how to deal in this kind of environment has knock-on effects that I think are non-trivial.

Jobber has nearly 200 employees now, split between the Edmonton head office and Toronto.

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Early in the new year, the company will finish a move to a new headquarters space a couple of blocks from their current location.

Jobber will take up three floors in the 103 Street Centre with an option to expand on to two others, if required.

2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Made in Edmonton: The ambition to create a billion dollar tech giant - Global News

Federal election 2019: Where do the parties stand on taxes and deficits? – The Globe and Mail

Big, broad-based tax cuts are at the core of both the Liberal and Conservative campaign platforms in 2019.

Both parties are also offering voters a buffet of boutique tax breaks, which they highlight on the campaign trail in an effort to woo key slices of the electorate.

The two platforms, should either be implemented, would shave billions annually from federal revenues, raising questions as to how each party will make their numbers work.

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The NDP and Greens also face questions about their numbers, but from a different perspective. They each take a pass on big tax cuts in favour of major new spending, which would be paid for in part by large tax increases using methods that are untested in Canada, such as an annual wealth tax on the countrys richest citizens.

Here, The Globe and Mail takes a closer look at where the parties stand on tax.

Canadas federal parties are presenting their ideas on how much tax to collect and in what ways in order to pay for their budget priorities.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Under Justin Trudeaus Liberal government, Ottawa ran deficits every year. Those deficits increase the size of the federal debt, which stood at $685-billion as of the end of March.

But when federal finances are measured as a percentage of the economy, the federal debt is below the historical average, as are federal spending and tax revenues.

Based on the past 52 years for which there is public Finance Department data, the average size of federal revenues is 16.3 per cent of GDP. That figure was 15 per cent in 2018-19 and was below 15 per cent for the previous decade.

Federal program spending averaged 15.3 per cent historically and stood at 14.6 per cent in 2018-19.

The debt-to-GDP ratio has averaged 38.1 per cent over those 52 years. It now stands at 30.9 per cent, after falling from a peak of 66.8 per cent in 1994-95, which was when concern from international rating agencies over Canadas indebtedness led to the deficit-fighting budgets of the mid-1990s. The Parliamentary Budget Office has said federal finances are currently sustainable for the long term, but provincial finances are not.

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The federal government climbed out of deficit in 1997-98 when it posted its first surplus in 28 years. Ottawa then ran 11 consecutive years of surpluses, before falling back into deficit in 2008-09 at the time of a global financial crisis. Ottawa has been in the red since. (The Conservative government recorded a small surplus for 2014-15, but the Liberal government later approved an accounting change that retroactively turned that year into a small deficit.)

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau campaigns in Montreal on Oct. 3, 2019.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

A Liberal government would increase the basic personal amount of income an individual can earn before paying any tax to $15,000 up from $13,229. This will save the average family nearly $600 a year, according to the Liberals. While an increase to the basic personal amount would normally benefit all taxpayers, the Liberal promise would start to phase out this tax break for those with incomes above $150,605 and it would be fully phased out for those with income above $214,557.

After the broad-based tax cut, the second-largest item in the platform is a 10 per cent increase to Old Age Security payments for all seniors 75 and over. That will cost $1.6-billion in the first year, rising to $2.5-billion in the fourth year. The third-largest item is increased funding for health care, followed by more than $1-billion a year to increase the Canada Child Benefit for parents with children under the age of one, providing families with up to $1,000 more.

Some of the other specific demographics that stand to benefit from Liberal platform pledges include first-time homebuyers in Canadas largest cities, campers and Canadians looking to buy a used electric vehicle.

The four-year Liberal platform adds up to $56.9-billion in new spending and tax cuts. To pay for this, the platform identifies $25.4-billion in new revenue, including an internal spending review and tax increases aimed at large companies and high-wealth individuals through a new tax on luxury items priced over $100,000.

The $31.5-billion shortfall between those two numbers would mean larger deficits over that period than previously projected. The Liberal platform offers no timeline for balancing the books. Instead, the party says the federal debt-to-GDP is already low at 30.9 per cent of GDP and the platform pledges would keep that ratio on a slight downward trend.

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Economists generally agree that small deficits are not a major concern. Yet allowing the deficit to reach as high as $27-billion when the economy is relatively healthy raises questions as to what a Liberal government would do if as many expect the global economy soon takes a turn for the worse.

Independent costing of some Liberal promises by the Parliamentary Budget Officer also point to vulnerabilities in the partys numbers. For instance, the PBO says there is little doubt that the proposed broad-based tax cut would reduce federal revenues by over $5-billion a year.

Yet the PBO notes there is a high degree of uncertainty as to whether some of the partys revenue-raising plans will produce the extra money the party expects.

Former PBO Kevin Page and his team at the University of Ottawas Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy are reviewing all costed platforms based on whether they demonstrate reasonable fiscal management and economic assumptions. The IFSD rated the Liberal platform with an overall score of good.

However, former Finance Department officials Peter DeVries and Scott Clark reviewed the Liberal platform and found several instances that appear to underestimate spending or overestimate savings. As a result, they conclude the partys pledge to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio is not credible.

The debt ratio is heading north, not south, Mr. Clark told The Globe.

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Conservative leader Andrew Scheer at a campaign event in Upper Kingsclear, N.B., on Oct. 3, 2019.

The Canadian Press

Calling it the universal tax cut, a Conservative government would reduce the rate on income earned below $47,630 from 15 per cent to 13.75 per cent. This would save an average two-income family more than $850 a year, according to the party.

The tax cut is similar in size to the one proposed by the Liberal Party. In 2024-25, the Conservative tax cut is slightly more generous and would lower federal revenues by $6.1-billion. The Liberal partys tax cut would cost $5.8-billion that year. There are slight differences in terms of who would benefit. The Conservative plan does not include a restriction from having the tax cut apply to high-income earners.

After announcing the universal tax cut early in the campaign, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer followed that up by announcing several other targeted tax breaks. These measures include tax breaks for public-transit users, removing the GST from home-heating costs, tax breaks for parents who have children enrolled in arts and sports programs, increasing the age credit for seniors and a credit for home renovations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Conservative platform also pledges to reverse several tax changes adopted by the Liberal government that affect incorporated small businesses. The Conservatives would lower taxes for business owners who have over $1-million in passive investments such as stocks and bonds that are not related to the business.

The Conservative Party says it can implement all of these tax cuts while still balancing the budget within five years. The party has not yet released its costed platform. To date, the only spending cuts Mr. Scheer has announced include a 25 per cent reduction in foreign-aid spending, a general review of spending on corporate subsidies and withdrawing from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The later move would save $9-million a year, according to the PBO.

The party says all of its promises have been independently costed by the PBO, but it has yet to release a full platform showing how it will balance the books.

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University of Calgary economist and tax expert Jack Mintz said the Conservatives across-the-board tax cut is better tax policy than the Liberal one. While the impact of the Liberal tax cut is fully realized once an individuals income climbs above $15,000, the Conservative tax cut provides an incentive for people to work more and pay less tax right up to $47,630, which he said is good for productivity.

He also said allowing higher income earners to also benefit from the Conservative tax cut helps address concerns that Canadas high taxes make it harder for businesses to attract top talent. However, Mr. Mintz said hes no fan of targeted tax credits from any party.

I dont like any boutique tax credits, so I dont like the Conservatives arts and sports one and I dont like the camping one that the Liberals have, he said.

Numerous government and academic reports have questioned the effectiveness of tax credits in areas such as fitness programs or public transit in terms of encouraging changes in behaviour.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh on the campaign trail in Toronto on Oct. 3, 2019.

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Promising a new deal for tax fairness, the NDP says the false tax cuts promised by the Liberals and Conservatives will lead to service cuts that force people to pay more and receive less. The NDP campaign rejects tax cuts and advocates for tax increases, including a three-percentage-point hike to the corporate tax rate, raising taxes on capital gains, increasing the top marginal tax rate and imposing a 1 per cent tax on wealth over $20-million. The party has released a 109-page platform, but it did not include a breakdown of how much each promise would cost or how the platform would affect Ottawas bottom line.

The NDP promises some targeted tax breaks, including doubling the Home Buyers Tax Credit to $1,500, creating a new tax credit that encourages postsecondary graduates to work in rural northern communities, and increasing the value of the Caregiver Tax Credit and the Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit.

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The NDP has not released a fully costed platform and has only approved the release of four PBO reports on specific NDP promises. As a result, it is not clear how the party proposed to pay for its campaign promises.

One major source of proposed new revenue is a wealth tax. The PBO has reviewed this proposal and estimates it would raise over $6-billion a year in revenue by 2022, growing to nearly $10-billion a year by the end of the decade.

However, the PBO cautioned that its revenue estimate has high uncertainty because a large behavioural response is expected, meaning high-wealth individuals would take accounting measures to avoid their exposure to the tax.

The party has not released a fully costed platform and it has only released independent PBO reports for a handful of its campaign promises. The partys uncosted platform says we will manage debt and deficits responsibly and moving to balance when prudent.

Further, while the idea of a wealth tax is championed by some, the policy has a poor track record internationally.

A 2018 article published by the International Monetary Fund noted the number of OECD countries with an active wealth tax fell to four from 12 between 1985 and 2007. The authors noted wealth taxes are of limited effectiveness because they are prone to lobbying and exemptions.

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Furthermore, the rich have proved adept avoiding or evading taxes by placing their wealth abroad in low tax jurisdictions, they noted.

The Green Party platform does not propose any changes to personal tax rates.

The Green Party would increase the corporate tax rate from 15 per cent to 21 per cent, which it says would raise more than $14-billion a year. The party also proposes a surtax on bank profits.

The Green Party would enrich the tax credit for volunteer firefighters and create a tax credit for renovating heritage buildings. Various education-related tax credits, including RESPs, would be replaced with a program of free postsecondary tuition.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May campaigns in Victoria on Oct. 3, 2019.

CHAD HIPOLITO/The Canadian Press

The Green Partys costed platform proposes an immediate and dramatic increase in government spending and taxation. In the first year, the party proposes a 21.5 per cent increase in federal spending, a $74-billion hike. Tax revenues would increase by about the same amount by the third year of the platform.

Some of the platforms largest tax hikes include raising the corporate tax rate from 15 per cent to 21 per cent, applying tax to 100 per cent of capital gains up from 50 per cent; a 0.5 per cent tax on financial transactions; and a 1 per cent tax on net wealth above $20-million.

In its analysis, the PBO cautioned the expected revenue from some of the tax increases are highly uncertain, in part because the ideas fall out of the mainstream of public economics. For instance, the PBO noted the plan to raise over $15-billion a year from a financial transactions tax has not been tried in an open economy before.

The Green Party acknowledges its platform, if implemented, would have a dramatic negative effect on Canadas resource-based economy. The platform predicts companies that own fossil fuel assets will need to rapidly write them down to near-zero values. This will have immediate effects on the overall values of many Canadian institutional investors and banks, and on the balance sheets and income statements of provincial governments.

The University of Ottawas Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy released a critical review of the Green platform. In a written report, the IFSD gave the platform an overall assessment of fail, for lacking realistic economic and fiscal assumptions and for not displaying responsible fiscal management.

The Green Party then released a revised costing document, which the IFSD reassessed with an overall grade of pass, though it continued to mark the platform as a fail in terms of responsible fiscal management.

Canadian federal election guide: What you need to know before Oct. 21

Climate policy: Where the four main parties stand

Immigration and asylum seekers: Where the four main parties stand

Pharmacare: What the main federal parties are promising

Where the parties stand on housing reform, and the risks of their pledges

Who are the key campaign staff behind the scenes?

View original post here:

Federal election 2019: Where do the parties stand on taxes and deficits? - The Globe and Mail

MIER: Malaysias GDP must reach 8pc to achieve Shared Prosperity Vision – Malay Mail

Kamal said Malaysia needs to divert its resources and invest in the structural change of long to medium-term growth. Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 Malaysia hasto reacheconomic growth of 8.0 per cent in order to attainthe Shared Prosperity Vision 2030, the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) said.

Its chairman, Tan Sri Kamal Salih said according to his calculations, the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate has to be somewhere between 6.0and8.0per cent and it could notbe at between 4.0 and5.0per cent.

It is not enough, it will be a slow rise. In the meantime, other countries will jump over us.To achieve over 6.0per cent, we have to do a leapfrog strategy and focuson key sectors, he told Bernama in an interview.

Kamal Salih said Malaysia has to be wary of anomalies that are happening outside of the country and not be complacent the moment oil prices go up, as it generates momentary boost of income.

He saidinstead, Malaysia needs to divert its resources and invest in the structural change of long to medium-term growth.

We may spend a lot more money, we may even try to restructure the debt, but eventually we must continue to expand in infrastructure, new industries, technology, agriculture, to produce more food and train more skilled people, as all these are already in place, he said.

Kamal Salih said the elements of the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030was already incorporated in Vision 2020, under previous predecessors.

He said however, the last regime had become more greedy, as the whole setup ofwhats in it for meand not for the country attitude had taken root.

We lack that kind of mentality and people do the simpler things, they followthe line of least resistance, and stay in a comfort zone, as they dont know how to venture, and they fear of failure.

Whereas entrepreneurship, technology, investment, innovation, all are experimental, you just need to keep at it, if you fail you rise, failure is a lesson, instead you just give up, he said.

Kamal Salih said some Malaysians have given up onthe country, and they went overseas and thrived.

This trust deficit in government is a big thing, and the younger generation couldnt care less, asthey will do their things and hope that theycan be successful, he said.

Kamal Salih said the early period of the New Economic Policy (NEP) produced quite of a lot of good people, both in Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera.

They have been successful, they are what that have kept this economy afloat. But there is an increasing number of those who havegiven up, and wait for more handouts from the government, and the government not having enoughmoney to hand out.

When the government had the money to hand out, it handedout to cronies, and it isnot spread out enough, not inclusive enough, he added.

Kamal Salih said the country also needs to pare down itsover-reliance on foreign investment as it is the reason why Malaysia cannotindustrialise faster.

In fact, we have gone through the process of de-industrialisationfor the last 20 years, he said.

He said Malaysia has also shifted to servicesand hasbecome a consuming country instead ofa producing country, while it stillproduces in the traditional areas of resource-based economy.

Although diversified, we are stillin palm oil andrubber industries butno longer as the leading producers asThailand and Indonesia have taken over the roles.

We are also depended very much on our oil and gas. When oil prices go down, we get into trouble, he said,adding that the funds that the governmentraisedfrom taxes weremainly used for operations.

Moving forward, Kamal Salih said weshouldpromote local inventors andresearch and development, as well ascommercialiseinnovations from universities.

We areweak in commercialisation. When people have ideas, the bureaucracy tends to be an obstacle, he added. Bernama

Excerpt from:

MIER: Malaysias GDP must reach 8pc to achieve Shared Prosperity Vision - Malay Mail

Half of Yangtze provinces are water stressed – chinadialogue

Shortages of water in theYangtze river basinare largely the result of industry and a focus on development(Image: Alamy)

The Yangtze river basin is often thought of as having plenty of water. One of Chinas mother rivers, the Yangtze accounts for more than a third of all the water flowing through Chinese rivers.

But the latest report from China Water Riskfinds thatprovincesthe Yangtze runs through are facing water stress especially those downstream.

Thirst on the banks of the Yangtze

The report shows that six of the 11 provinces on the Yangtze river economic belt (YREB) are water stressed. Those six provinces account for one-third of Chinas population and GDP. Shanghai andJiangsu are facing extremely high baseline water stress, with agriculture, industry and services consuming 90% or more of usable water in an average year, according to data from the World Resources Institute quoted in the report. The other four provinces Anhui, Zhejiang, Hubei and Sichuan are facing high levels of water stress, consuming 40% or more of usable water in an average year.

These provinces lie on the Yangtze and have a network of other rivers to rely on. So why the water stress?

Water shortages in the YREB are mainly due to pollution, explained Peng Yingdeng, a researcher with the State Urban Pollution Control Technology Institute. There is plenty of water, but a significant portion is contaminated by industrial effluent and the dumping or poor handling of pollutants.

In Shanghai,where water stress is extremely high,the share of surface water monitoring sections registering water quality Grade V+ (unusable for any purposes) was 18%as of July 2017. That figure is generallyunder 6% elsewhere in the YREB. The problem may be due to how Shanghai uses its water. According to the report, industry accounts for 60% of the citys total water consumption, the highest in the YREB, and emissions of wastewater per head are also highest.

The Yangtze: from development to conservation

Three years ago, the government decidedtoshift management of theYangtze from developmentto conservation. In early 2016, speaking at a meeting in Chongqing on growth in the YREB, President Xi Jinping called for joint efforts to protect, not develop.

Government ministries followed up with plans and targets, settinga 2020 cap for total water consumption in the YREB. An environmental protection strategy published early this year also set requirements for water quality: by the end of 2020, 85% of sections of the river managed by central government must reach good quality (Grade III or above), with no more than 2% of these sections to be of unusable quality (below Grade V).

The Yangtze wasseen as a resource by provinces so development along its banks was encouraged butthis approach is being replaced with efforts toprotectthe river,tacklewater pollution and restorethe environment. For example, in 1999 Jiangsu published an overarching strategy for development and utilisation up to 2020, designed to ensure reasonable and effective use of the resources of the Yangtze riverbank to serve development of the province into the new century. But in June this year, in response to the call for more protection, the province published anaction planto put protection and restoration before development.

Complex causes

Relieving water stress along the Yangtze wont be easy because the causes are complex. Water quality issues arise primarily from industrial emissions, with 52.3% of polluted water traceable back to industry, according to a bulletin from the Yangtze Water Resources Commission. Industrial pollution is worst in Hubei and Jiangxi. Peng Yingdeng found that the two provinces accounted for almost 50% of a total 1,300 cases during a crackdown on hazardous waste last year. Most of these were due to illegal and unsafe handling of toxic waste by local chemical plants, which directly or indirectly resulted in pollution of water downstream.

Inefficient use of water is exacerbating the crisis. Despite efforts to shift China towards aservice-based economy, it still lags behind developed nations, with both agriculture and industry using huge quantities of water. World Bank data from 2013 shows China used 1,340 cubic metres of water per US$10,000 of GDP. Thats better than other countries at a comparable level of development, such as Russia and Thailand (2,953 and 7,099 cubic metres respectively), but far off the developed-nation figure of 367 cubic metres. Provinces along the Yangtze have set 2020 water intensity targets, but as the report points out, the 2017 figures the latest available indicate that none will be met.

An inability to fully treat polluted water is also a problem. Six per cent of cities and towns in the YREB do not treat wastewater, even though together they produce as much as the Philippines. Reuseis also low. Jiangsu is the only province to reuse more than 10% of its waste water, and seven provinces use less than 5%.

Where will the river flow?

China is pushing ahead with a Yangtze River Protection Law, due to be submitted to the National Peoples Congress Standing Committee by the end of the year. Peng Yingdeng saysthis will provide legislative backing for river protection, strengthen coordination between upstream and downstream regions, and encourage intensified efforts where necessary. It will also put in placemechanisms to ensure protection is sustained.

But management remains achallenge. Peng pointed out a few signs of progress on the water quality and consumption targets set by ministries but noteddifficulties. Eighty per cent of the targets may be within reach, but less-developed provinces where infrastructure and government capacities are lacking may hold others back. There will be no quick fixes.

Peng thinks the biggest problem facing the YREBis an overall weakness of governance.Failings in hard and soft infrastructure cannot be solved overnight. Fundamental changes will take 5-10 years, he said.

See more here:

Half of Yangtze provinces are water stressed - chinadialogue

Defying gravity – The News International

Defying gravity

At this critical juncture of national development, the only way forward is to migrate from its natural resource driven low-value economy to a strong knowledge economy.

This has been realized by Prime Minister Imran Khan who set up a National Task Force that he himself chairs and of which I happen to be the vice chairman. After its first historic meeting last January at which a number of important decisions were taken, the task force has rapidly formulated a number of important projects ranging from agriculture to nanotechnology, from artificial intelligence to engineering sciences, from blended education to technological parks. Some Rs200 billion worth of projects are currently under approval, with some already approved.

To build a strong knowledge economy, we must strengthen the dynamic interplay between the major pillars on which the edifice must stand. These are education, science, technology, innovation, industry, and enabling government policies. All of these thrive on merit-based competiveness on the efficiency of interaction between them. The magic of rapid socio-economic development starts to happen through the dynamic interplay between research, invention, innovation, and commercial production geared to meet the national needs and challenges.

Policies on education, science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship are all intricately interrelated. Entrepreneurship, its growth, survival and competitiveness is dependent on innovation. In a developing country such as Pakistan, we need to adopt the process of incremental innovation. This involves sourcing, absorbing, adapting and diffusing already available international technologies and related available knowledge.

In this process private industry and businesses must play a key role, as incremental innovation depends on the absorptive capacity of firms. Only firms with advanced human skills and prior relevant accumulated knowledge are able to successfully convert external knowledge into incremental innovations. Through this process they are able to recognize the value of new information, assimilate and absorb it and then apply it for commercial benefits.

The World Economic Forum has categorized the developmental stages of economies across countries in three distinct categories: one, factor-based economies, where the production and services sector largely depend on low-cost labour and natural resource based inputs. Innovation contributes less than five percent in such factor-based economies. Pakistan, alas, has been trapped in this lowest rung of the ladder for the last seven decades because of myopic national leadership.

Two, efficiency-driven economies which require modern machinery, better technical and managerial skills and promotion of a culture of firm level learning, and three, innovation and knowledge-driven economies; These last two categories need heavy investment in human resource development, training of a critical number of scientists and engineers, promotion of firm level R&D and lifelong learning practices. Innovation contributes at least 30 percent to the economies of countries at this level.

The global innovation landscape is constantly shifting, depending on the leadership and its realization of the importance of knowledge, research and innovation in the process of socioeconomic development. In our own lives we have seen the emergence of Germany, Japan, Singapore, Korea and more recently China as economic powers. The path to progress has involved massive investments in education, particularly higher education, the acquisition and adaption of cutting edge foreign technologies for the production of high valued goods and services. This has led to the progressive evolution of some countries from resource-based to knowledge-based economies. This process has been catalyzed by public-private partnerships and by offering liberal public incentives for partnerships between local and international firms.

In Pakistan, public research funding should be linked not only to advancement of basic and strategic research but a certain proportion should be set aside for applied industrial research. This should include funding for design and development of prototypes and for stimulating R&D in private enterprises. Industrial clusters under CPEC can trigger rapid development. Chinese companies partnering with Pakistani firms in these industrial clusters should be offered incentives linked to efficient production, value addition, and process and product innovation and for growth in productivity. Incentives for skill development courses for industrial workers and for hiring high quality engineers should be given priority.

The agriculture sector in Pakistan supports two-thirds of the rural population and remains the largest income and employment generating sector of economy but accounts for only about 22 percent of total GDP. Despite the huge potential, Pakistan has not been able to exploit its immense agriculture sector. This has been largely due to incompetent and corrupt leadership which was responsible for under- investment in human resource development and agriculture research.

We should learn from China, whose agriculture reform programme lifted millions out of poverty and generated enough income for investment in industrial innovations. The programme began in the early 1980s for developing non-farm opportunities involving provision of a flexible, demand driven packages of services. This was not just making available the technology but also information, technical assistance, marketing support including developing supply networks and supply chains.

The agricultural development programme initiated by their Ministry of Science & Technology in 1986, was termed the Spark Programme (derived from the Chinese proverb a single spark can start a prairie fire). It was intended to help transfer managerial and technological knowledge from more advanced sectors to rural enterprises in order to support continued growth and development in non-state rural enterprises.

Other fast-emerging fields such as artificial intelligence, energy storage systems, new materials including nanotechnology, industrial biotechnology, and next generation genomics, will have a huge disruptive impact on industry in the next decade. Pakistan must invest massively in these areas if it ever wishes to stand with dignity in the comity of nations.

In a country in which there is hardly any eminent scientist or engineer in parliament, this involves our being able to defy gravity to emerge as a powerful nation. This is what we must do.

The writer is the former chairman of the HEC, and president of the

Network of Academies of Science of OIC Countries (NASIC).

Email: [emailprotected]

At this critical juncture of national development, the only way forward is to migrate from its natural resource driven low-value economy to a strong knowledge economy.

This has been realized by Prime Minister Imran Khan who set up a National Task Force that he himself chairs and of which I happen to be the vice chairman. After its first historic meeting last January at which a number of important decisions were taken, the task force has rapidly formulated a number of important projects ranging from agriculture to nanotechnology, from artificial intelligence to engineering sciences, from blended education to technological parks. Some Rs200 billion worth of projects are currently under approval, with some already approved.

To build a strong knowledge economy, we must strengthen the dynamic interplay between the major pillars on which the edifice must stand. These are education, science, technology, innovation, industry, and enabling government policies. All of these thrive on merit-based competiveness on the efficiency of interaction between them. The magic of rapid socio-economic development starts to happen through the dynamic interplay between research, invention, innovation, and commercial production geared to meet the national needs and challenges.

Policies on education, science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship are all intricately interrelated. Entrepreneurship, its growth, survival and competitiveness is dependent on innovation. In a developing country such as Pakistan, we need to adopt the process of incremental innovation. This involves sourcing, absorbing, adapting and diffusing already available international technologies and related available knowledge.

In this process private industry and businesses must play a key role, as incremental innovation depends on the absorptive capacity of firms. Only firms with advanced human skills and prior relevant accumulated knowledge are able to successfully convert external knowledge into incremental innovations. Through this process they are able to recognize the value of new information, assimilate and absorb it and then apply it for commercial benefits.

The World Economic Forum has categorized the developmental stages of economies across countries in three distinct categories: one, factor-based economies, where the production and services sector largely depend on low-cost labour and natural resource based inputs. Innovation contributes less than five percent in such factor-based economies. Pakistan, alas, has been trapped in this lowest rung of the ladder for the last seven decades because of myopic national leadership.

Two, efficiency-driven economies which require modern machinery, better technical and managerial skills and promotion of a culture of firm level learning, and three, innovation and knowledge-driven economies; These last two categories need heavy investment in human resource development, training of a critical number of scientists and engineers, promotion of firm level R&D and lifelong learning practices. Innovation contributes at least 30 percent to the economies of countries at this level.

The global innovation landscape is constantly shifting, depending on the leadership and its realization of the importance of knowledge, research and innovation in the process of socioeconomic development. In our own lives we have seen the emergence of Germany, Japan, Singapore, Korea and more recently China as economic powers. The path to progress has involved massive investments in education, particularly higher education, the acquisition and adaption of cutting edge foreign technologies for the production of high valued goods and services. This has led to the progressive evolution of some countries from resource-based to knowledge-based economies. This process has been catalyzed by public-private partnerships and by offering liberal public incentives for partnerships between local and international firms.

In Pakistan, public research funding should be linked not only to advancement of basic and strategic research but a certain proportion should be set aside for applied industrial research. This should include funding for design and development of prototypes and for stimulating R&D in private enterprises. Industrial clusters under CPEC can trigger rapid development. Chinese companies partnering with Pakistani firms in these industrial clusters should be offered incentives linked to efficient production, value addition, and process and product innovation and for growth in productivity. Incentives for skill development courses for industrial workers and for hiring high quality engineers should be given priority.

The agriculture sector in Pakistan supports two-thirds of the rural population and remains the largest income and employment generating sector of economy but accounts for only about 22 percent of total GDP. Despite the huge potential, Pakistan has not been able to exploit its immense agriculture sector. This has been largely due to incompetent and corrupt leadership which was responsible for under- investment in human resource development and agriculture research.

We should learn from China, whose agriculture reform programme lifted millions out of poverty and generated enough income for investment in industrial innovations. The programme began in the early 1980s for developing non-farm opportunities involving provision of a flexible, demand driven packages of services. This was not just making available the technology but also information, technical assistance, marketing support including developing supply networks and supply chains.

The agricultural development programme initiated by their Ministry of Science & Technology in 1986, was termed the Spark Programme (derived from the Chinese proverb a single spark can start a prairie fire). It was intended to help transfer managerial and technological knowledge from more advanced sectors to rural enterprises in order to support continued growth and development in non-state rural enterprises.

Other fast-emerging fields such as artificial intelligence, energy storage systems, new materials including nanotechnology, industrial biotechnology, and next generation genomics, will have a huge disruptive impact on industry in the next decade. Pakistan must invest massively in these areas if it ever wishes to stand with dignity in the comity of nations.

In a country in which there is hardly any eminent scientist or engineer in parliament, this involves our being able to defy gravity to emerge as a powerful nation. This is what we must do.

The writer is the former chairman of the HEC, and president of the

Network of Academies of Science of OIC Countries (NASIC).

Email: [emailprotected]

See the original post here:

Defying gravity - The News International

The Real Texas | by Annette Gordon-Reed – The New York Review of Books

In a Narrow Grave: Essays on Texas

by Larry McMurtry, with an introduction by Diana Ossana

Liveright, 204 pp., $16.95 (paper)

by Lawrence Wright

Knopf, 349 pp., $27.95

by Monica Muoz Martinez

Harvard University Press, 387 pp., $35.00

by Stephen Harrigan

University of Texas Press, 925 pp., $35.00

by Lucas A. Powe Jr.

University of California Press, 310 pp., $85.00; $34.95 (paper)

Andrew J. Torget begins his 2015 book Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 18001850 with the story of five people whose journey into what was then northern New Spain effectively captures the origins of what would become the largest of the contiguous states of the American Union. In 1819 Marian, Richard, and Tivi escaped from slavery on a plantation in Louisiana, hoping to find freedom in Spanish territory. The following year, James Kirkham, the man who claimed ownership of them, went looking for the escapees, and on his way encountered another Anglo-American, Moses Austin. Austin, a Connecticut-born Missouri transplant, would gain a place in history for getting the first land grant from Spanish authorities to begin settling American families in Texasthe name the Spanish had given the region that they had fought to take from the Comanches for over a century. Austins task was not just to convince whites to move to Texas. He also had to encourage the Spanish governmentto endorse the enslavement of men and women like Marian, Richard, and Tivi, since American farmers would not abandon the United States if they also had to abandon the labor system that made their cotton fields so profitable. Austin died in 1821, before his project could begin in earnest, but his son Stephen F. Austin would take up his dreams of colonization and become famous as a founding father of the Lone Star State.

So three driving forcescotton, slavery, and empire had brought the enslaved, an enslaver, and a colonizer into Texas, to coexist (or not) with the Native Americans and Mexicans who were already there. Their convergence in this place, and their differing and clashing interests, reveal what early Texas was truly about. It explains why the state, even before it was a state, was seen as a problemor an opportunity, depending on ones view of the expansion of slaveryfrom the moment it became clear that its future might lie within the United States of America. The whites who had come to Texas before Austins venturemost with enslaved people in towexpected to create farms and plantations to grow cotton, and they were convinced this could not be done without enslaved labor. According to Torget, Austin argued forcefully to legislators that opening northeastern Mexico to American colonization depended on ensuring that slavery remain legal in Texas.

The Mexican government abolished slavery in 1829 but turned a blind eye to the institution in Texas. Eventually, as their numbers grew, the anxious Anglo settlers wanted firmer assurances of their rights as slaveholders, and sought independence. The short-lived Republic of Texas they created in 1836 provided as much protection for slavery as possible. Texass 1845 annexation by the United States was controversial in some parts of the country precisely because everyone knew the Republic had been constituted as a slaveholders republic and was full of people who were enthusiastic about chattel slavery. Bringing Texas into the Union would upset the balance of power between the Northern free states and Southern slave states.

Its very likely that when most people in the United Statesand in the worldthink about Texas, they do not think of the foundational forces described above. Thanks to Hollywood, the conflict with the Comancheswhich continued for decades after New Spain became Mexico, and after the Republic of Texas became the State of Texasmay come to mind. Certainly, cowboys and cattle ranchers in possession of vast acres have taken their place as figures emblematic of the state. And then, of course, there is oil. Spindletop, the phenomenal 1901 gusher that produced more than 100,000 barrels of oil over a nine-day period, and other spectacular strikes at the Sour Lake, Humble, and Batson-Old fields, made Texas the worlds leading producer of oil for years. This created another stereotype to go along with the cowboy and the prosperous cattle rancher: the vulgar nouveau riche Texas millionaire prone to bragging about being in the oil bidness.

Giant, the classic movie based on Edna Ferbers novel of the same name, brought the cattle ranch and the oil field together, burning those images of Texas into the minds of millions. All of the books under review mention the film. It presents the cattle rancher, and those affiliated with cattle operations, as the original, authentic Texans, who had their way of life disrupted by an oil boom that transformed everyones relationship to the land. Although the movie ends on a hopeful note, a sense of loss runs through it. Larry McMurtrys depiction of Texas, in his collection of essays In a Narrow Graverecently reissued for its fiftieth anniversaryhas much in common with the film. Nostalgia for a lost Texasa Texas based on the ways of cattle ranchingpermeates both. And both proceed as if the states history with slave-based agriculture did not exist, or should have no real bearing on the way the state is perceived.

McMurtry was raised in a family steeped in the West Texas lore of the cowboy and the range. The books final essay, Take My Saddle from the Wall: A Valediction, makes the point plainly:

I realize that in closing with the McMurtrys I may only succeed in twisting a final, awkward knot into this uneven braid, for they bespeak the regionindeed, are eloquent of itand I am quite as often split in my feelings about them as I am in my feelings about Texas. They pertain, of course, both to the Old Texas and the New, but I choose them here particularly because of another pertinence. All of them gave such religious allegiance as they had to give to that god I mentioned in my introduction: the god whose principal myth was the myth of the Cowboy, the ground of whose divinity was the Range.

McMurtry is also an acclaimed screenwriter, and has himself contributed to the Hollywood version of Texas. His first novel, Horseman, Pass By (1961), was made into the movie Hud. That and his other novels that were turned into movies or television showsThe Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment, Lonesome Dovedeal with the cowboy mentality, figuratively if not literally. He understands Hollywood well, and one of the books essays, Cowboys, Movies, Myths, and Cadillacs, shows he knows just how much Hollywood has shaped the image of Texas. But it is not clear that he understands the extent to which that image, situating the state in the West and not the South, buries huge, defining swaths of Texas history and culture, along with the experiences of people who were and are, in fact, Texans.

There is ample reason to think of Texas as separate from the South, and to think of it as separate from the West, too. The Balcones Fault roughly bisects the state, creating a division between East and West. The vast majority of the population has always lived in the eastern part of Texas, a fact McMurtry acknowledges. That the less populous region of the state would come to define it is ironic and curious.

We all have family stories. Mine is of an enslaved great-great-grandmother brought to East Texas from Mississippi in the 1850s, before McMurtrys family arrived in West Texas. Freed by her father as a child, along with her mother, she grew up to marry and raise a family, including my great-grandmother, who, with her husband, owned a cotton farm in East Texas. And then there was my fathers great-grandfather: he came out of slavery, and saved to buy a few hundred acres of land with his brothers. They became lumberjacks, cutting and selling timber to make a living. Cotton and timber: both have been integral to the economy and culture of Texas for most of the states history.

McMurtry does write of East Texas, saying that his family had always looked down on the people there because they were farmers. He also declares that area of his home state part of the South, and not really Texan. He invokes William Faulkner, whose writings show his grasp of the weight of history and his willingness to grapple with it:

It has clearly become necessary to write discursively of Texas if one is to be heard at all beyond ones city limits. The South, fortunately for its writers, has always been dark and bloody ground, but Texas is only scenery, and poor scenery at that.

Well, the ground of Texas is pretty dark and bloody too, for the same reasons it was so in Faulkners Mississippi and for reasons unique to Texas. One of McMurtrys own essays, Southwestern Literature?, describes in great detail the depredations of the Texas Rangers, who, after their beginnings in 1823, developed a reputation as expert killers of nonwhites. What would Texas literature look like if more of its writers had, over the years, mined this rich but tragic terrain instead of focusing on the blinkered mythology of the cowboya mythology that excluded the large numbers of cowboys who were black? In saying that his white and male family members bespeak the region, McMurtry, as have others before and since, pronounces Texas a white man. Manycertainly not allpeople who read these essays fifty years ago would have seen no problem with such a pronouncement. It is likely that more would object today. The world has, indeed, changed.

Lawrence Wright, a staff writer at The New Yorker and a screenwriter, was born in Oklahoma but has spent most of his life in Texas. He says that he has come to appreciate what the state symbolizes, both to people who live here and to those who view it from afar. God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State, also a book of essays, is another attempt to get at the meaning of a place that has been contentious from the very beginning of its time in the Union. While it would be wrong to place too much emphasis on determinism and birthplace, Wright appears more detached from Texas than McMurtry, whose familial roots go deeper. There is no sense of loss in Wrights prose, no yearning for a supposedly disappearing Texas past, no presentation of a singular mentality that defines the state. Instead, there is a clear-eyed journalists view of the people encountered and the places visited. The predominant impression the reader takes away from the book is one of alarm. Wright fears that the rest of the country may come to resemble Texas in ways that will not do the nation much good:

I think Texas has nurtured an immature political culture that has done terrible damage to the state and to the nation. Because Texas is a part of almost everything in modern Americathe South, the West, the Plains, Hispanic and immigrant communities, the border, the divide between the rural areas and the citieswhat happens here tends to disproportionately affect the rest of the nation. Illinois and New Jersey may be more corrupt, Kansas and Louisiana more dysfunctional, but they dont bear the responsibility of being the future.

A past may lead to a future, and Wright understands the importance of the entirety of Texass history, as well as the importance of all its regions, in shaping what it has become. He recognizes the hold that the myth of the cowboy has had, along with the danger in holding on to a myth. It can become, he says, like a religion weve stopped believing in. It no longer instructs us; it only stultifies us. Moving beyond myth, Wrights explanation of the culture of Texans explicitly invokes the states history and the diversity of its people:

From my lifelong field studies spent among Texans, I have formulated a theory of cultural development.

Level One is aggressive, innovative, and self-assured. It erupts from the instinctive human reaction to circumstance. The paisano presses his tortilla, the slave mixes his corn bread, the cattleman rubs prairie sage on the roasting steer, and a cuisine is irrepressibly born from the converging streams of traditions and available flavors. Spanish priests mortar limestone rocks with river mud; bankrupt Georgia farmers, remembering the verandas of their plantation empire and mindful of the withering sun, build high-ceilinged houses with broad, shaded porches; thus a native architecture arises. In scores of county seats laid out in the 1880s, the Virginian idea of the central courthouse square meets the Spanish idea of the town plaza and the Victorian idea of wedding-cake masonry, creating an idiom of civic democracy. All of our culture overlays this primitive template, just as the Houston freeways inscribe the same routes once traced by ox wagons headed for Market Square.

Recalling in this way the racial and cultural palimpsest that forms the real substance of Texas, one realizes how much effort it has always taken to suppress the truth that Texas is not, in essence, a white man.

What, then, is Texas? Should we even think about so large and diverse a place as having an essence that can be distilled? The document of annexation to the United States provided that Texas could be divided into five separate states, a likely moribund provision that present-day Texans (sometimes jokingly, sometimes not) still invoke. The landscape runs from the lush forests of the east to the desert of the west. The part of Mexico that became Texas has been diverse from its earliest days, and not in a harmonious way. It is the only state to have its own electrical grid. And if Wright fears that Texass immature political culture has too greatly influenced the nations political culture, it is worth noting that the Beto ORourke phenomenonat least as far as the Senate race wentsuggests that things may be changing in the state. Texas has been red because of voter suppression coupled with insufficient voter participation. If the structural barriers to voting are removed, and if more Texans decide to vote, the state could soon be sending a very different message to the nation about what the future should look like.

Monica Muoz Martinezs The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas approaches Texas by focusing intently on the states dark and bloody ground, looking at the years between 1910 and 1920, when white vigilantes, the Texas Rangers, and other law enforcement entities engaged in a wave of anti-Mexican violence. The book uses documentary evidence and the oral histories of families whose members were victimized during this period:

Searching the Texas landscape for the remains of a loved one was an awfuland awfully familiarritual, repeated countless times before. By 1918, the murder of ethnic Mexicans had become commonplace on the TexasMexico border, a violence systematically justified by vigilantes and state authorities alike. Historians estimate that between 1848 and 1928 in Texas alone, 232 ethnic Mexicans were lynched by vigilante groups of three or more people. These tabulations only tell part of the story.

One of Martinezs most important contributions is to remind us that violence against nonwhites was not simply a matter of private citizens going out of control for private reasons. Vigilante violence on the border had a state-building function, she writes. It both directed the public to act with force to sustain hierarchies of race and class and complemented the brutal methods of law enforcement in this period.

What kind of state was to be built? Martinezs primary subject is the way all of this played out on the TexasMexico border between white Texans and ethnic Mexicans. It is a story that should be more widely known, and Martinez tells it with great passion and precision. But, importantly, she links the experiences of Mexican-Americans to those of African-Americans, understanding that enforcing white racial supremacy, through violence and other meansdisfranchisement and Jim Crowgoes to the very heart of the story of Texas:

Although histories of anti-black and anti-Mexican violence have been segregated in popular memories of this period, the ideologies that condoned violence in Texas against those communities mutually informed and justified one another. To fully comprehend the culture of impunity that allowed anti-Mexican violence to thrive in Texas, it is necessary to consider the ongoing history of anti-black violence in the state.

The state-building was being done on behalf of whites, which was perfectly in keeping with the intentions of the people who embarked on the idea of Anglo-American settlement during the early part of the nineteenth century.

This brings us back to the founders of Texas. Stephen F. Austin, who like a number of his generation said that he viewed slavery as a necessary evil, for a brief time changed his mind about the institution. Morality played no part in this shift. He looked with alarm at the growing population of blacks in other Deep South states, and feared that one day blacks in Texas would engulf whites. Austins fear was rooted in the nightmare scenario of black men rising up to kill whites and have sex with white women. He wrote, Suppose that you will be alive at the period above mentionedwhen blacks reached parity with or outnumbered whitesthat you have a long-cherished and beloved wife, a number of daughters, grand daughters, and great-grand daughters. This was, in his mind, a contest for racial supremacy. After the Confederate defeat in the Civil War, when white Texans lost the legal control over black Texans that the laws of slavery had provided, the border was wherever blacks and whites were in the state. The stories of violence and loss that the families in The Injustice Never Leaves You worked so valiantly to keep alive could be told in nonwhite communities throughout Texas. All of this is far away from lonesome cowboys on the range, living out a life of rugged individualism and fierce independence. Martinezs book suggests why many white Texans prefer that the world accept the myth over the reality.

Like the state of which he writes, Stephen Harrigans book on Texas is big; the word is in the title: Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas. Harrigan, an award-winning historical novelist and Texas Monthly contributor, starts with the story of the native peoples who fashioned Alibates flint into the distinctively styled spear and projectile points that are classified today as Clovis. He moves onto the Karankawas, who in 1528 became the first native group in Texas to encounter the Spanish, beginning an engagement with Europeans (the French would soon follow the Spanish) that would transform the lives of all native peoples in the area. Then there were other groupsamong them the Caddo, the Apaches, and the most obstreperous (from the European perspective), the Comanches:

Their name is Comanche. Its a simple enough statement, but one that, when considered against the next few hundred years of Texas history, takes on an ominous oracular force. Long before the Comanches began to clash with Spanish in Texas, they were well known to the soldiers and settlers and priests of New Mexico, and to the Pueblo Indians there, who were restively under Spanish control.

The horses the Spanish brought to the area made their way into the lives of native peoples, affecting no one more than the Comanches. Horses, Harrigan writes, became their culture. The horse culture, combined with their effective battle strategy, helped the Comanches build an empire that, for decades, challenged Spanish encroachment. Harrigans account confirms that the drama of this protracted engagement helped give rise to the cowboys and Indians trope that has so defined Texas and the West. We know how that contest ended, and Harrigan quotes the poignant statement of a Comanche chief, Ten Bears, who said he had been

born under the praire, where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I know every stream and wood between the Rio Grande and the Arkansas. I have hunted and lived over that country. I live like my fathers before me and like them I lived happily. If the Texans had kept out of my country, there might have been peace.

But the Texans, by which he meant people of European descent, would not stay out. The lure of land and prosperity was too strong for that. Harrigan understands the centrality of East Texas to this story, and to the development of the basic character of the state. There were those who wanted to capture the land all the way to the Rio Grande, largely to prevent Spain from maintaining control of the area. But others fixated on East Texas, the fertile crescent of arable deep-soiled land, rich river bottoms, and coastal prairies extending roughly from San Antonio de Bxar to Nacogdoches, from the Colorado River to the Sabine. This is largely the area in which the cotton and sugar-based plantation economy took hold:

The fact that Spain had neglected this paradise, had failed to people it and protect it, to cultivate it and mine it, was an affront almost against nature itself. And the fact that the United States was already locked in a struggle over the expansion of slavery, with eleven free states tipping the balance against ten slave states, meant that Texas offered a potentially ripe opportunity to extend the dominion of human bondage.

Harrigan reinforces the idea that most people do not think of Texas in relationship to slavery. The states western halfits cowboy half, its plains-and-desert halfacts as a kind of psychic counterweight to the cotton-kingdom identity that links it with the Old South. But linked it was. It was no surprise that Texas joined the Confederacy in the hope of maintaining slavery and control over African-Americans. As things turned out, Anglo-Texans did not have long to develop their slave-based economy. The Civil War broke out fifteen years after Texas became a part of the country. Like all Southern states, it resisted Reconstruction and unleashed violence against the people it had formerly held in bondage. Quoting from letters, Harrigan reveals the depth of the hatred that many white Texans felt for all the nonwhites in their midst. They were firm in their belief that the state had been established for white people who were to have dominion over nonwhites. Harrigan echoes McMurtry and Martinez on the violence perpetrated against Mexican-Americans. There were exceptions, but the book leaves no doubt about the origins of the states troubled racial history.

The great strength of Harrigans work is that he tells the stories of all the types of people who have lived in Texas, from its earliest days into modern times, with a sense that all of their lives mattered in fashioning the states identity. Barbara Jordan, the congresswoman from Houston, was a Texan. Jessie Daniel Ames, a white woman who campaigned against lynching, was a Texan. Emma Tenayuca, the labor agitator, was a Texan, as were Sam Houston and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Texas is a large place with no one defining character, save for many residents confident belief that to be a Texan is to be special.

What does all this add up to? How has Texass place in the American Union made a difference? How has the history of Texas directed the progress of the state and of the nation? Lawrence Wrights assertion that Texas has exerted a powerful influence, and will continue to do so, on the American political landscape finds additional support in Lucas A. Powe Jr.s Americas Lone Star Constitution: How Supreme Court Cases from Texas Shape the Nation. Cases originating in Texas have determined, among other things, the way many Americans vote, their right to choose to have an abortion, the way public schools can be funded, and the right for people of the same sex to engage in sexual activity together.

The history, diversity, and geography of Texas all explain what Powe identifies as the states disproportionate effect on American constitutional law, and thus on the entirety of the United States:

More important United States Supreme Court cases have originated in Texas than in any other state, so many, in fact, that entire basic courses in Constitutional Law in both law schools and political science departments could be taught using nothing but Texas cases.

Powes accessible and well-researched account demonstrates why Texas and not Californiaprovides breadth and depth to constitutional adjudication that has had the deepest impact on the nations laws. The states Southern character has also made it a source of resistance to racial discrimination. The focus on its western character, which grows out of that regions wide-open spaces, was, Powe argues, an early-twentieth-century adaptation designed to erase its connection to the South: The Civil War and the Lost Cause were downplayed. Texas is vast, with a mineral resource, oil, that has shaped its place nationally and internationally. Powe reminds us that until displaced by OPEC in the early 1970s, the Texas Railroad Commission set the world price of oil. Cases about energy produced in Texas were closely watched during the New Deal as the state resisted various federal regulations.

Powe references the early struggle over the inclusion of Texas into the Union, with John Quincy Adamss pronouncement that the annexation of an independent foreign power [Texas] would be ipso facto a dissolution of this Union. The sense of the foreignness of Texas, and its own pride at having once been independent, created a combative posture toward the national government from the very start. Texas was a Republic. That is why the constitutional law originating in Texas is so rich and pervasive. Like Wright, Powe is discomfited by the states outsized influence on national law. It is unlikely, however, that this influence will wane anytime soon.

In addition to being a state, Texas is also, Powe says, a state of mind. If one knew nothing about it at all and read these five books, it is likely that one would not come away with a favorable impression. And yet there is something about the placeand its state of mindthat appeals. It is one of the fastest-growing states in the country. People go there seeking fortunes of one kind or another, hoping to find a place for themselves somewhere between what is real and what is myth. It is my home state, and I never feel freer than when driving along a Texas highway, on my way to a somewhere of endless possibilities. I know the problems that others who traveled on those roads have experienced throughout historyand continue to experience. To a degree, that history and its legacy led me to trade one place within a strong mythology for the only other place in the country with as big a sense of itself as Texas: New York City. But the notion of a special freedom in Texasa hope, actuallyis reflexive for me. It is strange and disturbing to think that this hope may in any way resemble the feeling that brought thousands of Anglo settlers, along with the people they enslaved, into the region so long ago.

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The Real Texas | by Annette Gordon-Reed - The New York Review of Books

Under capitalism, even water is a tool of oppression Meg Hill 06 Oct – Red Flag

All life depends on water. It covers 71 percent of the Earths surface, makes up 60 percent of our bodies and literally falls from the sky. Its abundant and indispensable. But under capitalism, even water is a tool of social domination. That is the logic of a system of class rule. Capitalism turns material abundance into socially constructed scarcity. No resource not even water is exempt from that violent process. Resources like water are commodified and weaponised, through the workings of the market and through state violence. The human need for water makes it a potential weapon for the ruling class.

Nigeria: a study in imposed water scarcity

Nigerias Rivers state is home to the Ogoni people, an ethnic minority in Nigeria. Their dialect has a special term for water that denotes collective ownership reflecting that its seen as a resource to be shared for the benefit of humanity. But the Ogoni were forcibly removed from their traditional water sources through both long-term groundwater pollution by oil companies and state violence and privatisation in the 1990s. By 2012, the lack of drinkable water had become so severe that the Nigerian government declared a water emergency and was supplying rationed water to the affected communities.

However, quantities of water supplied both during the water emergency and post-water emergency have been insufficient to prevent water scarcity, argued a 2018 research article by Victor Ogbonnaya Okorie published in Africa Spectrum. As a result, residents of the affected communities, including owners of the polluted wells, who were once water-sufficient, became water-insufficient and have been integrated as customers into the burgeoning water market in the region.

The opening of new markets and potential profits presupposes dispossession and destruction of traditional forms of property, particularly collective ones. In Nigeria, the new water market needed more consumers and workers than were provided by dispossession through privatisation. Groundwater pollution provided that extra nudge by rendering the remaining collective water sources poisonous.

Ogoni activist Kenule Saro-Wiwa accused the oil companies of practising genocide against his people and led a mass movement against them. Three hundred thousand people marched against the ecological destruction. The response was repression. Saro-Wiwa was executed in 1995 by Nigerias military dictatorship. In his Statement Before Execution, Saro-Wiwa asserted that the oil companies and the military government were allies in ecological warfare against the Ogoni: Victory is assessed by profits, and in this sense, Shells victory in Ogoni has been total. Last year, Shell celebrated 60 years of operation in Nigeria.

Water privatisation and pollution were the two pillars used to force on the Ogoni a system premised on scarcity. Dr Okorie concluded: What has eroded as the local wells turn black has been a set of social relations that were enabled by the fact that water was part of the commons and had more than monetary value.

Imperialism and water in Palestine

Human need for water is a weapon in the service of imperialism and settler colonialism. Water can be not just a commodity, but a means of ethnic cleansing. In occupied Palestine, Israel-as-oasis is a prominent part of the states national mythology. The military occupation, expanding illegal settlements and apartheid are accompanied by assertions that Israel has brought life human, animal and plant to what was a barren, inhospitable landscape. Desolate-looking Palestinian villages are contrasted to thriving, green Israeli settlements.

Halamish, an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, sits above the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh. In the documentary Thank God Its Friday, a Halamish resident is filmed watering her garden while boasting, There were no birds before we came. In reality, its through violent dispossession of houses, land, resources and life that every Israeli settlement is built, and water theft has played a key role in that dispossession. When Palestinians had access to water, their agricultural communities thrived. Israel forced Palestinians off the arable land and took it under Israeli control. Palestinian access to water is increasingly restricted as settlements continue to be built on freshly stolen land.

In Nabi Saleh, residents receive 12 hours of running water a week. In Halamish its provided 24 hours a day. A huge pool sits as a centrepiece in the settlement, probably filled with water from the villages water spring that was confiscated for use by the settlement in 2009.Nabi Saleh is under constant siege by the Israeli military, which raids homes, murders civilians and destroys water tanks on the villagers roofs. With villagers forced off their land to make way for the Halamish settlement, and with their water spring confiscated, the targeting of water tanks ensures that they are reliant on water provided by the Israeli state.

The village and settlement are located within Area C of the West Bank. An Al Jazeera article outlined Israels strategy in the area: The lack of water and other basic services resulting from Israeli policies has created a coercive environment that often leaves Palestinians with no choice but to leave their communities in Area C, allowing Israels land takeover and further expansion of its settlements.

But its not just Area C. Since Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, it has instituted water-sharing agreements that force all Palestinians in the region into dependence on Israel. Palestinians have refused to sit on the Joint Water Committee within which Israel has a veto since 2010. Water control is a key part of Israels ongoing process of dispossession: hence the myth of Palestine as a water-scarce region. The West Bank is not naturally short of water. Its bordered by the Jordan River and sits above the Mountain Aquifer. United Nations data show that Ramallah gets more rainfall than London. But Israels policies ensure that its siphoned away from Palestinians.

And its not just the West Bank. The 2 million Palestinians living in Gaza, the worlds biggest open-air prison, have access to virtually nothing that is not provided by Israel. The United Nations has predicted Gaza could be uninhabitable by 2020, partly due to its water crisis.There is nothing accidental about that crisis. Where the needs of capitalism are met through imperialism and ethnic cleansing, places like Palestine are made deserts.

Water in the West

Resources are never ordered in accordance with human need under capitalism. While competition and the profit motive reign, rational planning and allocation are inconceivable. So water use is also separated from human need in wealthy places like Australia and the US.

Indigenous people in both the US and Australia, more developed capitalist nations than Israel and Nigeria, have long been subject to the same brutal processes of dispossession. But capitalist forms of water management developed and spread as the commodity-based economy took control.

The most recent catalysts for that development have been neoliberalism and climate change. The neoliberal era has removed water from the mostly illusory special status offered by state ownership where a sector or resource is seemingly shielded from market pressures in the postwar West, while across the world the escalating climate crisis is bringing to a head tensions associated with apparent scarcity.

Some light has been shed on the scale of water management corruption in Australia this year by mass fish kills in the Murray-Darling Basin. Although the immediate cause was a toxic algae bloom, there was no hiding the social nature of the disaster: for years water has been systematically pulled from all over the basin for use by agribusiness, leaving downstream communities and the basin itself prone to crisis.

Another flash point in Australia is the Adani coal mine. The monstrous project had polluted wetlands in Queensland before it was even approved. Its operations will require billions of litres of groundwater while almost certainly polluting the Great Artesian Basin, the largest of its kind in the world. And Adani, thanks to both the federal and Queensland governments, will get its water for free. For the rest of us, the water that comes out of our taps and that we need to survive comes with a bill. Whats left after priority is given to corporations like Adani is sold to us for profit.

Meanwhile, in the US, Trump has just rolled back a mild water reform won under Obama. Regulations to the Clean Water Act established some federal oversight that would lessen the severity of local water pollution. Trump has rescinded those measures to the benefit of a range of profiteers. News reports of the changes have emphasised the differences between Trump and Obama, but they have more in common than not. While measures against some pollution were taken under Obama, his approach was simply striking a different balance than Trump.

In fact, Obamas wars over water proved that the ongoing development of capitalism never stops targeting Indigenous populations. In 2016 the world watched battles between the Native American Sioux and their supporters and the Obama administration over the Dakota Access oil pipeline. One of the major issues was the destruction of the Standing Rock Sioux reservations water supply. Under Obamas watch, the military was sent in to break up a protest camp, dubbed the water protectors, of more than 10,000 people. The pipeline, now built, runs for almost 2,000 kilometres. According to the Intercept, it leaked oil at least five times in 2017 alone.

Capitalism distorts our relationship with every resource, no matter its abundance or its importance to human survival. Those in charge are conscious of how the impending climate crisis affects those needs and are increasingly anxious to protect their control over resources, especially water, into the tumultuous future. Capitalists are increasingly worried both that those theyve deprived of water will rise up against them, and that the climate catastrophe theyve created will start to impede their business and security. A few remedies are being experimented with. Some capitalists are hiring firms of trained killers to protect them and their water supply if we come for it. Others are securing getaway strategies like buying up remote land in New Zealand complete with the worlds freshest water sources to wait out the apocalypse. And in the meantime, scarcity exacerbated by climate change is driving up water prices, and with them profits, everywhere.

In Nigeria, a walled city is being built off the countrys coast to shelter the rich and powerful in the event of a climate apocalypse. The project is bankrolled by the Chagoury Group. Its founder, Gilbert Chagoury, was a Nigerian billionaire and adviser to the dictatorship that murdered Kenule Saro-Wiwa. Before he was executed, Saro-Wiwa said that history would put his murderers on trial. But if left unchallenged, our enemies can wait out the climate crisis on islands or sustain their rule through violent authoritarianism. The right side of history will win only through a collective struggle to the final victory of humanity over the rule of profit. Only then can water, nature and our wealth be used for human need and not for social control.

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Under capitalism, even water is a tool of oppression Meg Hill 06 Oct - Red Flag


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