Business Trends

Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

IT Spending Increases; Focus on Optimizing Processes for Fast ROI

In Uncategorized on February 25, 2010 at 12:35 am

A recent survey conducted by Altada Solution — a leading provider of software solutions for the retail industry — shows that IT budgets appear to be recovering after the initial downturn at the start of last year’s recession, with averages for all retailers at 1.3% of sales compared to 1% last year, while 26% of respondents expect their IT budget to increase; the same figure as last year. The company released findings from the 2nd annual Global Retail CIO Survey, jointly sponsored with IBM.

However, while last year’s survey showed that increase to relate to projects already underway, this year’s interviews revealed more aggressive plans to implement new systems. The survey of 109 retail CIOs and IT Directors in both the Americas and Europe was undertaken in Q4 2009 by retail industry research specialists Martec International.

This year’s Global Retail CIO Survey clearly shows that optimizing the product / place / promotion offer is becoming an increasingly critical element of retail IT spend. More than 50% of retailers will be upgrading, replacing or implementing new systems in areas such as Automated Replenishment (52%), Assortment Optimization (58%), Promotions Optimization (56%), Promotions Management (54%), with a further 46% looking to invest in Demand Forecasting. Master Data Management (MDM) has the highest planned implementation of all applications studied in the survey, both across the Enterprise (35%) and for Supplier Management (28%).

“The top line statistics from this year’s survey, and indeed last year’s, suggest that the retail sector has survived the recession remarkably effectively,” said Allan Davies, CMO, Aldata Solution. “The truth is, though, that while the downturn hasn’t halted retailers’ IT spend, it has certainly changed the way that money is spent. Gone are the days of end-to-end, rip and replace projects, and instead we’re seeing a big focus on process optimization. Retail CIOs are not afraid of investing in new projects, but they need to see a quick return on investment. And by quick, I’m talking about months, not years.”

Customer is King

Systems to attract and keep customers featured prominently in this year’s survey. Multi-channel CRM was ranked as the most important application by respondents, with 42% having yet to implement multi-channel CRM, but with plans to do so within the next three years. Similarly 38% of CIOs surveyed plan to implement Loyalty systems – with customer data linked to buying patterns and behavior – within the next three years. And finally, systems that support the safety of customers were considered the most important application by 47% of respondents.

Sustainability Not a Priority

For the first time, attitudes to sustainability were considered as part of the research. Respondents were asked to score the impact of sustainability on IT spend and strategy on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the highest). The average emerged as a lukewarm 5.1. Views appeared to be polarized, with 13% considering sustainability to have a negligible impact on IT strategy, while 6% considered it to have a major impact. In terms of which applications retailers feel are having the greatest impact on sustainability, applications for store operations came top of the list. For the future, more retailers believe that multi-channel retailing will have the biggest impact on sustainability.

Related Links: IBISWorld industry reports

Software Publishing Industry in the U.S.

IT Consulting in the U.S.

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World-Class Hub for Medical Research To Be Built In Mexico City

In Uncategorized on December 1, 2009 at 11:50 pm

The government of Mexico City announced it will build a world-class center for biomedical and nanomedical research, called Campus Biometropolis. The center for medical research and development will be integrated with the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the top Spanish speaking university in the world. The research complex, scheduled to begin construction in 2010, has been designed by the internationally-acclaimed architectural firm, Foster + Partners, whose previous works include the Hearst Tower in New York City and Berlin’s Reichstag building.

Campus Biometropolis, which will attract significant investment over the next several years, will become an engine for the transformation of Mexico’s economy. Mexico has first-class human resources and considerable infrastructure to position itself as the leading knowledge center for Latin America. It will attract medical tourism, deliver multiple medical services for the US economy and become a platform for world-class clinical research.

This state-of-the-art research and development cluster will look to attract pharmaceutical and biomedical companies and organizations from around the world. Given its close proximity to corporate laboratories, start-ups and public research institutions, it will provide fertile ground for R&D, and offer an environment to accelerate product development and commercialization. As one of the world’s leading financial capitals, Mexico City is an ideal location for companies looking to access Spanish-speaking markets.

“Mexico City’s Campus Biometropolis is the cornerstone of a broader vision to transform Mexico City into a knowledge capital,” said Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard. “This is a critical investment in the future of Mexico City, taking us a step further toward becoming a global hub of scientific and technological excellence.”

Mayor Ebrard continued, “As one of the most vibrant cities in the world, Mexico City is the ideal location for pharmaceutical and biomedical companies and organizations looking for new development opportunities and access to new markets.”

Campus Biometropolis will be sustainably designed and built, and will be composed of hospitals, laboratories and medical universities, as well as residential and retail areas. In addition, the complex will include a natural reserve and will become a model for green buildings and water conservation. This project is in accordance with Mayor Ebrard’s plan to transform the city into one of the most environmentally-conscience and sustainable cities in the world.

The medical hub is at the core of Mayor Ebrard’s General Development Plan, which was designed to convert Mexico City into Latin America’s premier knowledge economy. The five-year plan, launched in 2007, aims to create more equity for Mexico City’s inhabitants by building a sustainable and inclusive city, promoting equality through better health, education and technology and improving the competitiveness of the Mexican capital.

Related Links


Global Pharmaceuticals and Medicine Manufacturing

Top Green Jobs During the Recession

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Green Dream Jobs and green workforce development consultant Jim Cassio released data that shows the top green job titles posted by employers and in which cities over the past year – during the recession.greenjobs

Although a plethora of studies show the potential for green jobs going forward, many note the dearth of data on current green jobs in the U.S. economy. Green Dream Jobs, online since 1996, collects concrete historical and current data on the job titles employers are actually looking to fill.

“The leading job tiles show the breadth of green positions across the economy,” says Rona Fried, Ph.D., CEO of SustainableBusiness.com, which runs Green Dream Jobs. “Most people think of energy auditing and renewable energy as green jobs, but leading non-profit organizations are major employers, and people needed to run projects and analyze data are in demand, as well as those in sales and business development. Engineers are also in demand for renewable energy operations and even in this economy, we’re still seeing many job openings in green building.”

“The data also point to the variety of skill levels employers seek – from executive skills as Executive Director of green non-profits (NGOs), to mid-level skills associated with analysis, project development and managerial positions, to entry level skills for positions like Administrative Assistant,” notes Jim Cassio.

Interestingly, the most frequently keywords used by job seekers to find job openings on Green Dream Jobs match many of the available positions: sustainability; climate change; wind, solar, construction manager, architectural designer, executive director, naturalist.

The top city for green employment over the past year is Washington DC, reflecting the many executive director positions at green NGOs. Other top 10 cities are those with aggressive green business incentives and policies: the San Francisco Bay area, New York, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Portland, Oregon and Burlington, Vermont. The top 20 cities include Houston, Madison, Wisconsin, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego in California, and Philadelphia.

Although there have been fewer green job openings over the past year, there are a wide variety of employment opportunities in many fields and for people of all skill levels. As the economy recovers, we expect a surge in openings in the various renewable energies, as we saw in previous years. Green Dream Jobs will soon launch the Green Jobs Educational Directory to help people locate the hundreds of green job training programs under development across the US.

 Top 20 Green Job Titles

    Executive Director, Nonprofit
    Project Leader/Manager
    Sustainability Program Director/Manager
    Sales/Business Development Associate or Manager
    Marketing Manager/Coordinator
    Community Crew Leaders/Supervisors, Conservation Associations
    Business/Data Analyst
    Research Analyst/Manager
    Environmental Educator/Naturalist
    Account Executive/Manager, Sales
    Professor (various academic fields)
    Sustainability Analyst/Consultant
    Operations Manager
    Wind Energy Engineer
    Administrative Assistant
    Trainer, Training Specialist or Training Coordinator
    Electrical/Design Engineer
    Green Architect
    Green Building Project Manager
    Solar Process Engineer/Process Integration Engineer

Ethical brand/products rising in demand

In Uncategorized on June 1, 2009 at 5:02 pm

 Corporation Institute (ECI) has found the current economic climate is having little effect on consumer desires towards making ‘ethical’ purchases. Demand for produce certified by organisations like the Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade is soaring in 2009. We can expect further growth in the market for industry standards and certification.

Rob Cameron, head of the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation, told the Annual Responsible Business Summit in London last month that consumption of products under the Fairtrade label is continuing to rise. Retail sales volume is expected to increase from €2.4 billion in 2007 to €3 billion when the 2008 figures are released. This rise will have been aided by partnerships with the likes of Starbucks and Cadburys.

Last month the Rainforest Alliance reported that the amount of forest and farmland certified by Rainforest Alliance will continue to soar along with demand for products that meet standards for social and environmental sustainability.

“The drive is coming from all along the value chain and especially companies. We’ve never seen more interest from companies, from consumers and from producers,” said Chris Wille, Rainforest Alliance chief of Sustainable Agriculture.

It’s clear retailers seeking to cut costs in the economic downturn, need to continue investing in environmental sustainability to retain customers.

Sharon Greene, Managing Director of RISK International told ECI that their recent studies show 72% of European consumers prefer ethical brands.

‘In order to keep customers and other stakeholders engaged with their brand, companies need to stay abreast of the recent developments in this sector’ says Pam Muckosy, Head of Research at the ECI.’

Pacific Coast Builders Conference Announces 2009 Cool Products Winners

In Uncategorized on June 1, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Every year, hundreds of exhibitors come to PCBC (a community of builders and manufacturers, building scientists, architects,  and environmental engineers) in San Francisco to market their best and most innovative products to the nation’s top homebuilders – products designed to help improve the homebuilding process, make a new home more inviting to a prospective buyer, and help improve the sustainability of our communities.

Now in its eighth year, PCBC’s Cool Products competition seeks to highlight those products that have that extra “cool” factor that makes builders and consumers take notice. This year’s competition was divided into four categories:

-Conserves Natural Resources
-Contributes to a Healthier Safer Living Environment
-A New, Cool Invention
-Saves Energy

A select panel of industry experts, including homebuilders, media, and architects, reviewed the finalists in each of the four categories and voted to determine which products were the “coolest of the cool.”

The winners will be among the hundreds of exhibitors displaying their new and innovative products at PCBC, which takes place June 17-19 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Each winner will have a special “Cool Products Winner” award displayed in their exhibit, and there will be kiosks displaying the winners with respective booth numbers to direct people to the appropriate exhibitors.

Here are the 2009 Cool Products winners:

Category: Conserves Natural Resources 
Winner: EcoStar, Booth #1140
 
Product: Majestic Slate 10″ Traditional Tiles, a narrower version of EcoStar’s existing 12-inch tiles, these 10-inch Majestic Slate tiles are intended to more closely replicate  the look of standard slate tiles, which are traditionally manufactured in both 10- and   12-inch widths.  

Cool Qualities: Made from 80% recycled material; Minimal use of limestone fillers; can be combined with 12″ tiles for authentic slate appearance.  

Category: Contributes to a Healthier, Safer Living Environment 
  Winner: Icynene Inc., Booth #2611
 
Product: Icynene LD-R-50, a climate-friendly, light-density, spray-foam insulation and air barrier that contributes to a healthier,  quieter and more energy-efficient building. Made using 100% natural castor oil, its HFC-free formulation helps contractors insulate and air-seal in one step for superior energy conservation while minimizing environmental impact.  

Cool Qualities: Castor oil is 100% naturally filtered with no chemical additives; The castor oil production process has low energy dependence;  Castor crops are non-irrigated saving scarce water supplies; Castor  crops do not require pesticide or fungicide treatment; Castor beans are a  rapidly renewable material that helped LD-R-50 become the 1st building   product to receive the ICC-ES SAVE designation (VAR-1002) for sustainability.   

Category: A New, Cool Invention 
Winner: Panasonic, Booth #0716
 
Product: WhisperGreen VKM2FV-08, an 80 CFM Ventilation Fan with Variable Speed Controls and Motion Sensor.  

Cool Qualities: Only ventilation fan in the industry to exceed Energy Star guidelines by 457%-550% with revolutionary energy-efficient  DC motor. The product is compliant with required ventilation codes and  green building programs, and the Smart Action motion sensor eliminates moisture, odor, and other indoor pollutants. It also features built-in  
variable speed controls with high/low delay timer.   
 
Category: Saves Energy 
Winner: Custom-Bilt Metals, Booth #2329
 
Product: FusionSolar, a more-affordable rooftop solar power generation system integrated within a standing seam metal roof  that provides both simplicity and low installation costs.  

Cool Qualities: The FusionSolar system comes fully assembled, with the solar, thin-film laminate already integrated into the roof,  which minimizes the installation costs and qualifies for tax incentives.  FusionSolar visually blends in without penetrations in the roof, delivers  up to 7 LEED points in the on-site renewable energy category and also  
achieves a higher relative efficiency under high temperatures and low light than solar glass. Prospective customers receive a customized  (ROI) report to help determine payback period and to understand how  much total power consumption is offset by generating clean, renewable  and dependable electric power.

Recycling Crisis: “Green” Industries Are Bucking The Recession, So Why Is Recycling In The Can?

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2009 at 4:00 pm

The U.S. is urgently seeking sustainability and it is apparent in the growth of “green” business, according to industry research firm IBISWorld.   But while most of these industries are bucking the recession, recycling is expected to decline significantly in 2009 – after five years of strong growth. 

“Falling prices have put the recycling industry on the scrapheap this year,” explained George Van Horn, senior analyst with IBISWorld.   “It is the thirteenth biggest revenue loser in 2009, and is expected to plummet a drastic 20 percent.”

Growing at an annualized rate of 6.3 percent for the past five years to 2008, Recycling Facilities is one of the few industries in the “green sector” to observe a decline.  Metal price declines combined with lower demand for recycled material are major factors impacting sales.  A fall in revenue and profits may hasten consolidation between the larger industry players, such as Waste Management and Covanta.  Smaller operators, more labor intensive, and without integrated waste collection and disposal activities, may be forced to exit the industry all together.