Kirkland sparkling water
I thought the discussion about AirBnB’s role as an activist in ending discrimination in this context extremely interesting. As the company extends its platform globally, serving both hosts and consumers, the potential exists for hosts to discriminate based on the nationality of potential customers that they are willing to rent their home or apartment to. If this occurs, AirBnB could actually end up exacerbating isolationist tendencies and nationalistic attitudes at the individual level globally, completely hampering the positive concept of person to person diplomacy. As the author mentions, AirBnB continues to provide education to its consumers regarding unconscious bias and other topics aimed at eliminating discrimination throughout the platform. I think this will become even more important as it expands globally to prevent nationalistic discrimination.
If Facebook chooses to serve customers in the Russian market in pursuit of its mission to “bring the world closer together,” it has the obligation to follow the laws and regulations of the country in which it operates. Whether or not it agrees with the actions of the Russian government, Russia remains a sovereign nation-state with the ability and will to enforce regulatory action in pursuit of its own goals. In this case, the author and many additional comments, have pointed to the high costs and the negative potential social and political externalities of compliance with the Russian government’s demands. However, the huge market potential of Russia, combined with the positive social impacts of Facebook continuing to serve Russian consumers, even in the face of these regulations cannot be ignored. If Facebook is unable to successfully lobby the Russian government to change its policy, I believe that compliance is the appropriate path forward to maintain Russian consumers connection to the global platform, albeit with some restrictions imposed by their nation-state.
The ethical considerations of leveraging the new routes made available by climate change, given Carnival’s contributions to it, are particularly intriguing. One potential argument in favor of Carnival using these routes is the ability to drive additional profits that could subsequently be invested into the efforts required to reduce the company’s environmental impacts going forward. At the same time, the utilization of these routes could provide new opportunities for travelers to experience areas obviously and visibly impacted by climate change first-hand. These offerings could serve as an inherently powerful educational tool if messaged to customers properly by Carnival. For these reasons, the ethical dilemma can be viewed through the lens of Carnival’s intentions in leveraging these new routes, and whether the company plans to use the opportunity to lessen its future environmental impact, rather than to sustain or even increase it in pursuit of profit.
As the author stated, margins in the global seafood industry have already been reduced, as major players contend with higher costs associated with sustainable fishing policies to ensure the long-term viability of seafood supply. In this fragmented sector, the will to invest additional capital towards reducing carbon footprint to ameliorate climate change concerns thus remains minimal. If regulatory bodies, such as the UN, push for greater regulation in this space it is increasingly likely that the seafood industry will simply pass these additional costs on to their customers in order to remain profitable, if larger players could even survive the necessary capital investments to comply with the regulations in the first place. Is it fair to expect consumers, especially those living in poverty in the developing world who rely on the global supply of seafood for subsistence, to absorb these costs? I do not think it is simply a matter of educating consumers. More importantly, the question is whether customers are willing, or even should be willing, to accept higher costs on these vital, basic food items?
In terms of the long-term sustainability of the business model, the author mentions the need for dedicated teams to assess future trends and specifically autonomous vehicles as part of Convoy’s way forward. The previous comment introduced the potential for job losses throughout the trucking industry as Convoy and other players reduce inefficiencies in the supply chain with these digitized platforms. This potential trend would become greatly exacerbated through the introduction of autonomous vehicles into the space. The improvement in inefficiencies with better matching and scheduling of freight, combined with the decrease in truck driver labor needed as autonomous vehicles become more widespread, together could result in massive disruption of the more than 1 million Americans currently employed as truck drivers, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In turn, this could result in popular will for regulatory action against digitization and autonomous vehicles in the trucking industry, exposing Convoy and other entrants to future regulatory risks aimed at protecting American workers’ jobs. To remain sustainable in the long term, Convoy must take appropriate steps to understand the potential benefits, but also potential costs, of wide-scale adoption of autonomous vehicles in its model.
This raises an interesting point in reference to intra-industry competition and the potential view of consumers of airplane seats as commodities items, with little brand loyalty. With multiple airlines, like Delta as you describe, beginning to leverage digitization in their supply chains, I wonder if this represents a future area for brand differentiation between airlines. Or on the contrary, will airlines that fail to make the necessary investments in digitizing supply chain infrastructure throughout all functional areas simply be left behind as obsolete in a future environment in which all surviving airlines are digitized? Recognizing the thin margins available to industry participants to expend capital and remain profitable, I think that Delta’s investments in this area will provide a short-term competitive edge in providing service to customers, such as the RFID tagging initiative you referenced, potentially de-commoditizing its seat offerings and strengthening its brand in comparison to other airlines unable or unwilling to make such investments at this time.