Nice article! I love the idea of Tokyo getting behind hydrogen as an alternative energy source. I also had no idea that Japan introduced the Shinkansen during the 1964 Olympics.
In addition to the measures already in place and that you have suggested to promote hydrogen as an energy source and to reduce CO2 emissions, I think Tokyo may be able to learn from a strategy implemented in London. Since 2003 Transport for London (government body responsible for transportation in Greater London) has implemented a congestion charge – a fee charged on most motor vehicles driving within the Congestion Charging Zone in central London, from which electric (and some hybrid) cars are exempt . it is effectively a road tax, which aims to:
(1) reduce road traffic
(2) reduce pollution
(3) raise funds for the City of London’s transport system.
By following London’s example and implementing such a scheme, perhaps TMG will be able to disincentivise Tokyo’s people from driving traditional cars, and in so doing slowly start to change their mindset to move towards renewable energy sources such as hydrogen. In addition, the tax revenues generated can be used to fund further development of hydrogen stations (which as you highlight, require high capital investment), or can be used by the government to fund educational initiatives to change public perception.
Really interesting essay. Given the reliance of the mining industry on traditional energy sources, it is in some ways surprising that these behemoths have been more reactive than proactive in addressing the risks associated with climate change.
For Rio Tinto in particular, I am most concerned by the sheer breadth of its operations, across such varied geographies. Because of this, I would worry that localised reactions (such as building a wind farm to service the Diavik Diamond Mine) are simply not scalable – RT cannot build new energy sources everywhere that it operates. Despite what I assume would have been huge capital expenditures to build that wind farm, it seems like a short-sighted approach – only affecting one of RT’s numerous operations – and smacks of desperation rather than innovation.
I would argue that RT’s position as an industry leader does not only give them the opportunity to develop new technologies to tackle climate change-related risks, but the obligation to do so and to set a new industry standard. This leads me to your final question. I do believe that they have a responsibility to share learnings for the greater good. I like the suggestion of another commentator to form a working group comprised not only of competitors, but also of governments, regulators, and other key stakeholders.
This was so interesting to read – thanks Wade! I had never considered before how blockchain could be applied to the food industry. You set out very clearly this ‘Blockchain of Food’ can allow companies such as Walmart to verify the source and quality of its goods and quickly identify weak links in times of crisis.
This technology could also be a very powerful tool in combating food fraud. In 2013, the UK and Europe were hit by what has since become known as the ‘horse meat scandal’: foods advertised as beef products were actually found to contain horse meat (or even to be 100% comprised of horse meat in some cases!) . Unlike the Chipotle incident, this wasn’t just an instance of quality control, but of potential criminal activity in food production. In cases such as this, the application of blockchain technology to food supply chains can be incredibly valuable not only to private companies, but also to regulators and/or government bodies monitoring the risk of food crime.
Thank you for sharing this! I really enjoyed reading your article. However, I want to challenge the idea that TAG even needs to respond to the rise of Apple’s and other SmartWatches. Maybe I am a traditionalist, but (like Alberto in the comment above) I have ‘bought in’ to the view that there is something innately valuable – and, to be honest, special – about the craftsmanship and complexity of a mechanical watch movement. To my mind, mechanical watches satisfy a very different need (or want) and market segment to that targeted by Apple et al.
That having been said, since TAG has decided to go down this route, I want to consider their approach. While Apple may now describe themselves as the world’s biggest watchmaker, I see smartwatches more as wearable tech (than as time pieces) – i.e., offering a fairly utilitarian function. Given this, I’m not sure that it makes sense for TAG to produce a *luxury* smartwatch at such a high price point. What would compel a consumer to buy a TAG for 5x the price of an Apple Watch? And if they did, then from the company’s perspective, is there a concern that this could cannibalise sales of traditional TAG watches, given the similar price point? Given these concerns, should they try to more directly compete with incoming, cheaper smartwatch competitors – possibly through sub-branding (to avoid diluting the TAG brand if this is a worry)?
Thanks for this – great article! I am particularly interested in the question of Rayonier diversifying their manufacturing base by directly building operations internationally, rather than through acquisition. While Jeff Immelt might see this as the easy option, I wonder whether Rayonier, as a relatively small player, has as deep pockets as GE to be able to fund what I expect would be highly capital-intensive construction and development projects abroad.
More broadly when considering whether Rayonier should expand operations internationally at all, I would be interested to know the final destination of the majority of their exports – firstly to determine Rayonier’s exposure to potential protectionist policies (given the differing likelihood across countries of a move towards isolationism), and secondly to determine how the savings generated from avoiding trade barriers compares to the cost of production in (and onward distribution from) those new geographies.
Really interesting piece! I was particularly surprised to read that Toyota has announced further investment into its Derbyshire plant, even as Brexit talks remain fraught, uncertain and (from here) with no resolution in sight. Given this backdrop, this seems a short-sighted move. Rather I agree with you that Toyota, like all other UK-based auto manufacturers, needs to focus on streamlining its supply chain. If Toyota is going to increase investment in its UK plants, it needs to protect its supply chain from the risk of high tariffs on imported component parts.
So to that point, I theoretically agree with your suggestion that Toyota should Buy Local. But I am concerned that in reality, at least for the moment, this just isn’t possible. As I noted in my post (on one of Toyota’s fellow UK-based auto producers, Jaguar Land Rover), the UK does not currently have either the technologies or production capabilities for auto manufacturers to be able to source 100% of car component parts domestically. I highlighted ‘reshoring’ as one solution to this. Given the high capital investment required to do so, another avenue could be if Toyota together with other auto firms to lobby the government for funding to put towards reshoring and/or production efforts on home ground.