To respond to who would incur the effects of a excise or border tax, I believe the answer is the customer. Whenever costs go up for a retailer, due to commodity pricing etc, they markup the product accordingly to maintain their margin. From my retail experience, there is no circumstance (other than a direct pricing war with a competitor) where eroding margins are acceptable. If this tax effects all imports, I believe there will just be a new normal price for certain goods – and previous cost expectations would have to change in the new isolationist landscape. Wal-mart has the benefit of scale and strong bargaining power, so they likely could source much of their products from America for around the same cost due to the benefits for their new suppliers for the incremental sales volume.
What responsibility ABF has to its employees when it is forced to reorganize it’s supply chain due to the change in the political climate is a tough question. I believe any company should strive to do what’s best for their employees, but ultimately is held accountable to the bottom line. If they are forced to lay off some employees in order to cut costs, that is a better outcome, than keeping all employees, not remaining profitable and then having to file bankruptcy.
I believe that by Nike being a change agent for themselves, since they are so large, it will increase the accountability of many other companies as well. If the customer comes to expect sustainability from the brands they engage with, at some point, those who do not have “Zero waste” type practices in place, hopefully the customer will self-select away from those brands until others focus on sustainability as well. When something becomes an industry standard it raises the bar for others as well.
Matija brings up a good point, if acidity is only projected to continue to increase, TSF’s current fixes will not sustain the industry. His suggestion to attempt to find a type of oyster that can withstand the acidity is a strong one. Eventually adding antacids to the water and other treatments will not be enough. Oysters and other sea life will need to evolve or be breed in a way to withstand the environmental changes.
D poses some interesting questions. The way that auction houses are currently trying to verify wine has clearly been proven unreliable. However, much of the wine that is challenging to verify is aged, and even if digitization of it’s whereabouts begin now, it could be fabricated. Using blockchain for wine, could mitigate problems in the future by beginning when a current bottle is originally sold, but I am unsure if it can rectify the challenges of verifying vintages.
To comment on the question of if e-commerce will kill brick-and-mortar stores, I believe the answer is no, and no company would want that. We are seeing some digitally native brands add brick-and-mortar stores to their strategy and they would do this for many reasons, here are just a few: 1) A customer is worth the least if they only engage with your brand online, a bit more if they engage only in-store and by far the most if they shop both online and in-store. 2) Customers still often like to engage with a brand in person and have the opportunity to touch and see products. 3) If you can make being in-store more experiential, customers will be more inclined to come to the store, and will end up purchasing more than she would have online (usually). Adding more services, i.e. hair salons / hair drying salons, restaurants etc. gives the customer another reason to come to the store rather than shopping online and will elongate the life of brick-and-mortar locations.