Monthly Archives: June 2016
Filed in Agriculture & Food June 9 2016
In order to understand how we arrived at today’s food system and the opportunity to expand into organics, some history is in order.
Prior to World War II the food economy in the US was typified by organic market gardens and small grocery stores that carried fewer than 500 items. Self-sufficiency was a necessity as the economic grip of the Great Depression remained. The food supply was local and the average farm size was 157 acres.
World War II changed everything, laying the foundation for today’s industrial food economy. With the need to feed millions of soldiers, packaged food production went into high gear. K-rations, a soldier’s staple, were the precursor to post WWII packaged foods. We went from K-rations to TV dinners.
And the manufacture of ammonium nitrate used in making bombs was redirected into making the synthetic fertilizers widely used today throughout our chemical-based system of agriculture.
Organic sales have grown from $1 billion in 1990 to over $40 billion today.
The debate is raging about the safety of Glyphosate (Roundup) and GM foods in general. Research has been mounting about how GM crops and associated farming practices have sickened our soil and contributed to climate change. A new understanding is emerging about ... Read More
Filed in Energy , Environment & Climate , June 3 2016
The energy world is changing fast. Investments in renewable energy are outpacing investments in traditional energy. But both traditional power providers and startups are struggling to find viable business models for an industry in transition.
Among the first to feel the sweeping changes in the energy sector were utilities in developed countries that have a high share of renewables in the electricity mix. But now, more industries that rely on traditional energy sources are feeling the heat.
Shifting Toward Sustainable Energy
The overall business environment is shifting toward a clean energy future. In April 2016, 177 countries signed the ambitious Paris Climate Agreement. In response, companies are beginning to improve their sustainability footprint and are adjusting product portfolios and corporate strategies.
Despite the enthusiasm and well-meaning political support, it still seems difficult for businesses to thrive in this global energy transition. So far, the transition has undermined traditional energy markets without yet having created functioning new markets. Both risk-taking, disrupting pioneers as well as the asset-heavy, path-dependent incumbents are often at a loss.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Existing, large energy companies will find it difficult to succeed in the new energy future. They would have to risk a lot (but what is their alternative?). Yet their shareholders ... Read More
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