Black Friday is the Busiest US shopping day of the year; Cyber Monday the busiest for online shopping Black Friday sales will top $7.5 billion on November 29 – up 20.3% from 2018, while Cyber Monday sales are predicted to hit $9.4 Billion on December 2 – up 19%, according to Adobe Analytics. Black Friday is the busiest US shopping day of the year and has been every year since 2005. A staggering 151 million people went to shopping malls or centers on Black Friday in 2018, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. The term Cyber Monday, was coined in 2005. Many consumers, who were too busy to shop over the US Thanksgiving weekend, shopped for bargains online on Monday from home or work. Cyber Monday in 2018 was the biggest US online shopping day in history. The five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday will account for 20% of total holiday US retail spending – so for retailers these five days are critical. Millennials are now the largest group in the US workforce and their lives are smartphone centric. Smartphone sales will account for 50% of the seasonal sales growth in 2019. And on Christmas Day consumer will purchase more on their smartphones than on desktop for the first time ever, predicts Adobe Analytics. Smartphone purchases are 21% smaller by dollar volume, as consumer leave larger purchases for researching on bigger laptop and desktop screens, notes Adobe Analytics. The best days for shopping online, based on retailers’ … [Read more...] about Record Setting Black Friday & Cyber Monday Expected
KITIMAT, B.C. — Canada’s natural resources minister says the environment and the economy go hand-in-hand after he toured the site of a new liquefied natural gas venture in British Columbia, days after the United Nations warned more needs to be done to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Amarjeet Sohi said Wednesday the government is showing leadership on climate change to meet the requirements of the 2015 Paris climate change agreement by putting a price on pollution, encouraging more investment in renewable energy and bringing in better regulations to reduce emissions. “We feel that oil and gas will remain a source of energy for the foreseeable future and it is very important that Canada is expanding its non-U.S. global markets to continue to create jobs that Canadians deserve,” he said in an interview after touring the LNG Canada facility. While the government must take action to reduce the impact of climate change, he said it also has a responsibility to reduce the country’s dependency on “one single customer” for oil and gas: the United States. The tour of the LNG Canada joint venture in Kitimat comes after a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said there will be irreversible changes and the entire loss of some ecosystems if the world doesn’t take immediate and intensive action to cut greenhouse gas emissions far more than is occurring now. Canada will have to cut its emissions almost in half over the next 12 years to meet the stiffer targets … [Read more...] about Economy and environment go hand-in-hand, says natural resources minister
It seems 2013 was the year of strategic renewal. Most of Canada's big retailers began the year with established business sustainability initiatives. Having made significant progress in eco-efficiency, companies were refreshing their business sustainability strategies after five or more years of experience under the belt. Those doing it well during the last few years had framed and implemented business sustainability as an opportunity to reduce risk and contribute to the bottom line, primarily via cost avoidance. Nonetheless, the value proposition of eco-efficiency for many retailers was beginning to level off. While the low-hanging fruit of eco-efficiency in packaging, building and transportation operations had generated hundreds of millions in cost savings for retailers, much of this low-hanging fruit had been picked, with additional projects in these areas facing diminishing returns. And so many sustainability managers explored new sources of value for their sustainability initiatives. In 2013, the focus of retailers and manufacturers shifted, with increasing financial and human resources directed at mitigating the social and environmental footprint of their products. The environmental footprint of products is a rich source of opportunity, often representing 85% or more of a retailer's total annual environmental footprint. The 2013 factory fires in Bangladesh only emphasized the potential brand-risk of such issues. Additionally, the growing burden of a … [Read more...] about Are Your Sustainable Practices Really Making a Difference?
Today is the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos (Jan 22-25). Many surveys and analysis will be presented at the Forum and side events outlining the problems and solutions the world and nations face. Here are some points of view that you will NOT likely hear coming out of WEF. Severe Income Disparity In a marketing coup, Oxfam publicized a staggering fact two days before the conference began: the net worth of the 85 wealthiest people in the world is equal to that of the 3.5-billion poorest worldwide. And the wealth of the richest 1 per cent of the world's population roughly equals that of everyone else (the 99 per cent). On Twitter this generated 18,000 tweets on January 19 -- which was more than both of WEF's primary hashtags combined -- #wef14 and #Davos. "Severe income disparity" is one of the most significant global risks identified by the World Economic Forum in 2014. But delegates spend $40,000+ to attend the Forum -- and there is the incessant buzz of helicopters ferrying delegates to Davos at $10,000 a trip. As Marshall McLuhan said the medium is the message. Oxfam's approach highlights the depth of inequality -- and it really makes me wonder: How much is enough? With some exceptions like J.K. Rowling, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who have given significant portions of their wealth to charities and foundations to address global problems, Oxfam's critique is profound. Climate Change If we continue with … [Read more...] about Some Points of View You Won’t Hear Coming Out of Davos
eCommerce exceeded $US1.2 trillion in 2013, according to a new report by eMarketer, and that's just for B2C transactions. The web is THE most important sales and marketing tool. There are only three things that matter in retailing according to age old wisdom: location, location, location. This wisdom still holds true today -- only now it also refers to a company's location in Google ranking for keyword searches for its products and services. Your rank in a Google organic search is critical in acquiring new leads and sales today. The #1 ranked result receives up to 36% of the click throughs while the top three items combined receive 58.4% of all traffic. Other studies put the combined traffic of the top three terms as high as 80%! By contrast, the eleventh item receives only two per cent of the clicks -- and for some searches that are millions of results! With more than 3.3 billion Google searches a day it means that the spoils for the victor in any keyword query are disproportionately large -- underscoring the critical importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Many marketers believe that if "you build it, they will come": if they just build an attractive, informative web site, the customers will follow. But the philosophy is only true in Kevin Costner's Field of Dreams. But today there are 30 trillion -- yes, that's TRILLION with a "T" -- web pages on the internet that Google indexes. You build a beautiful … [Read more...] about Billboard in the Jungle: SEO Essential for Sales and Marketing
Environmentalists have been asking some pretty tough questions of economists for the last 50 years. In Natural Capitalism Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins and Paul Hawken point out that of every 100 units of raw material that goes into our industrial system only 6 per cent is still in use after six months. So 94 per cent is waste! Or think about this: with just 5 per cent of the population, North Americans consume 33 per cent of the world's resources. So if everyone else in the world consumed as much as we do, we'd need another six planets to provide! Clearly we can't have infinite growth on a finite planet. As one of my mentors, Thomas Berry used to say: Economics, as it is currently practised, is a form of pathology: Ask any economist and they will tell you that GDP growth is good. So if more people get cancer, that's great, because spending on health care increases. When BP's rig in the Gulf of Mexico spills 4.9-million barrels of oil that's great because BP has to spend billions cleaning it up -- so GDP grows. And when the U.S. goes to war in Iraq and Afghanistan that's FANTASTIC because the lifetime spending due to that war will be somewhere between 2.7- and 6-TRILLON dollars, according to Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz. But you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that more cancer, catastrophe and war are not good. Herman Daly, the former Senior Economist for the World Bank asks, is GDP measuring wealth or ilth? Can … [Read more...] about When More Cancer Is Good for GDP Growth, We’re Measuring Things Wrong
In late September 2013 the International Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the first part of its Fifth Assessment Report. If businesses, economies and governments continue the current "business as usual" trajectory, by 2040 global carbon emissions will tip the planet beyond 2° Celcius, resulting in dramatic destabilization of the planet's climate: rising sea levels, flooding, droughts, heatwaves, more intense hurricanes and extreme weather. The IPCC, for the first time ever, presented an absolute, cumulative cap on carbon emissions of one trillion tonnes. Human activity, since the industrial revolution, has released 531 billion tonnes as of 2011. So we have used up more than half the cap. And without dramatic changes in the way our society works, we will exceed that cap by 2040 and push the planet into irreversible, catastrophic climate change. The higher the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere, the higher the chance of runaway climate change. And 350 parts per million (ppm) CO2 is agreed to provide a high probability of not achieving 2° Celcius rise but alarmingly the world is already at 400 ppm. So we have already exceeded the certainty of safety. Triggering Runaway Change: Arctic Methane Release The Arctic is warming at a faster rate than any other region of the world. And thawing permafrost in the Arctic threatens to release hundreds of billions of tons of methane. This is a catastrophic threat because: 1) Methane is … [Read more...] about Let’s Worry About Climate Change, Not Miley Cyrus
I am in Davos at the World Economic Forum (WEF) where the top issues that world leaders must address are: unstable global economy, eurozone fragility; and financial system instability. Climate change only ranks as the 7th issue. To me, it's like a group of business leaders and "experts" on the sinking Titanic discussing the fragility of champagne sales. I am deeply concerned about the Alice-in-Wonderland perception of the environment's big picture. On the morning of Saturday, January 12 when I logged onto Facebook, a friend's status update jumped out at me: "WHY DO MEDIA FAIL TO DISCUSS OPENLY THE SIGNS OF CLIMATE CHANGE? IT"S NOW 12 DEGREES IN TORONTO, NO SNOW, AND THE SIGNS OF SPRING IN JANUARY ARE NOT GOOD FOR ECOLOGY, HYDROLOGY, OR HUMAN PROSPERITY." Later in the day the temperature rose to 15ºC, at 3 p.m. setting a new record according to Environment Canada. It is deeply disturbing that we experience +15ºC in the middle of winter. And I am disturbed listening to the media commentary about how wonderful this warm weather is. A friend mentioned that the Magnolia tree in their neighbourhood was showing signs that it was about to bud. If this Spring weather continues in the middle of winter it will bud. And its flowering will be killed off with the inevitable return of winter weather. The stability and predictability of the seasons is defined as "security" by many Aboriginal peoples. The changing of the weather on a global scale is bringing unprecedented, … [Read more...] about Davos: Talking Champagne on a Sinking Titanic
Our first blog, How Sustainability Can Save Business, reframes the common purpose of traditional Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practitioners -- that of "saving the environment." Our premise: Given the social and economic frameworks and institutions of our society, more can be accomplished (and faster) by viewing sustainability as an economic opportunity relevant to business, compared to viewing it as an environmental initiative in isolation of business. Therefore the goal of "saving the environment" may be more appropriately framed as "saving business." Our perspective is pragmatic; that the worthy purpose of "saving the environment" is destined to be ineffectual, and at best immaterial, if environmental initiatives are pursued in isolation of the economic engines and structures of our society -- that is, capitalism, business, government and the active participation of other organizations and individuals within this framework. It is within this framework that companies are applying a central guiding principle to their business sustainability strategies -- "derive economic benefits from improved environmental and social outcomes." Why? Because it delivers results. We do not argue the desired outcome of healthy people and a healthy planet, and an economic framework that includes a broader social purpose. Indeed, we align on these values. After all, Jim was leader of the Green Party of Canada and Tyler used to earn his living as a conservation … [Read more...] about How Much Can Business Influence the Environment?
Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Chief Operating Officers (COOs) are increasingly accountable for sustainability. A study by Deloitte -- Sustainability: CFOs are coming to the table -- found their accountability for sustainability had jumped sharply during the last year. In 2012, 26 per cent of CFOs were responsible to the board for their firm's sustainability strategy, up from 17 per cent in 2011. Similarly, for COOs it was 10 per cent in 2012, up from 3 per cent in 2011. Further, 53 per cent of CFOs said their involvement had increased in the last year, with 61 per cent noting they expected it to increase over the next two years. The increasing relevance of business sustainability to financial performance and shareholder value was also highlighted in a recent study by the Chartered Accountants of Canada (CAC) -- Sustainability: Environmental and Social Issues Briefing, which noted that "key environmental issues, stakeholder trust and relationships and an evolving environmental and social legal and regulatory landscape are interconnected and impact strategy for competitiveness, risk and resilience." The report draws attention to the many environmental and social issues of relevance to directors in discharging their oversight responsibilities, including strategy, risk and risk oversight, financial performance, external reporting, and the reliability of reported information. When Canadian Tire began reporting its environmental footprint and the … [Read more...] about Why CFO’s Need to Care About Sustainability Now