Monday, August 31, 2009

Asia’s Recovery Highlights China’s Ascendancy

Published: August 23, 2009

PARIS — In past global slowdowns, the United States invariably led the way out, followed by Europe and the rest of the world. But for the first time, the catalyst is coming from China and the rest of Asia, where resurgent economies are helping the still-shaky West recover from the deepest recession since World War II.

Economists have long predicted that an increasingly powerful China would come to rival and eventually surpass the United States in economic influence. While the American economy is still more than three times the size of China’s, the nascent global recovery suggests that this long-anticipated change could arrive sooner than had been expected.

Such a shift would have significant ramifications for the United States and the rest of the West, even after the global economic recovery takes hold.

“The economic center of gravity has been shifting for some time, but this recession marks a turning point,” said Neal Soss, chief economist for Credit Suisse in New York. “It’s Asia that’s lifting the world, rather than the U.S., and that’s never happened before.”

China’s government-dominated, top-down economy is surging after Chinese banks doled out more than $1 trillion in loans in the first half of the year, in addition to a nearly $600 billion government stimulus program.

Though the benefits are manifest, some economists wonder whether China is laying the groundwork for sustainable growth or just increasing its export capacity despite more frugal spending habits on the part of Western consumers.

“The big question is what happens next,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a professor of economics at Harvard. “If the consumer in the United States and Europe doesn’t come back, I’m not sure Asia has a Plan B.”

But robust demand among Chinese consumers and businesses is one reason oil prices have doubled to more than $70 a barrel since bottoming out early this year, and China is likely to keep buying American debt as Washington borrows heavily to finance its myriad stimulus and bailout plans.

The United States is also being shoved aside as the make-or-break customer for export-driven nations like Germany and Japan. China overtook the United States as Japan’s leading trading partner in the first half of 2009, while in Europe manufacturers are looking east instead of west.

“What we’re losing in the trans-Atlantic trade with the U.S., we are gaining in China,” said Jens Nagel, head of the international department of the German Exporters Association.

In the near term, however, the United States should benefit from a resurgent Asia, as the American economy finally begins growing again, as expected in the second half of 2009.

“Vigorous rebounds overseas, particularly in East Asia, suggest that U.S. imports and exports will soon improve,” Mr. Soss said.

Last week, Hewlett-Packard pointed to double-digit revenue growth in China as a rare bright spot in an otherwise lackluster earnings report. Meanwhile, overall American exports to China have already been picking up, rising to $5.5 billion in June from $4.1 billion in January.

“The numbers are volatile, but the trend is clear,” said Robert Brusca of FAO Economics in New York. “It’s a big contrast with Japan, where U.S. exports are still dropping, but China is different.”

Of course, other factors have played a significant role in helping the global economy begin to stabilize, including trillions of dollars in support from central banks for frozen credit markets, as well as bailouts and rescues of major financial institutions, insurers and automobile companies.

But as the engine for future demand growth shifts from the government back to the private sector, and Americans remain wary of returning to their free-spending ways, Asian consumption is expected to pick up at least some of the slack. And if China does slow, as some experts fear it could in the second half of 2009, the United States’ effort to climb out of recession could be that much harder.

After the recession of 2001-2 and the slowdown in the early 1990s, the American economy served as the global locomotive, said Michael Saunders, head of European economics research for Citigroup.

Back then, he said, China and other Asian countries lacked huge cash reserves that could buttress them in the event of recession. But in the last decade, China has enjoyed huge trade surpluses with the West, and it holds $2.13 trillion in foreign reserves, solidifying its position as a rapidly emerging economic power.

Citigroup recently increased its estimate for annual Chinese economic growth to 8.7 percent in 2009 from 8.2 percent, and to 9.8 percent next year from 8.8 percent.

While economists like Mr. Soss expect that growth to spill over to the United States shortly, the effect is already visible in Europe.

Indeed, after the French and German economies shocked most economists this month by turning in positive performances for the second quarter, the normally conservative Deutsche Bank released a report titled, “Eurozone Q2 GDP: Made in China?”

For now, the answer seems to be yes. “It’s quite amazing, because usually Asia doesn’t play such a big role in European exports or output,” said Gilles Moec, senior European economist with Deutsche Bank in London.

French exports to China and other East Asian economies rose 18.7 percent in the second quarter, according to customs data, a sharp turnaround from the 16.2 percent drop recorded in the previous quarter. Overall exports to the region from the 16 countries that use the euro currency increased 6.3 percent in the second quarter, reversing a 6.2 percent drop in the first quarter, Mr. Moec said.

While Western European countries have been more timid about embarking on big spending programs because of their already mounting deficits, and European banks took huge hits on their holdings of subprime American debt, Beijing does not face either obstacle.

In the first half of 2009, Chinese banks lent a record $1.1 trillion in new loans, setting off fears that the lending binge might create a bubble over the long term.

China’s moves have also helped its neighbors increase industrial production sharply from recession lows. Since hitting a trough in late 2008 and early 2009, industrial production has jumped 28 percent in Korea and 26 percent in Taiwan. In July, American industrial production rose for the first time since December 2007, but it remains just half a percentage point above the bottom in June.

“Asia is still relatively small in the world, but it reflects how the world is changing, and economic power does translate, of course, into political power,” said Simon Johnson, a former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund and now a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “You can use it to win friends and influence people, as the Chinese are already doing in Africa and Latin America.”

Nadim Audi contributed reporting from Paris.
Sign in to Recommend More Articles in Business » A version of this article appeared in print on August 24, 2009, on page B1 of the New York edition.

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Malaysia’s New Labor Rules Hurt Business

KUALA LUMPUR — It is lunchtime at the Wangsa Ukay restaurant in suburban Kuala Lumpur, and regulars are coming in for local favorites like roti canai, chicken curry and tea tarik, the sweet, milky drink that is ubiquitous across Malaysia.

The owner, Muneandy Nalepan, has time to stop and talk for now, but when peak times hit on weekends, he and his wife must pitch in to help clear tables.

He used to have a staff of 120 — almost all foreigners — working in his five restaurants across the city. But after the government made it more difficult for businesses to hire workers from abroad, he is down to 80 because he has been unable to replace the 40 employees who had to return home after the maximum work period of five years.

Unable to find Malaysians willing to work as cooks, waiters or dishwashers, he is awaiting approval to employ more foreigners. But if he cannot get more workers soon, he says, he may close one of his outlets. Mr. Muneandy, an 18-year veteran of the industry, is even considering other business ventures.

“To run a restaurant, it’s becoming impossible,” he said.

It is not just restaurateurs complaining. Many business owners, from furniture producers to rubber glove manufacturers, say a labor shortage is harming productivity.

In January, Malaysia banned the hiring of new foreign workers in the manufacturing and service sectors after a government report predicted that 45,000 people could be laid off during the Lunar New Year at the end of that month, the New Straits Times reported.

“There is no valid reason to bring in foreign workers at this time,” Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar told the paper.

The ban was backed by labor groups. The Malaysian Trades Union Congress proposed a freeze on the recruitment of foreign workers last October.

“Because of the global economic downturn, we were worried about the impact on jobs for Malaysians as well as foreigners,” said Raja Sekaran Govindasamy, the group’s secretary general. “We don’t want workers to be brought in and abandoned, because that then causes hardship.”

In 2008, there were an estimated 2.2 million foreigners — mostly from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Myanmar and Vietnam — working legally in Malaysia, a nation of 28 million. Some reports suggest the country was home to another one million illegal workers. By March this year, the number of foreigners with work permits had fallen to 1.9 million, according to Shamsuddin Bardan, executive director of the Malaysian Federation of Employers.

“About 300,000 permits were not renewed, and people were sent back,” he said.

Malaysia recorded 31,392 layoffs from January through July, and the country’s unemployment rate rose to 4 percent in the first quarter of this year, the latest period for which figures are available. That was up from 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

Closing the doors to foreign workers is hardly a uniquely Malaysian response to the global economic downturn. Taiwan, South Korea and Australia also announced plans this year to reduce the number of new foreign worker visas, according to the International Labor Organization.

But in Malaysia, the cutbacks are not simply a result of the economic crisis. The government has said it wants to reduce the number of foreign workers to 1.5 million by 2015. Some believe weaning the country off its dependency on foreign workers is crucial to increasing local wages.

The average monthly wage in the manufacturing sector has risen to between 650 and 700 ringgit, or $185 to $200, in the past three months, up from 450 ringgit, the national news agency Bernama reported in August.

Mr. Raja said foreign workers often accepted lower wages than Malaysians. The country has no minimum wage. Typically, foreigners are brought in by a business offering a job, he said, or by an outsourcing company that promises them work.

Mr. Shamsuddin said that companies could still apply to recruit foreigners but that the process had become more difficult.

For example, he said that since April 1, employers have had to advertise vacancies locally for two months, up from one month, before they could apply to recruit foreigners. And employers must now pay an annual levy — as much as 1,800 ringgit — for any new foreigners they employ, he said; the fee used to be paid by workers. Mr. Shamsuddin said the government had abandoned plans to double the levy after the federation complained.

Dominant Semiconductor, a light bulb manufacturer with factories in Malaysia and China, is struggling to fill about 1,000 vacancies. Its chairman, Goh Nan Kioh, said the company was allowed to employ one foreigner for every local worker but could not find enough Malaysians to help increase its total work force. If the labor shortage continued, he said, the company might consider moving more of its labor-intensive operations to China.

The rubber glove industry is also struggling to find enough workers to fill orders, which have surged with the spread of swine flu.

“It’s a pity that right now when we are facing a big jump in demand, we are not getting enough workers,” said K.M. Lee, managing director of Top Glove and president of the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers’ Association.

The employers interviewed said they were trying to reduce their dependency on foreign workers by exploring ways to automate and to increase pay to attract locals. However, they say that foreign workers remain crucial for now because they cannot find enough locals willing to take what some call the “three D jobs” — dangerous, difficult and dirty.

“If you are going to get a Malaysian to come to work, it’s very difficult,” said Mr. Muneandy, the restaurant owner. “They feel that by working in a restaurant, their pride is in question. They feel that Malaysians have already come to a stage where they are above certain other Asian countries.”

Mohamed Ariff, executive director of the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, blames the country’s dependence on foreign labor on the decision to “open the flood gates” to migrant workers in the late 1980s, first in the plantation sector, then in manufacturing.

Mr. Ariff said that in the early 1990s, when wages in the manufacturing sector were rising, factories had considered introducing labor-saving technology but that many had shelved those plans when the government let them employ more foreign workers.

“The technology transfer suffered enormously,” he said. “Malaysia was trapped into an unskilled, labor-intensive economy.”

Malaysia should give up its labor-intensive operations to countries with lower wages, like China, he said, and concentrate on more highly skilled work like research and development, financial and health care services.

Some workers’ rights groups, though, are concerned that new restrictions on foreign laborers may result in more people migrating to countries before they obtain a valid work permit. That can leave them more vulnerable to exploitation, the International Labor Organization said.

Figures released by the government last week showed that the economy had emerged from recession in the second quarter. Mr. Raja, the labor leader, said that although job losses were easing, the unions believed the freeze on foreign workers should continue. If there is a need for more workers in the coming months, he said, companies should be able to extend the visas of foreign workers already in the country.

Sunil Nemdang, a 21-year-old Nepalese man, came to Malaysia in May on the belief that an agent had a job for him. He was given a work permit and told that he would work as a security guard. However, when he arrived, there was no job.

With the agent still holding his passport, Mr. Sunil is sleeping on the floor of a Nepalese restaurant alongside his three cousins, who made the trip with him, while he tries to get his documents back.

Despite the harsh introduction to life in Malaysia, he has not given up on his dream of earning money to send home to his parents, poor farmers living in a village in eastern Nepal. “If I get a good job, I want to work here for two or three years,” he said.

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Blue Chip, White Cotton: What Underwear Says About the Economy

For one answer to the nation's most pressing economic question -- when will the recession end? -- just take a peek inside the American man's underwear drawer.

There may be some new pairs there, judging by recent reports from retailers and analysts, and that could mean better days ahead for everyone.

Here's the theory, briefly: Sales of men's underwear typically are stable because they rank as a necessity. But during times of severe financial strain, men will try to stretch the time between buying new pairs, causing underwear sales to dip.

"It's a prolonged purchase," said Marshal Cohen, senior analyst with the consumer research firm NPD Group. "It's like trying to drive your car an extra 10,000 miles."

The growth in sales of men's underwear began to slow last year as the recession took hold, according to Mintel, another research firm. This year, Mintel expects sales to fall 2.3 percent, the first drop since the company started collecting data in 2003.

But the men's underwear index -- or, conveniently, MUI -- may also have a silver lining. Mintel predicts that next year, men's underwear sales will fall by 0.5 percent, and as with many economic indicators, a slowing of a decline can be welcomed as a step in the right direction. Retailers are reporting encouraging signs in the men's underwear department. Sears spokeswoman Amy Dimond said stores are beginning to see more sales. At Target, spokeswoman Jana O'Leary said sales of men's underwear have been stronger over the past two months and multi-pair packs are moving.

No less an oracle than former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan has given this theory credence, as described in a report on NPR two years ago. But you don't have to take his word for it. Just ask Kenneth Sanford, 59, of Capitol Heights, about his underwear. He said he usually buys new boxers every three months or so in maroon, black or white. But he had to stop working for medical reasons, and now he's having a hard time finding a new job.

To save money, he doesn't go out for ribs with his friends and family as much anymore. And when he indulges, he gets one piña colada instead of two. He hasn't bought a new pair of underwear in at least eight months.

"It's been a while now," Sanford said. "I just don't ever go shopping."

Of course, there are more conventional indicators of the nation's economic health. The gross domestic product fell 1 percent during the second quarter. Consumer spending and consumer confidence have been on a roller coaster this year. Home sales show some signs of bottoming out. But sometimes it is the little things that can be the most telling.

Leonard Lauder, chairman of the cosmetics company Estee Lauder, famously looked to lipstick sales as a barometer of consumers' mind-set during the last downturn. He believed that women were looking for small indulgences to lift their spirits during a tough economic time, though that theory has not held up in this recession, as sales of lipstick at mass retailers fell 8 percent over the past year, according to the research firm Information Resources.

Others look to a reported rise in prescriptions of anti-depressants and sleep aids last year as a sign of consumers' fragile state.

But perhaps no other purchase is as intimate as underwear. Few, if any, other people see it, so it's an easy place to skimp. According to Mintel, men buy an average of 3.4 pairs of underwear in a year. But from 2004 to 2008, the proportion of men buying single pairs at a time increased from 5 percent to 8 percent, while the share of men opting for packs of four or more fell slightly, from 68 to 66 percent -- indicating that shoppers may be trying to save money by buying only when necessary.

"People still need underwear," said Michael Kleinmann, president of, an online underwear retailer. "They just have less money to spend."

The company sells high-end men's underwear that can run as much as $30 per pair, along with brands that cost less than $10. Kleinmann said that such less expensive pairs have had double-digit-percentage sales growth recently, while demand for pricier pairs is slowing.

Cohen, of NPD, said he hopes the recent positive signs in men's underwear will spill over into other need-based purchases. With the recession nearing two years, shoppers are at the stage where their stuff is simply beginning to wear out, providing an incentive to return to the stores.

"The consumers may be down, but they're not out," said Cohen, who is bullish on an economic recovery. "If this were a true, deep, long, embedded recession, they wouldn't even be buying underwear."

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Las claves de la Cepal para mejorar el intercambio comercial con China.

Hace diez años, China no estaba dentro de los principales destinos para las exportaciones latinoamericanas, y los productos chinos tampoco eran los más requeridos por las importadoras locales. Sin embargo, el panorama actual es completamente distinto. Hoy todos apuntan al gigante asiático que -gracias a su sostenido crecimiento y sus políticas para sortear la crisis mundial- se ha transformado en el segundo socio comercial de América Latina, y definitivamente con ganas de ser más. El reciente informe de la Cepal, “Panorama de la inserción internacional de América Latina y el Caribe”, explica cómo China se ha convertido en el mercado preferente para las exportaciones e importaciones latinoamericanas.

El estado actual del intercambio

- Pese a la drástica contracción del comercio mundial de productos manufacturados, “gracias al dinamismo de la economía china, la demanda internacional de productos básicos mineros y energéticos se mantuvo elevada en el primer semestre de 2009. Por eso, para América del Sur, que se especializa en la exportación de productos básicos, la novedad es que la crisis está reforzando su tendencia a depender menos del ciclo estadounidense y más de los ciclos de China y Asia”. 

- En el período de Enero - Junio 2009, el volumen de las exportaciones de América Latina y el Caribe bajó en 15,3%; en tanto las importaciones de la región cayeron en un 25,3%. En el primer semestre de 2009 los envíos a China cayeron un 4,1%, mientras las exportaciones a la Unión Europea y a Estados Unidos descendieron 36,3% y 35,3%, respectivamente. 

- “Las cifras preliminares del primer semestre indican que son precisamente las importaciones chinas de algunos productos básicos las que estarían apuntalando las exportaciones de la región a este país, que —con una tasa de crecimiento del PIB del 8% proyectada para 2009— continúa demandando elevados volúmenes de materias primas. En cierta medida, el mercado interno de China ha salido al rescate de las exportaciones latinoamericanas. Este fenómeno ha beneficiado sobre todo a varios países de América del Sur en su calidad de exportadores netos de materias primas”.

Cómo enfrentar la poscrisis

“El contexto global poscrisis –explica el documento de la Cepal- estará marcado por la restauración del equilibrio fiscal en las economías industrializadas y por la necesidad de adoptar decisiones sobre la forma de abordar el cambio climático que elevarán los costos de las empresas y afectarán la competitividad de las naciones”.

Este escenario lleva a proponer un plan basado en la integración regional, ya que ofrece “la posibilidad de ampliar los mercados nacionales y las escalas de producción”, asimismo permite “el avance de las pequeñas y medianas empresas, dada su mayor presencia relativa en el comercio intrarregional, y estimula la diversificación productiva, al favorecer las exportaciones de mayor valor agregado y contenido manufacturero”.

Si bien se han presentando dificultades políticas para la integración regional, se sugiere que se debe construir espacios de convergencia, aceptando la diversidad: “Es preciso reconocer que en América del Sur existe una amplia gama de modalidades de inserción internacional. Ellas reflejan claramente las disonancias conceptuales sobre la forma de abordar los temas de comercio, integración, innovación y competitividad, en suma, respecto de cómo lidiar con el reto de la globalización”.

Cómo fortalecer el intercambio con China 

- Fortalecer los mecanismos de integración existentes en América Latina, creando un referente que facilite el diálogo con China y ASEAN. En la actualidad, cerca del 60% del comercio de equipos de transporte y maquinaria, y piezas y componentes, se realiza a nivel intrarregional. Así, con China como núcleo, la región de Asia Pacífico se ha convertido en una “fábrica mundial” de equipos de transporte y maquinarias.

- Se debe crear una política de prioridades regionales en las relaciones con China, con lo que se respondería a la política oficial que estableció el gobierno chino con respecto a América Latina.

- América Latina debería esforzarse activamente por atraer inversiones chinas y, al mismo tiempo, atreverse a invertir en China. 

- Las perspectivas de inversión china en la región se han visto fortalecidas tras el ingreso de este país al Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo. Por su parte, el Banco de Desarrollo de China explora también una posible aproximación estratégica hacia América Latina. Su accionar podría verse beneficiado mediante sesiones de trabajo con instituciones regionales que le transmitan las prioridades de inversión y el énfasis estratégico de los gobiernos latinoamericanos en materias comerciales. 

- Una tarea urgente sería generar iniciativas conjuntas con China para la promoción del turismo proveniente de este país, por ejemplo, aplicando medidas orientadas a facilitar el desplazamiento y la circulación de turistas dentro de la región. 

- El documento también destaca el reciente acuerdo de canje de monedas entre Argentina y China, que le permite al gobierno argentino pagar las importaciones chinas en yuanes. El objetivo de este esquema es garantizar la fluidez de las liquidaciones de las operaciones de comercio en caso de una eventual falta de liquidez internacional.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Transformando la industria del retail

Por: Jesús González*

El Desarrollo Sustentable es un tema que día con día está cobrando mayor interés y valor en las empresas mexicanas.

El Desarrollo Sustentable es un tema que día con día está cobrando mayor interés y valor en las empresas mexicanas. Sin embargo, es importante recalcar que no es una actividad filantrópica, sino que analiza de forma integral el desempeño de la organización desde tres perspectivas diferentes y complementarias:

El económico, relativo a la necesidad de que la empresa sea rentable para perdurar en el tiempo.

El social, que atiende los impactos internos y externos que pudieran tener las operaciones de la empresa
Y el ambiental, que cuida el impacto que ejerce la operación de la empresa sobre el medio ambiente y los recursos naturales.

Nuevos requerimientos
El interés de las compañías por enfrentar los retos y las oportunidades que presenta el ser sustentable ha aumentado, pues reconocen que es necesario atender los nuevos requerimientos de los grupos de interés o stakeholders, quienes ejercen influencia sobre la empresa.

Antes, mientras se ganara dinero, al negocio le iba a ir bien. Actualmente se requiere un balance entre la generación económica del negocio, el medio ambiente y el tema social, que asegure que las generaciones futuras van a disfrutar al menos de las mismas oportunidades y recursos que nosotros tenemos hoy.

Sustentabilidad o Desarrollo Sustentable es un concepto que debe estar incluido en la esencia de cualquier ente político, económico y social. Obligado a estar tanto en el plan estratégico como en la estructura de operación en el día a día del negocio.

La operación y la sustentabilidad no son independientes, deben de fundirse en uno solo. La sustentabilidad debe ser adoptada por los empleados y, también, por la cadena de suministro de la organización.

Recientes estudios hablan de cómo se observan las organizaciones en su actuación desde una perspectiva ética, ambiental y social, de su gestión de Desarrollo Sustentable.

La industria del retail tiene un lugar aceptable; sin embargo, no está en los primeros lugares de la lista. Hay industrias mejor vistas como la de alimentos y bebidas que se encuentra en el primer lugar, seguido por la de tecnología, el sector financiero (bancos) y en el cuarto lugar se encuentra la del retail.

Para poder mantener una empresa sustentable, lo primero es darse cuenta de que se tienen que hacer inversiones y no gastos. Debe verse como “si no invierto hoy en ese cambio, mañana puedo no tener siquiera negocio”.

Transformando el retail
Para administrar el cambio, se debe establecer un punto de partida y un punto estimado de llegada.
Es elemental medir en el tiempo cómo se va a hacer, cuánto va a costar, qué recursos humanos, materiales y tecnológicos se necesitan.

Las empresas de retail se obligan a replantear ciertos desafíos relevantes en su industria para transformarse en organizaciones sustentables, que logren beneficios y ventajas en el mercado, como por ejemplo:

  • Cambio Climático: reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero bajo el Mecanismo de Desarrollo Limpio.
  • Manejo de energía: analizar cómo reducir al máximo el consumo de energía y utilizar las nuevas tecnologías (eólica, solar).
  • Construcción: construcciones ecológicas, desecho de materiales de construcción.
  • Refrigerantes: la importancia de tener una medición de cuánto están contaminando.
  • Transporte de productos (flotillas): eficiencia en el menor número de viajes, menos contaminación, menos CO2.
  • Desperdicios, alimentos que sobran: método para deshacerse de alimentos y volverlos composta, pues de esta forma los desechos se eliminan de una forma óptima y se aprovechan para algo benéfico.
  • Desperdicio de consumibles: artículos de oficina (tóxicos).
  • Empaques y bolsas: decenas de millones de bolsas se utilizan diariamente a nivel mundial y multiplicadas por los 365 días del año se tiene como resultado una asombrosa contaminación, considerando, que el plástico tiene un proceso de degradación de más de 100 años.
Actualmente ya hay tecnologías para que las bolsas sean biodegradables y tengan un proceso de ajuste al medio ambiente en un plazo de tres a cinco años. También existen otras opciones como el uso de bolsas de reuso.

Materias primas sustentables
De dónde se obtienen los productos.

  • Productos perecederos: ¿De dónde los obtengo?, ¿cuál es su manejo de pesticidas?
  • Textiles: Sustentables (naturales, biodegradables) o sintéticos (dañinos a largo plazo).
  • Madera: Productos certificados en sustentabilidad con un proceso de reforestación definido.
  • Productos del mar: ¿Qué tipo de procesos siguen?, ¿se realiza en zonas permitidas?

Socio Justo
Ligado a la cadena de suministro, ¿quiénes son los proveedores? Realizar un proceso de revisión y certificación de proveedores.

Proveedores: vigilar que las adquisiciones que se hagan a proveedores cuenten con un cierto estándar sustentable. Una empresa de retail no puede decir que es sustentable si vende tenis hechos por niños de ocho años en un país asiático, debido a que tiene un efecto social negativo.

Pequeñas y medianas empresas: ¿Qué tanto se relaciona con pequeñas y medianas empresas? En México, más de 95% de los trabajos y de la generación de ingresos provienen de éstas. Si dentro de los proveedores se cuenta con una gama amplia de PYMES se está generando un beneficio social al apoyar a la economía local.

Productos benéficos para la salud: México se encuentra entre los cinco países con mayor obesidad en el mundo, ¿qué tipo de productos vendes?, ¿cómo los promocionas? En las empresas de retail, así como se encuentran asesores de maquillaje y perfumes ¿se debería promocionar asesores que hablen de balance alimenticio? Se da un beneficio social, al tiempo que se incrementan las ventas.

Ser una empresa con un plan estratégico de Desarrollo Sustentable es una tendencia mundial que va ocupando la atención de empresas de diferentes industrias.

La industria del retail de nuestro país ha realizado esfuerzos en los tres pilares (económico, social y ambiental), sin embargo, aún tiene áreas de oportunidad que debe mejorar mientras es un requisito opcional.

En un futuro será un elemento obligatorio para la industria y los costos de no hacerlo antes de tiempo y de manera planeada serán mayores.

*Jesús González es socio de la Práctica de Asesoría en Riesgos de KPMG en México y su correo electrónico es

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Doing Business in the Developing World

globalEDGE International Business Blog

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by Steven on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 5:09:31 PM EST

It isn’t a secret that many aspects of developing countries are unappealing to the global businessperson. Decrepit urban and rural areas, lawlessness, and violence often cause companies to avoid these areas either out of fear for employee safety, logistics, or simply because they can’t find a way to make doing business there profitable. However, the fact still stands that these areas have hundreds of millions of potential customers lacking many goods and services. Additionally, there have been numerous pioneering companies which have had to modify their business strategies in order to adapt to the economic climate of these regions, and have subsequently thrived there. Here are a few of the issues that have arisen in these areas, and tips from successful companies on how they’ve handled them:

Challenges of the market:
-Lack of functioning legal systems makes contracts rarely enforceable.
-Prevalence of theft, vandalism, and physical violence.
-Lack of skilled workers.
-Regional poverty makes finding customers who can afford goods and services difficult.
-Conventional advertising rarely has the means to reach the people in these environments.
-Winning the acceptance of the people in the area amidst religious, cultural, and linguistic diversity.

Tips for succeeding in these markets:
-Identify local entrepreneurs and potential partners who can help your business to get acclimated with the culture and economic climate of the area.
-Approach the business endeavor with the mindset of helping the target community by fostering social and economic good. This mindset will be contagious to the employees, partners, and customers and will maximize cooperation and profitability.
-Be willing to experiment with new business processes. The intricacies of these markets almost necessitate a trial-and-error approach.
-Make your partners feel important. Although one partner may only draw a small profit for your business, by including them in meetings, functions, etc., you help to foster a dedicated, resilient business partnership.

For more on doing business in developing areas, check out the whole story from the Wall Street Journal!

Tags: Entrepreneurship · Business Risk


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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Investment Strategies - Financials in Focus

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

México y Brasil buscarán un acuerdo de libre comercio

Los Gobiernos de México y Brasil acordaron ayer instalar una mesa de trabajo para "profundizar sus relaciones comerciales y de inversión". Una búsqueda que podría derivar en un acuerdo de libre comercio entre las dos economías más grandes de América Latina, según señalaron en una declaración conjunta los presidentes de ambos países, Felipe Calderón y Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Según Calderón, los vínculos de su país con Brasilia pasan por su mejor momento en los últimos años.

"(Estoy) Convencido de que Brasil y México deben construir una alianza poderosa y eficaz que contribuya al bienestar de Brasil, México y América Latina", resumió el mandatario.

En tal sentido, los presidentes anunciaron que iniciarán conversaciones para la creación de un área de libre comercio.

La posibilidad de un tratado de este tipo había sido planteada el sábado, en un encuentro de Calderón con empresarios brasileños en la Federación de Industrias de Sao Paulo.

Los jefes de Estado de México, Felipe Calderón, y de Brasil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

"Un acuerdo de libre comercio genera beneficios para todos. México posee en la actualidad acuerdos de ese tipo con 44 países, y los empresarios brasileños podrían beneficiarse de ser parte de un entendimiento de este tipo", consideró el líder mexicano.

Con la visita a Brasilia, Calderón clausuró una gira por la región en la que previamente hizo escala en Colombia y Uruguay.

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Post-it en stop motion | 1:55 min de creatividad y ocio

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"La crisis en América Latina aún no toca fondo" Alejandro Toledo ex-presidente de Perú

De acuerdo a los altibajos que aún mantiene la economía mundial, ¿cómo observa el futuro económico de América Latina?
En este mundo globalizado las economías y las finanzas también lo están; por ende, el comportamiento de la economía latinoamericana responde a lo que sucede en todo el mundo. Esta crisis financiera global, producida por los "timberos" del Wall Street del mundo desarrollado, ha tenido un efecto severo en Estados Unidos y Unión Europea, y un efecto mediano pero significativo en China e India, países que son muy importantes, porque juntos totalizan 2.400 millones de personas. En el caso específico de China hablamos de una economía que ha venido creciendo en los últimos 20 años a un promedio cercano al 10%, por lo que una caída como se pronostica, de 6% para 2009, significa para el caso del Perú y Latinoamérica, una contracción importante en sus exportaciones.

¿El paquete de medidas económicas que el gobierno estadounidense dictó para frenar la caída de su economía, y por ende la del mundo, está dando resultados?
El paquete de estímulo económico que está implementando Barack Obama en Estados Unidos y las medidas que se están adoptando en la Unión Europea están teniendo resultados que aún no se ven. Lo que sí puedo decir es que en este momento difícilmente se podría decir con seriedad que la crisis en el mundo ha tocado fondo. Todavía no lo ha hecho, y también hay que señalar que los efectos adversos de esta crisis financiera que se refleja en una contracción de la economía mundial van a tener una repercusión rezagada en América Latina. Actualmente se ve en Estados Unidos una tasa de desempleo inusual superior al 10%, cifra que es muy alta para una economía en donde la informalidad es muy baja. En América Latina una tasa de desempleo puede llegar a 9% o 10%, pero tiene el respiro por el lado del sector informal. Si al 45% promedio de informalidad de América Latina se le aumenta el 10% de desempleo abierto se produciría un desborde explosivo, ya que no hay una economía que lo soporte.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Five Challenges Social Media Will Bring to Business

Five Challenges Social Media Will Bring to Business

1:16 PM Friday August 14, 2009
by David Armano

Tags:Operations, Organizational culture, Social media

A recent survey conducted by Proofpoint found that 8% of companies had terminated employees due to social media usage (common causes including sharing sensitive information on a network). And while the statistic seems significant, it only underscores one of several upcoming challenges nearly every organization will face as changes in people, process and technology fueled by the collective movement we call social media begin to transform business. Here are a few challenges that every organization should be planning for right now:

1. Integration. Becoming a "social business" (meaning true participation as opposed to leveraging social media as a new form of marketing) can impact nearly every function of a business. Marketing, PR, communications--even supply chain and any function that deals with employees. So where does it live? Is it a department? Do organizations hire a "Chief Social Officer" much like they would a Chief Technology Officer? All organizations will eventually grapple with integrating social into their entire ecosystem adopting either centralized, distributed or hybrid approaches.

2. Governance. Many organizations now understand that anything that can and will be said about them on the internet will be. The good, the bad, the ugly. And this includes content produced not only from the general public, but also from internal constituents such as employees. Organizations will not only need to begin actively listening so that they are in the know, but they will need rules of engagement for how they deal with multiple types of scenarios from responding to a compliment to dealing with a detractor to following up with an employee who just posted something inappropriate or sensitive.

3. Culture. All organizations fall somewhere on a spectrum of being "open" or "closed" meaning that they are either more transparent with how they operate and collaborative or they hoard knowledge internally. Consider that it's probable that the Zappos purchase by Amazon had a good deal to do with their notoriously open culture. Likewise, even Apple, which can be notoriously secretive, is benefiting by leveraging a strategy that opened up their iPhone application ecosystem. Sure Apple has a great deal of control over it, but for the first time in history, they have legions of people developing applications that run on their hardware. Organizations have the potential to benefit from embracing customers and employees in new ways, but will have to manage it intelligently and with purpose.

4. Human Resources. In order to transform from a business to a social business, companies are going to have to upgrade their HR protocols, as well as legal. And it's likely to be a never-ending process as new technologies continually hit the scene. Before there was Twitter, companies scrambled to publish blogging guidelines for employees, now the wrong tweet or Facebook status can get you fired. Organizations will not only need to update guidelines but actually train their people who may be leveraging social technologies for work. Customer service in particular comes to mind.

5. Measurement & ROI. Every organization will continue to struggle with measuring results and reporting ROI. Philosophically, this question can be answered with another question: "what's the ROI of e-mail"? But it's a question that won't go away. New social constructs will be needed to measure social initiatives such as attention (the size or number of participants actively engaged) or authority (the amount of influence a participant has in the ecosystem). Because social business is enabled by technology, it is by definition measurable. However, tying it to realized revenue or savings becomes more of a challenge.

In order for business to transform into something that can function in a less formal, fast moving social space--it will need to do so at scale. These 5 issues are but a handful of the types of growing pains we'll see as this happens.

David Armano is part of the founding team at Dachis Corporation, an Austin based start-up delivering social business design services. He is both an active practitioner and thinker in the worlds of digital marketing, experience design, and the social web. You can follow him on Twitter at

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Follow The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index(R) and More On Twitter

Press Release / News

Follow The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index(R) and More On Twitter and Facebook

Aug. 4, 2009

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The Conference Board announced today that it will provide the public with its proprietary economic data and updates about its management research and programs immediately upon release by posting them on Twitter and Facebook.

The Conference Board economic data – including The Consumer Confidence Index®, Leading Economic Indexes (LEIs) for the United States and nine other countries/regions, the Employment Trends Index (ETI)™, and the Help-Wanted Online Data Series (HWOL)™ – will be on Twitter and Facebook as soon as they are issued each month. The Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence will be posted quarterly, while news about the organization's research on human capital, corporate governance, citizenship and sustainability, and other issues will be posted as it develops.

On Twitter, search for "Conference Board." On Facebook, input "The Conference Board" where you can access The Conference Board Groups Page and/or The Conference Board Fans Page.

The Conference Board is an independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Its mission is unique: To provide the world's leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance AND better serve society. The Conference Board publishes information and analysis, makes economics-based forecasts and assesses trends, and facilitates learning by creating dynamic communities of interest that bring together senior executives from around the world. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status in the United States. For further information, visit The Conference Board website at

For further information contact:
Frank Tortorici
(1) 212 339 0231

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

JetBlue | Grandes promociones para un sombrío panorama para las compañías aéreas

Promociones para una económica bastante dañada. ¿Cuáles serán las promociones de esta próxima navidad?

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fed afirma que economía de EE.UU. comienza a nivelarse

Tras la reunión mensual de política monetaria, que culminó este miércoles, los funcionarios de la entidad decidieron dejar sin cambios la tasa interbancaria federal, en el margen actual de 0% a 0,25%, pero reafirmaron que la economía se encuentra en un terreno más estable.

“Aunque es probable que la actividad económica se mantenga débil por algún tiempo, las acciones para estabilizar los mercados financieros y las instituciones, el impulso monetario y fiscal, y las fuerzas del mercado, contribuirán a una reanudación gradual del crecimiento económico sostenible, en un contexto de estabilidad de precios”, dijo la Fed en un comunicado.

Esta es la primera vez, desde agosto de 2008, que el banco central estadounidense no califica a la economía de ese país como contraída o debilitada. Pese a ello, optó por desacelerar sus planes de adquirir, hasta US$300.000 millones en bonos del Tesoro, a fin de minimizar cualquier problema que pudiera producirse una vez que el programa concluya. “Para promover una transición suave en los mercados, a medida que se completan estas compras de bonos, el comité ha decidido desacelerar gradualmente el ritmo de estas transacciones, y anticipa que el monto total será comprado para fines de octubre”, dijo la entidad.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Proponen un juramento contra la codicia

¿Es posible soñar un mundo financiero mejor? Un estudiante de la Universidad de Harvard, en Estados Unidos, cree que sí: propuso que todos graduados en negocios hagan un juramento contra la codicia con vistas a su futuro desempeño profesional.
Wall Street

El juramento plantea que los graduados deben cuidar igualmente los intereses de los accionistas y de la sociedad.

La idea es tener algo parecido al juramento hipocrático de los médicos y a la promesa de los abogados de respetar la ley y la Constitución estadounidenses.

El autor del juramento, que ya fue pronunciado por centenares de estudiantes en ceremonias de graduación, es Max Anderson, alumno del posgrado en administración de negocios de la Universidad de Harvard.

Con solemnidad, Anderson recitó el texto a la BBC:

* Me desempeñaré con la mayor integridad y desarrollaré mi trabajo de forma ética.

* Protegeré los intereses de mis accionistas, compañeros de trabajo, clientes y la sociedad en la que operamos.

* Manejaré mi empresa con buena fe, protegiéndola de las decisiones y los comportamientos que promuevan mis meras ambiciones pero dañen a la compañía y a las sociedades a las que sirve.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Entrevista laboral: aconsejan como sacarle jugo a los primeros diez minutos

Sólo se tiene una oportunidad de dar una primera buena impresión y sólo se tienen unos cuantos minutos para hacerlo en una entrevista de trabajo.

De acuerdo a un sondeo realizado por Robert Half International (RHI) entre 150 ejecutivos de alto nivel en las 1.000 compañías más grandes de Estados Unidos, los gerentes de contrataciones se forman una opinión positiva o negativa de los candidatos a un puesto en menos de diez minutos.

"La conducta de un postulante podría estar bajo escrutinio desde el momento en que llega a la entrevista", destaca Brandi Britton, vicepresidenta regional de RHI,

A tomar nota
Para asegurarse de impresionar a sus entrevistadores desde el minuto en que atraviesa la puerta, especialistas en búsqueda de empleo consultados por Yahoo! HotJobs recomiendan:

1. "Un apretón de manos firme y sin la palma sudada, hacer contacto visual y una sonrisa amable lo hacen parecer agradable. La gente agradable es contratada con más frecuencia".

2. "Prepárese para participar en conversaciones triviales, lo cual ayuda a romper el hielo y hace que ambas partes se relajen, además de que también pone de manifiesto su habilidad para sacarle conversación a clientes potenciales, compañeros de trabajo y ejecutivos".

3. "Esté preparado con todo lo que le sea posible saber sobre la compañía y sobre la persona que realiza la entrevista".

4. "No se coloque a la cabecera de una mesa ni se siente hasta que se lo indiquen, para demostrar la forma en que se comporta en situaciones profesionales".

5. "Comience con preguntas perspicaces, que demuestren sin lugar a dudas que usted ha hecho su tarea al investigar sobre la compañía, el puesto, el departamento, la industria y/o la competencia".

6. "Practique sus respuestas a preguntas comúnmente planteadas en las entrevistas, para así dar la impresión de ser una candidato bien preparado".

7. "Si le piden que hable sobre usted, siempre responda en el sentido profesional. Contarle a la gente sobre su familia y lo que hace los fines de semana definitivamente es el enfoque equivocado. El objetivo es concentrarse exclusivamente en las áreas de su trabajo en las que es más eficaz y productivo".

8. "¡Conviértase en objeto de interés con las preguntas que realice! Haga que quieran escuchar más de lo que tiene que decir gracias a la calidad del contenido que le aporta a la conversación (en lugar de sólo ruido)".

9. "Refleje el lenguaje corporal del entrevistador. Si éste se inclina hacia adelante, usted debe hacer lo mismo. Esto crea afinidad a un nivel subconsciente, lo que crea una impresión de conexión más profunda".

10. "Su estrategia para una entrevista debe incluir pruebas de que ha completado exitosamente tareas relevantes al puesto. Una buena estrategia es combinar una fortaleza con un ejemplo específico, para demostrar que cumple sus objetivos. Cuantifique sus logros usando números, porcentajes y dólares, siempre que sea posible".

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Business Etiquette for International Travellers. Cultural Sensitivity and Awareness

Check out this website I found at

Tips for Business Travellers. Build Trust and Relationship for your Business.

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sin iPhone por un SMS - Researchers attack iPhone via SMS.

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Los Mexicanos no tenemos memoria histórica... mmm, capaz y aquí la respuesta.

Tal vez México dejó de ser un país consumidor a uno distribuidor.

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chávez apaga radios. Da de baja a 34 emisoras por no contar con documentación en "regla"

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Illegal download student who shared music online ordered to pay £404,000 to record labels | Mail Online

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"El Mercosur es un club de infractores"

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