In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population was living in cities.
Today more than 50% of the world's inhabitants live in cities.
Today is World Habitat Day, and this year’s theme is Changing Cities, Building Opportunities.
World Habitat Day was first observed in 1986. The purpose of this day is to highlight the role of shelter as a basic human right, and reflect on the state of our cities and towns around the world. This year’s urban theme was chosen because cities are engines of growth, and across the globe more and more people are moving into cities in the hope of a better future. According to research done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology cities make up only 2% of the world’s surface, but they house more than 50% of the world’s population, consume 70% of the world’s energy, and are responsible for the 80% of the world’s carbon footprint. Research from Yale predicts that by 2030 10% of the world’s surface could be urban, most of this expansion happening in Asia…
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Today is the International Day for the Remembrance of Slave Trade and its Abolition. This date was chosen by UNESCO to mark a night in 1791 in the island of Saint Dominic (now Dominican Republic and Haiti) when a major uprising took place which significantly contributed to the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
A purpose of this day is to highlight the shamefulness of colonial slave trade, to remember the millions of people who suffered from it, and to come to terms with the past injustice…
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Yesterday we celebrated cultural diversity, today biodiversity!
Today’s date marks the anniversary for the day in 1992 spring when the text of the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted by the United Nations at a conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
This year's theme is Marine Biodiversity
The purpose of the day is to raise awareness and understanding of biodiversity issues.
Last year the Guardian wrote an article about the importance of this day and reported shocking facts. Janet Potocnik, a European commissionaire for environment, wrote, that, “during the 20th century, the human population grew by four times and economic output by 40 times. We increased our fossil fuel use by 16 times, our fishing catches by 35 and our water use by 9.”
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Having had a client whose blueprint for a very hush-hush new radar system was copied and manufactured by the potential customer they were in discussions with in the Far East , I’ve witnessed the problems connected with holding on to intellectual property rights. (See below two new books on the subject). That incident happened over ten years ago and still other similar battles are erupting all over the globe.
The scope of the problems surrounding intellectual property rights in our globalised world is vast – how far can copyright and patent-holders go in preventing others from taking their property? Intellectual property protection is not a field of bright lines and clear rules. And, the economic consequences of the dispute are also immense.
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Marks & Spencer has just learned how expensive the transaction costs in international business are when you don’t do your homework properly. The opening of the first Marks & Spencer store on the Chinese mainland has been beset by many cultural problems – most of which could have been foreseen with a little research. One of the most costly though was their complete lack of Market Research. Sir Stuart Rose, executive chairman of Marks & Spencer, admitted that the company “had misunderstood the local market” by assuming Hong Kong sizing would also apply to the mainland. “Shanghai clothing sizes were based on Hong Kong sizing, but the smaller sizes rapidly sold out” he explained. (FT February 10th 2009). Remember to do your cultural research – you can’t afford to get things wrong!
The cultural difficulties concerning the failed merger between Daimler and Chrysler are legendary, but not legendary enough it seems for Robert Diamond, president of Barclays Capital. He found out the hard way that ignoring corporate culture can harm your business. Eight weeks after the acquisition of Lehman Brothers’ US business much of the senior talent had left. Mr. Diamond’s famous ‘knee-jerk’ approach of getting rid of non-team players did not sit well with those he wished most to keep: “That approach is a style that is anathema to many of Lehman’s senior bankers who Mr. Diamond wants to retain, as well as the European bankers he’d like to attract” (FT November 3rd 2008). It seems Mr Diamond has fallen foul of the first rule of an M&A – it’s people that make a business, it’s people you ‘buy’, and it’s people that are your most important asset – make sure you understand what makes them tick! Ignore culture at your peril.