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Can Emerging Economies Afford a “Green” Recovery from COVID-19?

Can Emerging Economies Afford a “Green” Recovery from COVID-19?

The dramatic slowdown in industrial production, energy demand and transport activity in the first quarter of 2020 has led to significantly lower levels of air pollution, sparking debate over whether the coronavirus outbreak will lead to long-term shifts in consumer and industrial behaviours that could reorient economic policy towards sustainable development goals. 

However, rising public debt, combined with significant capital outflows and reduced exports, will make financing green investments a challenge for many emerging markets as their governments seek viable strategies for kick-starting their economies once the disruption from the pandemic subsides.

A report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) projected that accelerating investment in renewable energy could underpin the global economy’s COVID-19 recovery by adding almost $100trn to GDP by 2050.

In addition to helping curb the rise in global temperatures, the IRENA report claims that ramping up investment in renewable energy would effectively pay for itself over the long term, by returning between $3 and $8 for every $1 invested, and quadrupling the number of jobs in the sector to 42m over the next three decades.

While welcoming direct spending on infrastructure as a tool for stimulating economic growth after the coronavirus crisis, Thura Ko, managing director of Myanmar-based YGA Capital, cautioned that green energy projects should still be vetted carefully to ensure they are well planned and cost-effective.

“This is particularly important if the government has had to resort to emergency sources of funding, such as borrowing, grants or even quantitative easing. Certainly, if a green energy initiative makes sense and is efficient, then the government should initiate investment there – but not all green energy initiatives are efficient,” Ko told OBG.

As governments consider the role that investment-linked to sustainable development goals could play in post-pandemic stimulus measures, recent polling data indicates that voters across emerging and developed economies are broadly supportive of a “green” economic recovery from COVID-19.

In a survey conducted by Ipsos across 14 countries in April, 65% of respondents said it was important for their government to prioritize climate change mitigation actions in their post-COVID-19 recovery strategies. The figure was as high as 81% in India and 80% in China and Mexico, and fell as low as 57% in the US, Germany and Australia.

Green commitments in the “yellow slice”

Almost all countries globally have ratified the 2015 Paris Agreement, committing them to reduce carbon emissions with the aim of ensuring that global temperatures do not rise more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

This includes all countries in the “yellow slice” of the global economic pie: those high-potential emerging markets that makeup Oxford Business Group’s portfolio.

The 10 countries of the ASEAN bloc are committed to collectively meeting 23% of their primary energy needs from renewable sources by 2025.

However, the transition towards renewables in South-east Asia is complicated to some extent by the region’s plentiful reserves of coal, which are viewed by some policymakers as a reliable and cost-effective option for quickly scaling up generation capacity to meet domestic power demand.

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, China and Japan were ready sources of finance for coal-powered energy projects in the region, but there are some indications that this is changing.

In April, two of Japan’s largest banks – Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and Mizuho – announced commitments to curb their financing of new coal power projects under renewed pressure from environmental groups.

Since January 2017 Mizuho, SMBC and fellow Japanese bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group have accounted for 32% of direct lending to coal power plant developers, so Japanese banks’ decisions to rein in lending to the segment will create a significant gap in the financing ecosystem for such projects.

Elsewhere, GCC countries have made steady progress in adding to their renewable energy capacities, in tandem with efforts to diversify their economies away from dependence on hydrocarbons.

The UAE has been at the forefront of this transition and is now home to approximately 79% of installed solar photovoltaic capacity across the GCC’s six members. The country aims to generate 44% of its domestic power needs from renewable sources by 2050, the highest proportion in the region.

Meanwhile, 10 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean – led by Colombia – have set a regional goal of meeting at least 70% of electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030.

In Africa, where 600m people still do not have access to electricity, IRENA has proposed grid interconnections and the development of regional energy corridors as viable mechanisms for extending low-cost wind and solar energy to all countries, as well as enabling cross-border access to hydropower and geothermal energy.

Funding the transition

While climate change can be viewed as a systemic risk to the long-term development of emerging economies, it remains to be seen if governments in such countries will go beyond prior commitments to incorporate large-scale investments in green energy and infrastructure into their post-COVID-19 recovery strategies.

With business and household demand expected to remain depressed for some time after the worst health effects of the crisis subside, policymakers will be required to enact further policy measures to stimulate economic activity.

“If stimulus packages simply return countries to where they were before COVID-19, we will face the same problems tomorrow that we faced yesterday: low productivity, high pollution, and locked-in, carbon-intense economic structures,” Stéphane Hallegatte, lead economist of the World Bank’s Climate Change Group, told OBG.

“The most efficient stimulus packages will be the ones that are designed to create many jobs and support economic activity over the short term, but also get economies on track for rapid and sustainable growth post-COVID-19. Countries can use this spending to make them 21st century-ready by investing in developing the skills of their population, but also in a modern, zero-carbon infrastructure system and a healthy environment.”

If required investments can be catalyzed, green energy and infrastructure development can be particularly effective at addressing depressed demand because they can create a relatively high amount of jobs while also laying the foundations for sustainable long-term growth.

World Bank data indicates that mass transit projects, building retrofits to enhance energy efficiency and renewable energy plants are much more effective at job creation than fossil fuel projects. Looking further ahead, such projects should contribute to lower air pollution, which should simultaneously help to lower mortality rates and boost labor productivity.

Unlike the situation after the 2008-09 financial crisis, the cost of renewable energy generation is now competitive with fossil fuels, meaning fewer trade-offs between short-term pains and long-term gains when evaluating renewable energy investment decisions.

However, Hallegatte recognizes that many energy and public transport projects take a long time to prepare, and argues that they should be added to stimulus packages now – possibly by reviewing and updating existing plans – for the benefits to start being felt in six to 12 months.

He added that emerging economies could explore various avenues for financing such projects, including the state budget, offering attractive incentives to private firms and requesting support from multilateral finance institutions.

Looking further ahead, redirecting fossil fuel subsidies towards more productive and sustainable areas of the economy, as well as introducing energy or carbon taxes, could become part of the tool kit for channeling investment towards green infrastructure.

Private equity (PE) could also prove to be an effective alternative source of funding for green infrastructure projects, as many funds are now assessing new strategies for the recovery phase, but they are likely to become more discerning about where to allocate capital.

“PE funds will be even more selective and scrutinous than before. Underlying business prospects in a post-COVID-19 environment must be clear and visible. A link to sustainable development goals can add to the investment appeal – particularly in relation to an eventual exit – but this does not detract from the need for a business model to be robust and clear,” YGA Capital’s Ko told OBG.

For Ulrich Volz, director of the SOAS Centre for Sustainable Finance, emerging economies should also look at developing their domestic capital markets in order to become less reliant on foreign portfolio investment, which tends to migrate quickly towards developed market assets at the first hint of a crisis.

By doing so, they would be better placed to fund domestic investments through domestic savings, which in the past have predominantly been invested in advanced countries for relatively low returns.

“Some will claim that, in times of crisis, developing and emerging economies won’t be able to afford the ‘luxury’ of green or sustainable investments, but this is a very short-sighted view,” Volz told OBG.

“Growth that is not sustainable undermines long-term development. The COVID-19 crisis shows how risks that seem very far away and abstract can hit us with a vengeance. I would hope that sustainability risks will receive even more attention because of the current crisis.”

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This article originally appeared on oxfordbusinessgroup.com. Republished with permission.

fuel cell

Nuvera Breaks Ground on Automated Fuel Cell Production Facility in China

Nuvera Fuel Cells, LLC, a provider of fuel cell power solutions for motive applications, is pleased to announce construction of a fuel cell stack production line in the Hangzhou district government of Fuyang, China. A ground-breaking ceremony was held on Dec. 17, 2019 attended by Lucien Robroek, CEO and Jon Taylor, President of Nuvera, along with Fuyang government officials.

In December 2018, Nuvera signed a cooperation agreement with the Fuyang government, located in Zhejiang province, to enable the local manufacture of Nuvera® fuel cell stacks. The agreement provided incentives to Nuvera for the establishment of its production facility. The fuel cells will power zero-emissions, heavy-duty vehicles such as delivery vans and transit buses.

“China is leading the world in the adoption of fuel cell electric vehicles, and we are excited to be at ground zero of this transformation,” said Lucien Robroek. “The new manufacturing site establishes Nuvera as a major fuel cell provider both in China and in the entire Asian region.”

The combined market for fuel cell forklifts, passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles in China is expected to reach nearly 50,000 units per year in 2025 and 400,000 units per year by 2030, according to information provided by customers in China. The Nuvera site incorporates equipment for the automated manufacture of up to 5,000 fuel cell stacks per year for vehicle applications. Additional capacity can be added as demand requires.

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ABOUT NUVERA FUEL CELLS, LLC

Nuvera Fuel Cells, LLC is a manufacturer of heavy-duty, zero-emission engines for mobility applications. With facilities located in the U.S. and Europe, Nuvera provides clean, safe, and efficient products designed to meet the rigorous needs of industrial vehicles and other transportation markets.

Nuvera is a subsidiary of Hyster-Yale Group, Inc., which designs, engineers, manufactures, sells, and services a comprehensive line of lift trucks and aftermarket parts marketed globally primarily under the Hyster® and Yale® brand names. Hyster-Yale Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc. (NYSE:HY). Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc. and its subsidiaries, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, employ approximately 7,800 people worldwide.

logistics strategy

10 Experts Share Tips on How to Develop a Winning Logistics Strategy

Effective transition of resources cuts production costs, which in turn gives you more maneuvering space to improve other aspects of your business. However, choosing the optimal strategy is demanding, especially for startups. Less experienced business owners can easily fall into a trap and focus their attention on expensive solutions that never show results and live to see their business crumble.

Therefore, we’ve decided to share some of the most constructive pieces of advice from people who mastered logistics strategy development.

Shawn Casemore

Founder and the president of Casemore & Co, Inc. wrote a book on operational management, focusing mainly on sales but most of his ideas are universally applicable. Shawn states that the distribution network holds significant savings potential if properly handled. Leveraging predicted sales volume to negotiate a lower price is one of the key components in logistics. 

Providing long-term cooperation to a courier service often leads to reduced freight costs, meaning more money stays in your pocket. It’s the same as it’s with professional writing services, the more work you need the better terms you get in return. 

Danny Yunes

Coyote Logistics’ Manager of Supply Chain Strategy is a veteran in the industry, with an immense experience that provided him with an important takeaway. Danny Yunes claims that logistics should be calibrated according to the needs of your customers. If your core consumers expect quality service rather than speed because their priority is to receive undamaged goods and according to specifications, your target strategy is clear.

Samuel Levin

SaaS transport management and outsourcing are what MavenWire‘s Managing Director has to say to startups that can’t afford substantial investments in logistics during the first few years. He argues that these options are affordable and easy to keep up with, allowing less experienced managers to stay on top of the process.

Steve Murray

Experienced Chief Researcher at Chain Supply Visions claims that implementation of Sales and Operation planning is the most effective way to build up the performance of each company department to its full potential. This strategy includes cooperation among departments, synchronization of each operational process to reduce loses, avoid penalties, keep data updated, and keeping this harmony in place through constant process auditing and dealing with every issue as a team.

Imagine running an assignment service and your writers sit idle because the orders are not coming through. The whole team should work on finding the solution that will allow seamless workflow and keep the customers happy with the turnaround time. 

Nick Martin

Founder of RiskLogic says that logistics strategy should be resilient. His thoughts are that Just-in-Time strategy seems perfect in the short run but it is fragile because minor setbacks can put your entire operation to a halt. A resilient strategy is one where you are prepared for every eventuality and there’s not much that can disrupt your flow.

Rick Blasgen

Council of Supply Chain Management President and CEO, Rick Blasgen, keeps it simple. His advice is to hire a logistics expert with a proven track record and let that person analyze your options and start working on your strategy. You could start your hunt on LinkedIn and carefully pick top candidates. You could also visit professional conferences for potential hires. Think of it like googling to decide would you hire AssignmentMasters, Assignment Geek, or Grademiners review service to develop marketing content for you.

Clay Gentry

Transportation Insight’s VP of Logistic Operations says that one should develop a strategy according to its impact on your business goals and customers’ operations. His advice is to focus on fulfilling service level goals while implementing the most cost-effective method of resource distribution. Moreover, Clay suggests that outsourcing is sometimes more effective than investing in the development of logistics infrastructure.

Mark Broussard 

CEO of SAMI emphasizes the importance to keep investments in logistics rational, especially in the early days of conducting business. His idea is to be clear that each action you take makes perfect sense for your business at the time that action is taken. Mr. Broussard thinks that every investment and step forward in the development of your strategy needs to support your entire process. 

Kenneth B. Ackerman

Mr. Ackerman devoted his entire professional life to logistics and warehousing management, eventually founding Warehousing Forum, a vault of industry wisdom. His advice is to follow the corporate strategy. Let’s say you decide to start a business and write custom papers for college students and your goal is to provide the fastest service on the internet to take over the market from bestessays.com.au and myassignmenthelp review because they are your main competitors. From the moment you pick up an order to the moment of delivery, the process efficiency depends on flawless logistics. 

Tim Garcia

As it’s to be expected from one of the leaders in the chain management software development industry, Mr. Garcia suggests you should invest in digital solutions to enhance your logistics. His arguments include commonly understaffed supply-chain which makes people work faster and make more mistakes, ability to keep track of each item and financial leverage against a team of experts that would do the same job for much more money.

Conclusion

Enhancing your logistics doesn’t necessarily mean you should pour money into expensive infrastructure or state of the art management software. In most cases, it’s all about organizing that which you already have to serve your purpose the best. However, working with limited resources makes planning and organizing the chain that binds the production somewhat of a challenge. We hope these words of wisdom will help you in achieving your goals.

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This guest post is contributed by Kurt Walker who is a blogger and college paper writer. In the course of his studies, he developed an interest in innovative technology and likes to keep business owners informed about the latest technology to use to transform their operations. He writes for companies such as Edu BirdieXpertWriters and uk.bestessays.com on various academic and business topics.

Amid the US-China Trade War, Vietnam Emerging as a Rising Star

As the US-China trade war continues to escalate with no relief in sight, American businesses are scrambling to find solutions to avoid the hard swallowing 25% tariffs on imported Chinese goods. One silver lining from the protracted conflict is China’s neighbor to the south and, at one time, one of America’s staunchest enemies, Vietnam. War-torn and poverty stricken merely 4 decades ago, this Southeast Asian star is rising quickly and experiencing record performing 7% GDP growth. However, despite its potential can Vietnam live up to the hype as China’s best alternative?

It is without a doubt that Vietnam has been rising eyebrows the last decade as a low-cost manufacturing destination. Since early 2000s, supply chains have been shifting quickly to this small, Southeast nation. In recent years, foreign direct investment (FDI) from China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea have been pouring in, boosting its manufacturing base. For the last several decades Vietnam has been an export leader in textiles, electronics parts, machinery, and cell phones, with no signs of slowing down.

Vietnam’s manufacturing potential has been creating a buzz—and for good reason. One of the most dynamic countries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam’s population is just under 100 million to which a 70% of the population is under the age of 35. A young, vibrant, hungry and able population make for an attractively strong workforce. As labour prices and raw materials continue to climb in China, manufacturers are enticed by Vietnam’s low-cost labor often at one-third less to that of China.

Government stability, fostered by Vietnam’s communist government, is also an attractive condition many businesses require before investing whole-heartedly. Finally, geographically, Vietnam is blessed as sits strategically to the south of China and is at the cross-roads of some of the busiest maritime trading routes in the world and within easy access to its economically growing ASEAN neighbors. For these reasons, Vietnam is a standout among its peers.

Despite the country’s potential, however, when it comes to manufacturing investors are quickly discovering that Vietnam is no China. For one, the overall country’s infrastructure is underdeveloped and in bad need of repairs and upgrades: roads, bridges, ports and railways all lag many of its neighbors. To the government’s credit, there are major infrastructure and developmental projects in the works, such as commuter metro trains in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and updated shipping ports, however, Vietnam needs to press on in major ways if it wishes to compete in the 21 century global economy.

Though Vietnam boasts a young and energetic workforce, the reality is that the majority of its workers are low-skilled, lacking any modern manufacturing training and skill sets essential to meeting the current manufacturing surge. This phenomenon dates back to the historically poorly plagued educational system, including its outdated vocational training, facilities, and know-how. Third, production infrastructure, proper facilities, and quality raw materials are in short supply, compounding this problem. For these very reasons, Vietnam may not be the silver bullet many are hoping for.

Vietnam’s stunning export growth is backed by impressive numbers. In 2019, exports to the USA increased 28.8% compared to last year. The investment bank Nomura in one estimate credits the US-China trade war to boosting Vietnam’s economy 8%. Everything from telephone electronics parts, furniture, and automatic data processing machines have all seen an uptick. Light industry manufacturers such as textiles and electronic components have all benefited in recent months.

Though the lack of modern infrastructure has plagued Vietnam’s growth, in recent years the government has been investing heavily in industrial parks, answering the calls by large corporation demands and their needs for up-to-date facilities.

While Vietnam is rising as a quick alternative to China, obstacles could quickly derail this apparent boon. For one, in late June of this year American President Donald Trump, in a news briefing with reporters who asked what his thoughts are about the quick shift in manufacturing from China to Vietnam, remarked, “Vietnam is one of the worst offenders. Sometimes even worse than China.” He followed up by threatening that as president he would consider tariffs against Vietnam. If President Trump were, indeed, to follow through on his threat doing so would quickly sap Vietnam’s headlining potential. Moreover, as Vietnam nudges forward as an export leader, its neighboring countries are also quickly upping their manufacturing, technology and export industries in earnest, adding to the competition in the process.

Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia—all members of ASEAN— are ramping up their industrial competitive advantage. Finally, rampant corruption at both the provincial and national level as well as the increasing environmental destruction and pollution are cause for concern. The result is the lack in the ease of doing business; foreign direct investment and attracting skilled foreign expats to work in Vietnam are increasingly being jeopardized. Vietnam’s recent gains, though substantial, are fragile are at risk of unraveling at a moment’s notice.

Vietnam finds itself at an opportune crossroads at a time to reap the benefits made by the US-China trade war. This emerging market holds great potential which has already proven itself as an industry leading manufacturer in electronics, small parts, and textiles. However, despite Vietnam’s enormous strides in recent years, the country falls short in several key areas, mainly, skilled workers with modern training and know-how, outdated facilities, lack of quality raw material, and overall poor infrastructure.

Despite these deficiencies, with government leadership, input from business leaders, continued foreign investment, and the implementation of the rule of law and decreased corruption, Vietnam may not only be a convenient alternative to China but emerge as an economic Asian tiger in its own right.

Vinh Ho is a Manager at APAC Consulting 

EU Proposes Regional Strategic Investment Fund

Los Angeles, CA – Responding to an increasingly sluggish regional economy, the European Union will create a strategic investment fund that could generate up to $386 billion in private- and public-sector money to upgrade infrastructure, jumpstart the EU’s sluggish economies and ignite job growth.

“The EU must stimulate and modernize its economy, or risk falling farther behind global competitors like the U.S. and China,” said European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

The plan, approved by leaders of the 28-nation EU at their one-day summit meeting in Brussels earlier this week, calls for use of EU seed money to leverage up to 15 times more in private funds for the new European Fund for Strategic Investments with plans to have  it in operation and approving new investment projects by mid-2015.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said investments fostered by the strategic fund “must go into projects for the future, particularly, for example, in the digital economy or where we aren’t so good on the world market as we should be.”

Investment in areas like schools, universities, green energy and infrastructure is key “if we want Europe to be an economic champion in the future,” she said.

The plan is not without its critics, however, with some EU leaders warning that despite its multi-billion dollar price tag, the proposed investment fund “may not be big enough” to win over wary investors.

“This package looks like creative accounting for the moment,” said Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, who helped draft a summit communiqué  noting that the strategic fund will accept contributions from EU member states. For the fund to launch, it would also require approval by European legislators.

12/19/2014

Mergers and Acquisitions Touted Over FDI

Washington, DC – For decades, state and local governments have offered packages of tax breaks and other incentives before foreign companies in the hope of luring them to the US to create jobs.

A new study published by the Brookings Institute asserts that strategy is “deeply flawed” and that “mergers and acquisitions are driving foreign investment in the US, not the opening of new establishments.”

Civic leaders, in turn,” would accomplish far more by bolstering industrial amenities to retain overseas companies than by offering rich subsidies designed to attract new ones,” it said.

“Policies that narrowly focus on (new business) openings are probably not going to give you a big bang for your buck,” according to Devashree Saha, a senior policy analyst at Brookings and lead author of the report.

In 2011, only 26 percent of all jobs at US locations of foreign companies were created by the opening of a new factory, office or store, while nearly a third were generated by foreign takeovers of US companies, Saha said, citing data from the Organization for International Investment (OFII) that found that, over the past two decades, 84 percent of foreign companies that came to the US did so through an acquisition.

“Federal, state and local governments should invest more to build strong industry clusters by ensuring an adequate supply of skilled workers, modernizing US infrastructure and increasing investment in research and development, among other initiatives,” the Brookings study said.

According to Nancy McLernon, president of the Washington, DC-based OFII, state and local leaders often ignore foreign companies that come to the US through mergers instead of connecting them with suppliers, customers and skilled workers. “That aftercare is critically important,” she said.

The US share of global foreign direct investment plunged from 37 percent in 2002 to 17 percent in 2012, according to OFII. The US is still the worldwide leader, but emerging markets such as China have grabbed a growing share of foreign dollars.”By recognizing the importance of mergers and acquisitions, we can capture more of that market share,” said McLernon.

Foreign-owned companies employ about 5.6 million workers in the US, or about 5 percent of private payrolls, according to the Brookings paper. Their employment grew steadily from 1991 to 2000, but has stagnated since.

Yet, it said, the firms generate outsize benefits, accounting for a fifth of US goods exports and 15.4 percent of all private research-and-development in 2011 with foreign owners of US operations paying higher wages than US companies — $77,000 vs. $60,000, on average.

07/29/2014