Quinta-feira, 19 de Fevereiro de 2009

danger + opportunity = crisis ?

David Fialho | C12
Londres | Reino Unido

Its often said that the Chinese translation of “crisis”, is a composition of the characters "danger" and "opportunity", this is a misconception already made by prominent figures such as John Kennedy or Al Gore. «There is an undeniable appeal to the misappropriation of “weiji”. It is dramatic in its compression; in two syllables it offers inherent proof of the opportunity hidden within every crisis. This presumed oriental wisdom is not real but», in times of crisis optimism helps in many ways, especially when a change of habits is desperately needed.


As Christopher Dickey and Tracy McNicoll wrote in their Newsweek's article «in November the International Energy Agency issued a collection of reports that declare in no uncertain terms, "a global revolution is needed in ways that energy is supplied and used.»

«There are powerful voices saying that now, the time of crisis, is precisely the time to seize the initiative and launch a "global revolution". And not just because it will stave off disasters two or three decades away, but because it can provide the impetus to pull the global economy out of the slump it's in now and put it on a more solid foundation than it's had in at least a generation. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and American future president Barack Obama have taken up the cause of what United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called a "green New Deal" that would rebuild and reshape the economy of planet Earth» in the long term while saving the planet in a even longer term.


«The world, simply put, needs a new economic driver, a new hot growth industry. And with financial markets down one-third or more for the year, even capitalists are now willing to entertain the idea that perhaps the government must play a greater role in sparking growth and job creation» in this case with the help of a new energy industry.

«The fatal dynamic is perfectly straightforward. In a recession, consumption of just about all commodities goes down, but so do energy prices—and that discourages the development of alternatives. Even if it's clear that over the long term oil prices will continue to rise, the volatility of the market undermines long-term planning. »

Not to mention that with the financial crisis Government's are spending huge amounts of money to save some doubtful managed institutions; on one hand this can be good, public opinion will see this green investment not so enormous, on the other hand is the deficit of some economies, i.e. the European Union’s 3%,this will be a constraint.


This "new green deal", a solution for part of the worlds needs, not only in terms of environment but also provider of more sustainable public and private investments, will take a long time to show real results in both these fields or even to get most of the countries in a concerted action.


However, this crisis is hitting families and individuals as you read this and in the short term companies have an opportunity to show that they are on the costumer's side, to show that they understand their saving needs, and probably also cutting themselves some costs. Companies (and Governments) have an important role influencing new behaviours and habits, driving people to feel tempted to save costs.

According to Hans Joachim Schellnhuber director of the Potsdam Research Institute the Climate Impacts former Angela Merkel’s advisor; the process of changing habits and behaviours «it’s slow, but not as long as a century. In fact, it’s possible to change some attitudes in a few years; it’s a question of public education, media and people’s involvement. It’s a cultural process.»


Changing habits it’s definitely the one thing that our societies can and should do in the short term not only for the environment, but also for their wallets wealth, especially in times of tighter budgets.

As stated in Nielsen's 2009 Industry outlook «The economic crunch will drive tighter spending across the board. As consumers continue to make tough choices, they will spend less on products that don’t deliver a rational benefit. »

«From sustainable manufacturing techniques to innovative national brand offerings, the products and services likely to succeed in 2009 will be those that appeal to the sensible consumer looking for a rational benefit. »

«“Going green” will be fueled more by cost-cutting than planet-saving intentions. Families on a tighter budget will be less likely to pay extra for environmentally-sustainable “green” products, but they will improve the environment as a by-product of cost-cutting strategies. Expect consumers to continue saving money on gas (lowering car emissions), and on purchasing less non-essential goods (producing less waste). »

«Manufacturers will also incorporate more sustainable manufacturing techniques to save on costs. » And even retailers, «as credit card companies continue to raise fees, will have more motivation than ever before to offer discounts for shoppers paying cash. »


Hans Schellnhuber also refers that «there will be progress in the next ten or twenty years […] mostly in terms of energy efficiency. » These energy efficiency (or cost efficiency) has to have immediate consequences on people's pockets, marketers should look for a "renovation" as such as "innovation" not only because marketing budgets are tighter, but also, to reach customers with a clear message that they will only pay what they are getting and not an extra plastic bag or a cent of financial costs will be added to their bill.


In Chinese, “Crisis” is not a composition of the characters "danger" and "opportunity" but definitely people will change some habits, energetic, financial or even cultural and gastronomic, and this is an opportunity in this crisis for some companies (or even some countries, or the world) to differentiate and become more efficient, cost saving and sustainable.


The Nielsen Company 2009 Industry Outlook: When times get tough, the tough go back-to-basics; By: Tom Pirovano, Director of Industry Insights
‘A Green New Deal’; By Christopher Dickey and Tracy McNicoll, Newsweek; Published Oct 25, 2008; From the magazine issue dated Nov 3, 2008
Enterview to Hans Schellnhuber; P2 issued Oct 20, 2008
Will it Brand – That is the question;
publicado por visaocontacto às 09:17
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