AgTech Innovators of the Year – Canada

LABORA Workers

While to many the agricultural industry is one stuck firmly in the past, the hard work of organizations like LABORA have gone a long way to modernizing the sector. Recognized for their efforts in New World Report’s Agriculture and Farming Awards 2021, we thought it time to take a look at this team of AgTech innovators to see just what they’ve done to achieve their justified accolades.

 

Farm owners have often struggled with finding ways of paying their agricultural workers, with many working unusual hours and the administrative workload continuing to rise. The AgTech platform designed by LABORA makes the process easier for all, simplifying the process significantly.

 

LABORA offers a better way forward for owners and workers alike, providing online payroll services to farm owners and workers to keep their information up to date, and assisting in the filing of tax returns for those who need to. Temporary farm workers can send and track their remittance money at discounted fees and exchange rates if required. In short, this is a product designed specifically for the way the labor market works in the agricultural industry.

 

For those who come seasonally into the agricultural industry, it is historically incredibly hard to gain any benefits. One of the core motivations behind the design of LABORA was the improvement of financial conditions for temporary foreign workers. This is why the team’s solution provides access to banking and financial services, which allows them to build not only a credit history, but a way of accessing loans back home. This allows them to do their own agricultural activities in their own countries of origin.

 

One of the aspects that sets LABORA apart is the way in which it is a B2B service as opposed to B2C. B2C offers individual cash transfers with capped amounts, high fees and low exchange rates, but B2B provides workers with more favourable exchange rates that they otherwise do not have access to. This is only possible before LABORA is providing these services specifically to farm owners, on behalf of their temporary foreign workers. The benefits of using LABORA are clear to anyone who looks.

 

LABORA fits comfortably into Canada’s agriculture industry because of its innovative mindset. There is already a vibrant AgTech community supported by diverse programs offered by the federal and provincial government to support innovation and technology for the agriculture sector. Many of the obstacles affecting the region as a whole could be overcome through the use of technology and research, and LABORA is perhaps the perfect example of this. It innovates a 50-year-old system to improve the financial conditions and productivity of temporary foreign workers in Canada as well as making life easier for those who had to complete the administrative work involved.

 

Looking ahead, LABORA intends to continue expanding the range of services it currently provides to clients. When the firm first started operations in 2020, it only offered the B2B money transfer services. 2021 saw the additional of payroll and tax filing services and 2022 will see the provision of financial planning services for optimizing temporary foreign worker’s retirement. The aim for the team is to become a financial services marketplace for underserved and unbanked temporary foreign workers across Canada and in the United States and expect to become a company serving similar workers worldwide.

 

With such ambition for their company, and such success behind them, there is little wonder that the team has a great future ahead of them. We celebrate their achievements thus far and look forward to their accomplishments yet to come in this vital part of farming industry.

 

For business inquiries, contact Rene Blanco at LABORA via email at [email protected] or online at www.labora.ca.

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Small-business Owners Regret and Consider Rethinking Their Dependence on Facebook After A Massive Outage

Facebook

Many policymakers and business owners were prompted by Monday’s outage to reflect on how important Facebook was to small businesses and what risks they face in relying so heavily upon one platform to support their livelihoods.

J.D. Holland, a small-business owner, was forced to take his business offline Monday for six hours. Holland printed 250 flyers in a rush to distribute around Burnsville, Mississippi. He also considered purchasing an ad on the two-page local paper to maintain business at his nutrition club and farm store.

Holland spoke of the advertising and social media giant, saying “They have my whole life.” His company relied on Facebook Live videos and posts from his business page to generate sales for his nutrition club since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. His business was shut down completely because he had no access to the site.

Holland stated Monday’s outage caused losses of $300-400 in Facebook-driven sales. Holland responded more strongly by saying “This is a serious threat.” “What if it actually went down?”

Holland’s company is one of 3 million that advertises on Facebook worldwide and was affected by Monday’s shut down. Facebook apologized late Monday, claiming that the problem was caused by “faulty” configuration modifications. Many small-business owners have been forced to think about the risk of relying so heavily on one platform to support their livelihoods.

Holland stated that the experience made him think about what he should do as an advertiser in case of a downturn. Facebook issued a statement Monday apologizing to the business community and stating that advertisers were not charged for ads during the outage.

The statement stated that “We are aware of the effects outages like this have on the millions of businesses who use our services to reach and find customers. We apologize to everyone affected and are working to find out more about the events of today to improve our infrastructure.”

Zahid Buttar, who stated that he spends approximately $1,000 per month on Facebook ads to promote his online vitamin shop in Mooresville in North Carolina, claimed that he has lost between $5,000 and $6,000 in sales. He is now considering removing all his Facebook ads and opting to use email and text messaging instead.

“What should we do?” He asked and added, “It’s like bait and switch. It’s almost like you put the hook in our cheeks and we have some semblance of a business, and then boom, it went down.”

According to eMarketer (an online marketing research company), Facebook is the country’s second-largest internet advertiser. Google is the leader, accounting for 29 percent of the U.S. digital advertising market. Amazon follows at 25 percent and Amazon at 11 percent. Facebook reported in July that its second quarter profit had soared 101 percent to $10 billion. This was due to a 56 percent increase of advertising revenue over the previous year. In April, David Wehner, Chief Financial Officer, stated that much of the growth was due to higher prices for ads and strong ad purchase by small and medium-sized businesses.

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, stated in April’s earnings call that “our goals going forward are that we desire to continue to be the very best place for advertising.”

The public scrutiny of Facebook’s influence on the country’s daily political, economic and social lives continues to grow. Frances Haugen, a whistleblower and former employee of Facebook, testified Tuesday morning before the Senate Commerce subcommittee for consumer protection , that Facebook’s products “harm children, stoke discord, weaken our democracy, and many other things.”

The company is contesting a second antitrust lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission. This alleges that it used anticompetitive acquisitions like Instagram and WhatsApp to increase its market dominance and block rivals from accessing its application programming interface.

Nidhi Shegde, strategy director at the American Economic Liberties Project (an anti-monopoly policy research organization), stated that “Yesterday really demonstrated to small businesses and us all how much control Facebook has over an online communication platform. The lesson is that a monopoly shouldn’t be in control of such critical information infrastructure.”

Mailing software, texting, and traditional flyers are all options for businesses, as was the case during the outage. Hegde stated that online advertising is the best medium to advertise because most people shop online and interact with others.

She said, “It’s natural that you want to diversify your channels of reaching customers. But, if you only have two options for advertising online, then that’s not an option.”

Michael Roth, the managing partner of Next Street’s small business advisory firm, stated that the upside of such a large-scale small-business meltdown was the chance for Facebook and lawmakers to consider how to reach business owners. During the pandemic, the company launched several initiatives aimed at small business owners, such as a free Facebook Business Suite platform, and the $40 million that Facebook has committed to Black-owned small-business grants. There are also several tutorials online about marketing, branding, and customer acquisition.

Roth stated that Facebook is clearly an important piece of infrastructure that supports small business. This outage is a clear indication that Facebook and other platforms such as Instagram have as much reach as any other platform or have more reach for small businesses than any other.

Independent business owners such as Sam Gibbs, his wife Ashley, from Indianapolis, can feel the pinch of losing sales every day. They support their small family entirely from the profits they make selling accessories online through their Facebook shop.

Sam Gibbs stated, “I understand that people may joke about Facebook being gone, but that is not how we view it. We rely on it for our livelihood.”

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Tall Ship Cuauhtémoc, Mexico’s Star Attraction at Expo 2020 Dubai

Sailing Ship
  • The arrival of the sail training ship in Dubai on November 8 will be a major attraction.
  • The Foreign Ministry and the Navy are working together to promote Mexico.

Mexico’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, being held from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, will feature the Navy’s ARM Cuauhtémoc BE-01 sail training ship, which will arrive in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on November 8. The Foreign Ministry coordinated its participation in the World Expo to promote Mexico’s culture, tourism industry and business opportunities abroad.

In keeping with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s instructions to the Foreign Ministry to promote the country’s business opportunities abroad, Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard instructed the Undersecretary of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights to coordinate Mexico’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai with actors from the public and private sectors.

Mexico’s presence at Expo 2020 Dubai, the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, is key to our economic reactivation, as it is an exceptional opportunity to showcase the economic and investment opportunities that Mexico offers to the world. The theme of the World Expo is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” Over 190 countries are participating, and 25 million visitors are expected. It is essential to promote Mexico’s economic and business opportunities at a universal event of this size to boost its exports, increase investment and enhance the international presence of Mexican companies around the world.

The Cuauhtémoc sail training ship, also known as the Ambassador and Knight of the Seas, has made 40 trips to different regions of the world in its 39 years of service, with the goal of showcasing a young and enterprising Mexico and bringing a message of peace and goodwill to the world. More than forty classes of captains, officers, cadets and other personnel have been trained in the time-honored traditions of sailing, learning the ropes and to sail by the stars with a sextant while taking in the values of honor, duty, loyalty and patriotism.

The arrival and presence of the tall ship in Dubai will enhance Mexico’s participation and will be a major attraction on Mexico Day at Expo 2020 Dubai, to be held on November 10.  The sailing ship will have a ceremonial arrival in port, waving a monumentally-sized Mexican flag with its crew at their posts, its guns firing salutes of honor and live mariachi music onboard.

The ship began its 41st instructional cruise to Dubai on August 16 with a crew of 249 people, including 62 cadets from the Heroic Naval Military Academy. It left from Acapulco with stops at the ports of Balboa, Panama; Cozumel (Mexico); Norfolk, Virginia in the U.S.; Cádiz, Spain; and Crete, Greece. The Cuauhtémoc follows a carefully planned route with ports selected to enable it to navigate under sail as much as possible.

After Dubai, the Cuauhtémoc will continue its journey, putting in at the ports of Malta, Valencia, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Rio de Janeiro, where it will participate in the “Velas Latinoamérica 2022” Regatta. Continuing through South America, the ship will then visit ports in Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Curaçao, returning to Veracruz on June 23, 2022.

For the first time, the Foreign Ministry and the Navy agreed to have  Foreign Service officials on board to document the journey and serve as liaisons for promoting Mexico, in this case, at Expo 2020 Dubai. The goals is to strengthen the institutions’ collaboration in their promotion of Mexico.

The Mexico Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai was officially inaugurated on October 4.  The event was led by the Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights,  Martha Delgado, with the Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Dr. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, as a special guest of the Government of the United Arab Emirates. The Mexico Pavilion, located in the Mobility District of the Expo, has an area of 900 square meters divided into three levels to promote Mexico’s culture, SMEs, investment and cuisine.

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Technology in Manufacturing: Why Innovation Must Never Stop

An engineer using a tablet and robot arms to build

Technology’s grip on modern-day life has tightened over the last decade, especially in the world of manufacturing. Innovation, efficiency, safety and hygiene have been the order of the day for quite some time, with the latter gaining more spotlight due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With production lines in many industries, such as pharmaceutical, food and beverage to the automotive industry, needing to work around the clock to support the US economy and beyond, innovation — and the use of technology — in factories and warehouses must continue well past the point a vaccine is found for the virus.

Today, we look at how the evolution of technology has benefitted the manufacturing sector so far and what the future looks like in a post-pandemic world.

 

Efficient and effective production

Every business tries to operate in the most efficient and effective ways, but for manufacturing, it’s paramount that production is carried out promptly. Over the years, companies across the US — and further afield — have realized that relying on manual labor tasks carried out by humans can be restrictive for productivity and profitability. This conundrum has led to the introduction of robots over the last decade to automate complex processes that previously would have been difficult to streamline.

The debate over whether robots should replace humans is one that will probably never go away, but with the latest manufacturing labor statistics showing that productivity has decreased at a 15.5% annual rate in the second quarter of 2020 — with output falling 47% and hours worked dropping 37.3% — the need for automation has never been more important.

With COVID-19 sticking around for as long as anyone can predict, industry leaders have been discussing and looking at ways to use automation to maintain high productivity levels and reduce human contact.

Alan Duncan, Senior Industry Strategy Director at Blue Yonder, said: “In the case of a pandemic, or similar catastrophic events, the focus should be on machines autonomously running mundane, day-to-day tasks with people intervening based on experience and complementing the machine with strategic actions.

“Ultimately, it’s machines and people working together that will get us through this crisis, and those that will inevitably occur again. Automation has evolved into having a greater focus on flexibility, scalability and process adaptability, becoming a tool to optimize efficiency through manufacturers’ ability to adapt to demands,”

The relationship between humans and robots creates an interesting topic for discussion far beyond whether robots should replace humans at all. The future certainly looks like it will involve a happy balance between the two.

 

An emphasis on safety

Away from productivity levels and profit margins, a factory or warehouse’s long-term existence to operate without a hitch, in respect to workplace accidents and disruptions, relies on safety measures being put in place and followed religiously by workers. In 2017, 5.1 injuries were recorded per 100 full-time warehouse workers, according to figures compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Innovation in the respect of safety has advanced since 2017 and now businesses find themselves in a position of using more and more technology to keep people safe. One way in which safety is being taken seriously is through the introduction of radio frequency identification or RFID sensors. The sensors can be used to track inventory but also generate proximity warnings if workers stray too close to an unsafe area.

Robots are also being used for automation assistance, especially for dangerous or repetitive processes — and even tasks where humans would normally be in close contact with each other. In the current situation, this can be lifesaving in more ways than one.

Aside from humans keeping clear of heavy machinery or working in a socially distanced manner, how equipment is contained within the workplace is vital. Switches to operate machines and cables used to power them need to be well protected and out of sight to avoid becoming a hazard.

The use of stainless steel electrical enclosures and cable management systems are both ways of combatting these problems. The steel is easy to clean for hygiene purposes and is also corrosion, fire and heat resistant. Whilst the cable containment provides the perfect solution for keeping things safe and secure.

 

Innovation, innovation, innovation

Manufacturing is like so many other industries in the world. It must adapt to new surroundings when the time comes, and it must strive for progression through innovation every day. The pandemic has exaggerated this need, but in a way which will hopefully help boost the economy, at least in the sense that work can happen smoothly without further interruptions. The virus isn’t going anywhere, so innovation isn’t something that belongs on a five-year plan, it needs to happen now.

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Unfazed by the Pandemic, Capria Network Invests USD 92.1 Million in Global South as of 2020, Up by 361%

Market Graph
  • Despite the pandemic, investments grew by 361% (YoY, Q4 ‘19 – Q4 ‘20) and positively impacted 16.5 million lives.
  • Capria’s network of 14 Fund managers have built assets under management, or AUM, worth USD 456 million, and invested in companies with presence in 56 countries.
  • Capria will increase its focus on direct investments along with its local partners across Global South in 2021–22.

Capria Ventures, a global investor with the largest network of fund managers in emerging markets, termed as the Global South, has released its annual impact report. According to the report, Capria and its affiliated network of funds have invested USD 92.1 million as of December 2020, impacting 16.5 million lives across regions despite the pandemic-induced setbacks. Capria’s network of 14 Fund managers have invested USD 92.1 million in early stage startups spread across 56 countries as of Dec ‘2020.

“Capria is delivering market rate returns while also creating impact through its investments in the Global South, specifically, in the tech hubs of Latin America, Africa, India, and SE Asia. After a year like 2020, our work  has never been more important. While the planet was going through an existential crisis, Capria’s global network of fund managers continued their investing programs, supporting startups that were instrumental in delivering digital education to families in lockdown, operating logistics networks for goods delivery, offering remote diagnostics for COVID-19, and many other essential services,” said Will Poole, Managing Partner and Co-founder, Capria Ventures. “In addition to continuing to deploy capital to startups, we were pleased to see our aggregate impact climb to more than 16 million individuals. With most of our investments going into early stage startups, we’re just getting going,” he added.

Capria’s flagship USD 57 million Capria Fund invests exclusively in and alongside Capria Network partner funds. The fund is backed by leading investors such as International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank; Vulcan Capital, the multi-billion-dollar investment arm of the late Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen; Gates Ventures, the private office of Bill Gates; Ford Foundation, an American private foundation and Omidyar Network, among others.

 

Regions and revenue

In Latin America, the firm has partnered with venture capital funds such as Angel Ventures, SP Ventures, Fen Ventures, Adobe Capital, and Pomona Impact. In Africa and the Middle East, Capria has partnered with funds such as Lateral Capital, Atlantica Ventures, Wuri Ventures, and our newest partner, Global Ventures.

In South and Southeast Asia, Capria has a deep presence through Arkam Ventures, Unitus Ventures, Genesis Alternative Ventures, and the latest partner AC Ventures in Indonesia.

A healthy majority of the capital invested was across five countries in the Latin American region where, compared to the USD 7.1 million invested as of December 2019, a whopping USD 42.6 million was invested across 38 companies in 2020 alone.

The South and Southeast Asian market continues to be the second-best growth market for Capria with an investment of USD 35.5 million as of December 2020, a growth of 361% over the previous year. The investment was infused in 27 companies across four countries in the regions.

In SSA and MENA, the fund managers invested USD 2.5 million in 21 companies across five countries in 2020, increasing cumulative capital deployed by 57%  over 2019.

The portfolio of 86 companies in Capria Network has collectively generated USD 469 million in revenues as of December 31, 2020, clocking 212% growth year over 2019. The network has invested a total USD 92.1 million as of December 2020, a meteoric 361% jump from the USD 20 million as of December 2019.

 

Lives impacted: 16.5 million

A unifying measure of impact at Capria is in terms of the number of lives touched. The raging pandemic is estimated to have pushed an additional 88 million, that is 115 million people globally – into extreme poverty through 2020, with the total rising to as many as 150 million by the end of 2021, as per an October 2020 study by the World Bank. In such a year, Capria Network funds, through their portfolio companies, created 6.3K active jobs and impacted the lives of 16.5 million people, of which almost 20% are women.

 

ESG: An essential cog in the wheel

Apart from ensuring its network of funds invest in companies that create an impact, Capria places great emphasis on ensuring every company is aligned with global best Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards. Capria is proud to announce that 94% of network funds have institutionalised anti-corruption policies and every fund we invest in puts in place processes to screen companies based on ESG risks and IFC’s exclusion list.

 

Company Direct Investments

The fund has also made some direct investments in companies such as Agrofy, the #1 ‌LatAm marketplace‌ increasing productivity and profits of agribusiness; MentalUp, a game-based learning platform for children present in multiple countries; HomeAgent, the first home-based call center operation in Brazil; Mesfix, a multi-sided platform bringing the first crowd factoring and online market for invoices receivable in Colombia.

Using its unparalleled reach, Capria intends to create impact in the Global South through direct investments along with its partners and capture alpha for its investors. 

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Business Insurance Costs for Business Startups

Business Insurance

business startup requires more than you can imagine. The initial investment involves costs beyond the usual operational expense—and they are essential for running the business safely and smoothly, with a legitimate chance to flourish. One of your first expenses is your business insurance.

The right policy coverage is a must-have for any business, big and small. It is an assurance that you will safely operate the enterprise, which, in turn, attracts business partnerships and investments. It also helps keep great talents grounded in your company. With suitable insurance coverage, your employees will feel confident seeing the business through great success.

 

What’s the need for business insurance?

Like the primary objective of insurance in general, business insurance aims at minimizing your company’s losses that may arise from future uncertainties and specific risks. Each business has a different set of potential risks to deal with. That’s why policy coverages vary widely across industries, including their costs. For example, a fitness hub may have more expensive premiums compared to a party rental business.

 

The actual costs of business insurance for startups

But the potential risks the business may be exposed to are not the only considerations that determine your company’s insurance costs. State requirements and the size of the business you are starting up also matter. There are different types of business insurance policies attached with different price tags. The various policies are combined to provide sufficient coverage for the specific enterprise you are involved in. You may pay more or less, depending on your business type and how much coverage you want for it.

  • General liability insurance is the basic coverage every business needs to open and operate safely. It generally protects the business from liabilities if someone gets injured within the premises. It also usually covers property damage, slander, and libel. For a handyman business insurance cost, you may spend from $360 to $1,000.
  • Commercial property insurance is a more detailed coverage for the company’s assets and properties, including equipment, tools, furniture, and inventory.
  • Professional liability insurance is also sometimes called product liability. It helps pay for legal fees if customers sue you for getting injured using your product. This covers any damage caused by an error in the products or services that you sell.
  • Business interruption insurance is coverage for any lost profits. The amount of benefit gained from this insurance is measured according to the company’s income levels for a certain period.
  • Worker’s compensation insurance is a requirement for most states. It helps pay for your employees’ medical care, disabilities, lost wages, and funeral expenses if they suffer from a work-related incident.
  • Commercial auto insurance covers expenses incurred when you or any of your employees are at fault in an accident involving the company vehicle. However, this insurance cannot be used if you or your employees are involved in an accident driving your car, even if it occurs during office hours.
  • Business travel insurance is additional coverage you can use if your business involves frequent travel. It offers significant protection if you or any of your employees suffer from trip cancellation, baggage loss, or any injury during a business trip.

Business insurance is a large umbrella of different coverages that different types of businesses may require. Before you sign up for a policy and pay for it, make sure that it is relevant to what you do.

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Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean Join Forces to Drive Circularity

Zero waste concept art

Taking the first steps of collaboration among the regions, the respective countries are pursuing efforts to scale circularity through the promotion of conducive public policies and the creation of investment opportunities.

 

The practice of using discarded products are raw materials to be used as a new product or material, is in some respects more efficient than simply recycling. With this in mind, the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA), and the Circular Economy Coalition of Latin America and the Caribbean (CECLAC) have organized the first regional dialogue to strengthen cooperation around their common objectives.

 

The event titled “Regional deep-dive: Africa, Latin America & the Caribbean joining forces for circularity”, took place as part of the World Circular Economy Forum 2021, organized by Sitra and Environment & Climate Change Canada. The event, held on 15 September, was launched by the Ministers of Environment of Colombia and Rwanda, who underlined the role that the circular economy can play in driving a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Being key advocates in their respective regions, both countries are also part of the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency.

 

The high-level keynote speeches were followed by a panel discussion moderated by James Mwangi, Executive Director of Dalberg, which brought together key circular economy practitioners from Africa and Latin America.

 

Discussions were held among entrepreneurs, academics, and champions on the need to scale up the transition towards circular economies. “Circular economy is a key puzzle piece to reach the climate targets. It will be instrumental in driving the change in key sectors … Latin America and Africa can be frontrunners in this journey, where governments and industry work together,” said Gonzalo Muñoz, High-Level Climate Action Champion  COP25.

 

Wanjiru Waweru Waithaka, founder and CEO of FunKidz, added: “Circular economy is not a new concept to Africa. From our traditional building techniques to the way we stored water and food. We did not waste, nor depend on factory-produced items. We need to go back into our cultures and relearn how to live in and with nature.”

 

Panelist Kenneth Amaeshi, Chair of Business and Sustainable Development at the University of Edinburgh, and entrepreneurs from both regions, showcased concrete business models that SMEs are undertaking and implementation solutions to achieve a circular economy.

 

“I have no doubt that Africa’s youth will be a game changer for the circular economy,” said Anthony Nyong, Regional Director of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) Africa, closing the meeting. “Africa is the continent where most of its infrastructure needed is yet to be built. There is an opportunity to build climate-resilient systems that provide jobs for the youth.” He concluded by announcing the first edition of the African Youth Adaptation Solutions (YouthAdapt) Challenge call for applications launched by GCA and the African Development Bank.

 

The key takeaways of the event echoed the outcomes of the first High-level Meeting of the Global Alliance on Circular Economy & Resource Efficiency (GACERE) held the day before, during which Ministers of Environment of several countries and representatives from multilateral organizations emphasized the need for stronger regional cooperation to accelerate the adoption of the circular economy model worldwide. Representing the African Development Bank, the Acting Director for Climate Change and Green Growth, Al-Hamdou Dorsouma, stated that policies, financing and the upskilling of African youth and workers will be key enablers for the circular economy transition.

 

With its strong climate benefits, most notably the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the circular economy is likely to be on the agenda at COP26, which will be held in November in Glasgow.

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Foreign Secretary Marcelo Edrard Addresses the Mexican Senate

Mexico City centre during the day
  • “The level of respect and attention that Mexico has abroad today is the highest we have had in our history.”-Marcelo Ebrard
  • “Mexico’s voice is heard because we have political and moral authority. If we didn’t, it would not be.”-Marcelo Ebrard 

Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard recently appeared before the Mexican Senate to discuss the foreign policy aspect of the third annual report of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration. In the Senate, the Foreign Secretary said to the various political parties that Mexico’s political and moral authority has given it the highest level of respect and attention it has had in its history. 

Secretary Ebrard began by thanking the Senate for its State vision and readiness to support Mexico’s main initiatives and foreign policy positions. Later, the Foreign Secretary gave a comprehensive overview of the progress made by the Foreign Ministry in the tasks entrusted to it. He also highlighted the work done to obtain vaccines and supplies to combat the pandemic. 

The Foreign Secretary then spoke about:

  • the relationship with the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, China,
  • strengthening ties with Africa, the Middle East and Asia
  • the various international agreements and Mexico’s active participation in multilateral organizations

Secretary Ebrard said that the most important task entrusted to the Ministry was to ensure Mexico’s timely access to vaccines, treatments and medical supplies during these difficult global circumstances. 

Regarding the relationship with the United States, Secretary Ebrard confirmed that, despite the negative pronouncements and predictions about the arrival of the new United States government, “we have a very good relationship with President Biden’s administration”. He recounted the high-level visits to both countries to discuss various topics, including migration, security, trade, and health. 

Secretary Ebrard said, with the United States, “we have been able to make progress with shared views on shared issues and on the future that must be addressed in the coming years.” The Foreign Secretary said that, regarding cooperation with the U.S., Mexico has laid out its priorities:

  • to reduce violence
  • reducing the consumption of narcotics
  • tackling the lack of opportunities that leads to violence in southern Mexico
  • reducing arms trafficking

Regarding migration, he said that Mexico has proposed transforming the model for handling the increase and the reasons for migration from the south to the north. The United States was invited to support development in Central America with an immediate-action package to attack the root causes of migration. Mexico, with its own resources, along with El Salvador and Honduras, has made great progress. He said that there are already more than 20,000 participants in the Sowing Life and Youths Building the Future programs. 

The Foreign Secretary said that Mexico is part of Latin America and must ensure that the regional organizations function. It was for this reason that the Celac Summit was organized, because “Mexico is part of Latin America and the Caribbean and we have been part of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States since it was founded. Mexico has never missed that summit”.

The Foreign Secretary reported on the lawsuit Mexico has filed against the main U.S. gunmakers. “This is the first lawsuit filed by a government against the industry that I know of that the Court has admitted. This is not a suit against the U.S. government; it’s against the gun industry.” The lawsuit seeks to end the negligent sales practices engaged in by the gun companies in the U.S. 

Lastly, the Foreign Secretary announced that Mexico will preside over the UN Security Council in November. It will propose three main topics:

  • poverty and inequality as promoting conflict
  • the issue of arms trafficking
  • the coordination of UN agencies and institutions

Secretary Ebrard concluded by saying, “this is a good moment for Mexico’s foreign policy and for the recognition given to the Mexican government headed by President López Obrador. A moment in which Mexico’s voice counts and is respected”. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirmed its commitment to work together and coordinate with the legislative branch, to strengthen its foreign policy to benefit the country.

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The Key to Lifetime Financial Security = Having a Holistic Plan

Lifetime Financial Plan

Life is full of important moments – following your passions, buying your first home, growing your family, giving back, reaching retirement. Then there are the events no one wishes for – fixing a leaking roof, being let go from a job or a critical illness that prevents you from earning an income. One of the key differentiators between those who achieve lifetime financial security and those that don’t? A financial plan. Yet, most Canadians are not making a plan their priority. A recent survey conducted by Sun Life found that over half of all Canadians (52%) do not have a financial plan in place. 

Of the 43% of Canadians who do have a plan, over one-third (33%) do not have life or critical illness insurance. Insurance protection is even lower among those aged 55 and up with 44% stating they do not have insurance. This is followed by those aged 35-54 (27%) and those 18-34 years of age (21%). When asked why they do not have insurance in their financial plan, nearly one-third (29%) said, ‘I don’t need insurance’. Men were significantly more likely to say they do not need insurance coverage than women at 41% versus 19%.

“Insurance is an important part of a financial plan that will support you and your loved ones for years to come,” said Vineet Kochhar, Senior-Vice President, Insurance Solutions, Sun Life Canada. “Life can be unpredictable – many of us may face challenges that leave us unprepared. Whether you’re married with kids or have a partner or relatives that depend on you financially, life insurance ensures they are supported,” Mr. Kochhar added. “Insurance can seem daunting to navigate on your own – advisors are here to help you understand the insurance solutions available to you and which products suit your needs and complement the rest of your financial plan.”

While many Canadians delay in creating a plan and purchasing life insurance, financial concerns remain top of mind. Sun Life asked Canadians their greatest financial concern – cost of living was ranked the top concern at 36%. This was followed by having enough money saved for the future and/or retirement (23%), paying off debt (17%) and affording a house (13%).

Canadians aged 55 and up rated ‘having enough money for the future and/or retirement’ their second highest concern after cost of living. Yet, that same age group has not created a financial plan. Of those aged 55 and older, the group that is closest to retirement, nearly half (47%) have not created a plan.

“At Sun Life, our goal is to equip every Client with a personalized financial plan and help them live their best life,” said Rowena Chan, President, Sun Life Financial Distributors (Canada) Inc. and SVP, Distribution. “A financial plan, combined with advisors’ unique ability to provide Clients with holistic advice, opens endless opportunities for Canadians. When an advisor helps Clients set up a holistic financial plan, they approach the conversation with three themes in mind – wealth, health and insurance needs – all equally important to reaching your goals,” Ms. Chan added.

Financial security is a key pillar of Sun Life’s sustainability strategy. By providing Clients with innovative products and services, we’re helping secure their—and their family’s—financial future. Sun Life recently announced a collaboration with Conquest Planning Inc. to provide its best-in-class, digital financial planning tool to empower Canadians to reach their life goals. Sun Life is the first Canadian organization to introduce the digital tool across all its wealth and insurance service platforms.

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DHL Express Invests $430K CDN to Launch Four Mobile Retail Stores Across Canada

DHL
  • The DHL mobile pop-ups offer customers a safe, convenient, and practical shipping experience
  • Winnipeg, MB location is the latest pop-up location to open, providing an added point of accessibility for residents

DHL, the world’s leading global express and logistics company, is expanding its vast network of Canadian retail locations by opening first-of-its-kind mobile retail stores in Canada. The company has invested more than $430,000 CDN to create four, electric-powered mobile pop-up locations, called DHL pop-up stores, to provide a safe and easy-to-use shipping option for customers and an added point of accessibility. The DHL mobile pop-up store location at the Grant Park Shopping Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba opened this week and is the latest location available for customers.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth in the industry over the past few years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, with customers shipping internationally more than ever before,” said Andrew Williams, CEO for DHL Express Canada. “This increased demand is the reason we’re expanding our footprint in Canada with new, strategically placed, safe and easy-to-use pop-up locations to better service our customers here.”

Within the last six months, DHL Express has experienced a 41 per cent growth rate in Winnipeg. The company selects the locations for its new mobile pop-up stores throughout the country based on areas where DHL doesn’t currently have an owned or partner location, but where there is an increased demand for international shipping. DHL Express expects this new Winnipeg location will generate additional volume for its United States, China and Philippines trade lanes, and will be open for customers seven days a week at varied hours.

The first-ever, 2,200 cubic feet Canadian mobile pop-up store opened in Toronto, Ontario at the Cadillac Fairview Mall earlier this month. It was the first unit permitted in Canada, and was a critical first step in the launch of the retail pop-up concept in one of the largest target markets for DHL. This location allows the company to serve three large markets, as it experienced a retail volume growth of 35 per cent in 2020 vs 2019, and expect those numbers to continue rising ahead of the holiday season.

Both locations will be open and available to customers over the next six months, at which point the company will evaluate based on customer demand whether to extend. 

“We’re excited to bring the innovative pop-up store experience to customers in Canada, after seeing tremendous success from testing and launching in several U.S. cities,” added Williams. “Customers prefer the speed and convenience of pop-up stores to quickly create and send shipments – all without having to enter a physical store or office.”

DHL will continue expanding in the Canadian market with an additional two pop-up locations between October 2021 and March 2022. All mobile, 2,200 cubic-feet pop-up stores will be electric-powered.

In response to social-distancing concerns, the mobile pop-up store locations allow customers to easily access DHL’s shipping services, without having to enter a store. The pop-up locations offer customers a safe and practical way to utilize these DHL services and products, featuring everything a traditional DHL storefront would have, including the ability to process shipments, account holder drop offs and the option of accepting smaller Hold for Pickup shipments. An efficient point-of-sale system is capable of processing shipments to U.S. destinations as well as any of the 220 countries and territories DHL serves. Supplies such as bubble wrap, packing tape, and DHL-branded boxes are available at the mobile unit. Additionally, the DHL pop-up stores mitigate congestion and potential security risks at retail locations.

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