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Roubini Global Economics – Is Food the Only Culprit Behind Asia’s Inflation?

2011 March 2
Food prices boosted inflation in China and India, whereas a stronger currency slowed inflation in Malaysia. Japan's Q4 GDP contracted as fiscal stimulus withdrawal weighed on consumption, while nonelectronic products boosted Singapore's exports in January.

**good graphs

Group to Rate Environmental Impact of Clothing

2011 March 2
Calling itself the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the group intends to announce Tuesday that it is developing a comprehensive database of the environmental impact of every manufacturer, component and process in apparel production, with the aim of using that information to eventually give every garment a sustainability score.

Wen Says China to Lower Growth Target –

2011 March 2
China's Premier Wen Jiabao said the government wants slower economic growth to avoid inflation and to restructure the economy, even as much of the developed world is struggling to accelerate expansion.

While official targets routinely underestimate growth, the move is nonetheless an important signal that government priorities in the world's No. 2 economy are shifting to reduce dependence on exports and capital-intensive industries in favor of creating conditions for more domestic demand.

China's stunning rise has come through huge investment in capital-intensive industries like steel and by turning itself into the world's factory floor, manned by workers who migrate to coastal cities from impoverished rural areas. But China's growth rate of more than 9% a year over the past three decades has come with steep costs: heavy pollution, a sharp increase in inequality and pervasive corruption. – Advocating the case for Natural Refrigerants Worldwide

2011 March 2
Brussels, 2 March 2011: The US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) just announced that the refrigerant HFO-1234yf has been approved for use in car air-conditioning systems. The approval was granted despite open questions regarding the substance's impact on health and the environment that have led several organisations to openly advice against its use.

"The US administration has approved a substance whose evolution is not fully foreseeable yet. HFO-1234yf can be the next environmental time bomb: HCFC destroyed the ozone layer and HFCs are climate warming gases. Each time, chemical substances were praised to be the solution for all problems, only to reveal their nasty surprises in the short run", says Christianna Papazahariou, head of the campaign BeyondHFCs.

Navigating The Voluntary Sustainability Reporting Maze

2011 March 2
Environmental risks categorized as reputational, operational, or legislative

Conservative point of view: Restricted access to oil reserves due to global support for conservation and/or local opposition to oil and gas development, the WRI estimates, could lead to negative impacts on the shareholder value of these companies of up to 5 percent.

High Commodity Food-Price Decade Challenges All Global Managers – Adam Gordon – Management By Looking Ahead – Forbes

2011 March 2
What is evident is global production is not keeping up, or not yet, so in any plausible future prices cannot be coming down soon. High food prices are therefore what scenario planners would call a ‘predetermined element' - something we should expect for a decade at least, until supply conditions fundamentally adjust.

In terms of thinking intelligently about the future and how to manage it, food is a very clear driver. This is because it is, of all commodities, obviously the most "inelastic" to demand conditions. People can significantly cut their consumption of iPods or scooters, or even health care and education, but not food staples.

The question for leaders and planners is, where does the food-price-crisis go from here; what kind of global operating conditions does it imply for businesses? Is the Arab revolt the extent of it, or are we to be rocked by deeper global social upheaval? Or real famine?

Australian Carbon Price to Cost ASX200 up to $3.3 Billion

2011 February 28
Melbourne, 25th February, 2011 - Research conducted by carbon analytics firm RepuTex, indicates that S&P ASX 200 companies would face annual carbon costs of up to $3.3 billion should an interim price on carbon be introduced in 2012, as announced yesterday by the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. 47% of this potential cost, or $1.57bn would be passed on to consumers, leaving a net liability of $1.75bn on S&P ASX 200 companies. Forward looking exposure is subsequently expected to be material on Australian companies, impacting returns along with financing, investment and competition, notably within the Power, Energy, Transportation and Materials sectors.

Coal-Fired Power Plants – Water Pollution – Map

2011 February 28
Across the nation, the system that Congress created to protect the nation's waters under the Clean Water Act of 1972 today often fails to prevent pollution. The New York Times has compiled data on more than 200,000 facilities that have permits to discharge pollutants and collected responses from states regarding compliance.

America’s secret commodities crunch – Fortune Finance

2011 February 26
The commodities crunch is corporate America's dirty little secret. Even as consumers open their wallets once again and sales volume improves, inflationary pressure is creeping in. It's hitting companies small and large. And even giant corporations with plenty of heft to negotiate the best possible rates from suppliers are feeling the pinch. Procter & Gamble's (PG) chief financial officer, Jon Moeller, told us on Squawk Box that the consumer-products giant saw a 160-basis-point impact from higher input costs late last year. For now, P&G has offset that rise with its productivity and cost-saving programs.

Not that investors have noticed: Thomson Reuters has analysts forecasting a 13.4% climb in corporate profits in 2011.) "Either the revenue picture will start increasing more rapidly over the next few quarters, and that will offset higher costs, or profits will get hit," says Ashwani Kaul, head of his own investment advisory firm. "Something has to give."

Rice Gains as Governments Seek to Avoid Food-Price Inflation – Bloomberg

2011 February 25
Rice, the staple food for half the world, rallied from a four-day losing streak as governments boosted stockpiles to curb prices that sparked protests across North Africa and the Middle East.

The grain represents almost 50 percent of food costs of the poorest across the developing world and 20 percent of total household spending, according to the International Rice Research Institute, based in Los Banos, the Philippines. In the U.S., 6 percent of incomes are spent on groceries, data from Euromonitor International show.